Executive Director, Charles Schleien
By Hannah Reimann
Our new West Village neighbors on Perry Street, Steve and Alexandra Cohen, have made many philanthropic efforts for their communities, especially towards healthcare including the Cohen COVID 19 Response Initiative, Cohen Lyme & Tick Borne Disease Initiative, plus numerous other programs including an arts initiative. They have been affiliated with the Cohen’s Children’s Medical Center in Queens, a division of Northwell Health, for nine years. The Center works with the Northwell Greenwich Village Center in that when children come in to Greenwich Village, they are handled through the pediatrics service line in Queens.
I interviewed Executive Director, Dr. Charles Schleien in early June to understand what has been happening at the Children’s Hospital in terms of COVID 19 there. He has been Chair of pediatrics for 8 years and the executive director of the hospital for four years.
Although COVID 19 cases are being detected more and more in kids, there have only been 189 cases and three deaths in New York City due to COVID 19, none at this hospital. They have admitted 75 cases of COVID 19 and another 45 cases with MIS-C, the mysterious and syndrome that appears to affect most symptomatic and asymptomatic child carriers of COVID 19.
Unlike COVID-19, a respiratory disease, MIS-C affects blood vessels and organs and has symptoms similar to Kawasaki disease and toxic shock. It involves a “hyper response” of the child’s immune system to the virus that can lead to inflammation of the blood vessels, and affect the heart’s arteries, leading to coronary aneurysm. It likely took time to identify the apparent connection to the virus because it targets different systems and manifests in different symptoms.
MIS-C cases in New York were found in children younger than 1 year old up to young adults age 21, according to the data. The majority of the cases are of children ages 5 to 9 years old. Officials say that early detection can prevent serious illness or death.
This rare, potentially deadly syndrome tied to COVID-19 is forcing the medical community to rethink how the novel coronavirus may affect children.
Symptoms of the syndrome include persistent fever, irritability or sluggishness, abdominal pain, diarrhea, vomiting, rash, conjunctivitis, enlarged lymph node on one side of the neck, red cracked lips or red tongue and swollen hands and feet.
Of the children displaying these symptoms, 93 percent tested positive for COVID-19 either by diagnostic, antibody testing or both.
Data shows that white children accounted for 21 percent of the cases. Meanwhile, black and Hispanic children account for 31 percent and 33 percent of the cases, respectively.
The hospital has not been overwhelmed with cases of children with COVID 19. At the height of the pandemic, it had lent 80 beds to the adult service to care for those patients. Their new recovery room, right now, is being used for adult overflow.
Dr. Schelein says there will be accommodations made for more isolation in the future, fewer people in waiting rooms, changes in visitation policies and whatever will be needed to face the pandemic effectively. The Center takes care of patients regardless of their financial means, It is currently setting up a new cardiology program with recruitment of new cardiac surgeons.
WestView News is delighted to have Steve and Alexandra Cohen as neighbors and welcomes them to our community newspaper, thanking them for the difference they have made and continue to make.