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Yale New Haven Children's Hospital.

The number of children who have been hospitalized with a mysterious inflammatory condition suspected of being related to COVID-19 has reached 10, according to hospital officials who said Thursday there still is much to learn about the coronavirus, which supposedly was sparing kids.

Gov. Ned Lamont said the caution used in confronting this recent phenomenon of the coronavirus pandemic is just another reason for him, state health officials and advisers to take their time in reopening so-called nonessential businesses that have been shuttered for nearly two months.

Dr. Thomas Balcezak, chief clinical officer for Yale New Haven Health, said the rare disease in children is believed to be connected with the coronavirus influencing the body’s immune system, but the correlation with COVID-19 has not been proven to be a cause of the inflammatory disease.

But Dr. Albert Ko, department chairman and professor of epidemiology at Yale Medical School, said Thursday that some infected children end up in intensive care in “days and weeks” after contracting COVID-19.

First noticed in the United Kingdom, it then emerged in New York, and a few weeks later cases began to be noticed in Connecticut, Ko said.

Ko, a co-chairman of the group advising Lamont on the reopening of businesses amid the coronavirus pandemic, told reporters during the governor’s daily briefing from the state Capitol that it’s another major concern for the state’s medical community.

“We know that we’re going to learn a lot, probably, about why this happens and to whom it happens,” Ko said. “What we know now, at least at this point, is there is likely association with the COVID virus. It seems like a relatively rare phenomenon. We’ll probably learn a lot more over the next days and weeks.”

On Thursday, Yale New Haven Hospital spokesman Mark D’Antonio said there were seven patients in the Children’s Hospital with what has been called pediatric inflammatory multisystem syndrome, a disease similar to Kawasaki. He said five of those patients are in the pediatric intensive care unit.

One child at Yale New Haven has since been discharged.

At Connecticut Children’s Medical Center in Hartford, two children who “meet the case definition” have been reported since Tuesday, one of whom has been discharged, according to spokeswoman Monica Buchanan. A third confirmed patient has been discharged, she said.

Balcezak said none of the children had underlying medical issues. He said three of the five patients who were in the hospital on Wednesday came from Fairfield County hospitals. They are being treated with anti-inflammatory medications such as steroids and gamma globulin, Balcezak said.

“We don’t know why it’s happening, but it’s causing this systemic inflammation that’s many times involving the heart, sometimes the gastro-intestinal system,” Ko said. “These kids have actually done well, but they have undergone shock, hypertension, low blood pressure with shock, requiring care in the intensive care units."

Ko said he conferred with colleagues Thursday at both Yale New Haven Hospital and the Connecticut Children’s Medical Center in Hartford.

Lamont used the example of the children’s illness as a reason for the state to take its time reopening.

“Look, I get a lot of feedback from people who say just put the vulnerable population away,” Lamont said. “Quarantine them and let the other 75 percent of us go. OK, we’ll get infected and then we’ll have herd immunity and everything will be fine. We know so little about COVID, and this is something we didn’t even know about a few months ago. This is a germ that can have long-term and medium-term impacts on people. This is what we’re learning every day which is why we have to be so cautious, I think.”

Ko said doctors and scientists are learning new details about the coronavirus every day.

“I think we just have to learn from lessons of the past,” Ko said. “We’ve seen countries, you know, use the herd immunity or just-let-everything-go approach and then having to come back and that was a cautionary tale, and that’s what happened in the United Kingdom. This just underscores the caution that we need to always put public safety first.”