Newborn baby among the Minnesota children recently hospitalized with COVID-19

Alex Jokich
Updated: August 12, 2020 08:04 PM
Created: August 12, 2020 07:56 PM

A newborn baby is among the Minnesota children recently hospitalized with COVID-19.

"They said they knew what the results were, they know what's going on. He tested positive for COVID and I was in absolute shock," said Jenni Gibbens, the child's mother. 


Gibbens said her son Harrison was hospitalized at 25 days old in July, making him was one of the youngest COVID-19 patients in the state.

Gibbens said it had already been a stressful time for the family. She was pregnant during a pandemic and gave birth during the riots in the Twin Cities.

"We just wanted things to be calm," Gibbens said. "So this was incredibly hard."

Gibbens said the whole family ended up testing positive for COVID-19.

Her husband was the first to show symptoms in early July, losing his sense of smell and taste and spiking high fevers.

She said she was on high alert for her kids, hoping they would not come down with the virus.

Follow KSTP's complete COVID-19 coverage

"I just nursed Harrison and he was hot," Gibbens recalled. "It jumped to 100.4 and I know that is a fever in an infant, so I immediately called the nurse line and they said, 'Nope, bring him in immediately.'"

Harrison spent three days at Children's Minnesota, where doctors monitored his fever, oxygen levels and heart function.

"Any time when it's your child, it's just heartbreaking," Gibbens said. 

She said Harrison's symptoms never worsened and the family was grateful for the care they received.

"At 27 days old, he is officially taking the title of a COVID survivor, which seems unreal," Gibbens said. 

She said her four-year-old son Deacon also tested positive for the virus, but was asymptomatic.

Gibbens said she still does not know how the family contracted the virus, as they had been exceedingly cautious due to having a newborn.

"That I think is one of the scariest things, is even when you take all the precautions, there's this possibility that it can transmit," Gibbens said.

To date, 9,004 Minnesotans under the age of 20 have tested positive for the virus, including 1,407 kids under the age of six.

5 EYEWITNESS News checked in with medical experts at Children's Minnesota for an update on the trends their care teams are seeing with local kids and coronavirus.

"Most of the kids that are coming in are in for support, IV fluids, observation, just making sure they're not going to get worse," said Nurse Practitioner Patsy Stinchfield, senior director of infection control at Children's Minnesota.

Stinchfield said 72 kids have been admitted to Children's Minnesota with COVID-19, with around 10 needing to be put on ventilators.

She said, on average, children are hospitalized for 2.5 days, with the longest hospital stay being 48 days with a 25-year-old patient.

Stinchfield said the youngest patient they have seen so far was two weeks old.

"We are seeing a very wide variety of symptoms," she said. "Maybe half the kids have a fever, but I would say at least a third of them have GI or stomach problems. They'll come in with nausea and abdominal pain. There's a lot of muscle aches. I would say probably about half or so are presenting with sore throat, so that's a pretty common symptom as well."
Stinchfield said most kids over the age of ten are presenting symptoms very similar to adults, often with fever, cough and trouble breathing. She said with babies and toddlers, their teams are seeing other symptoms of viral illnesses, such as runny nose and decreased appetite.

"At about day eight or nine or so after symptom onset, kids can actually get worse," Stinchfield said. "This is a beast of a virus that is hitting literally every organ system, so we're watching for that more."

They are urging parents of children who have had COVID-19 to be on alert for multisystem inflammatory syndrome (MIS-C), a condition where different body parts can become inflamed, including the heart, lungs, kidneys, brain, skin, eyes, or gastrointestinal organs. She said Children's Minnesota has treated seven children with MIS-C. The syndrome, on average, occurs six to eight weeks after a COVID-19 diagnosis but can happen up to three months later.

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