New York Governor Andrew Cuomo on Tuesday directed the state’s hospitals to prioritize COVID-19 testing for children showing symptoms of “pediatric multi-system inflammatory syndrome,” a mysterious illness affecting children that’s believed to be related to COVID-19. There are already more than 50 cases of the illness in New York City alone, according to CBS New York, and the state is investigating approximately 100 total statewide.

Two children and a teenager have died from the illness in New York State, according to a press release from Cuomo’s office.

“We have been behind this virus every step of the way and even as we are now beginning to see the numbers on the decline, the virus is still surprising us,” Governor Cuomo said in the release. “Initially we thought COVID-19 didn’t affect children, and now we’re dealing with a disturbing issue where we have about 100 cases of an inflammatory disease in children that seems to be created by the virus.”

“New York is leading the investigation of this situation and we are advising all hospitals and medical providers to prioritize diagnostic testing for any children that are displaying symptoms of this illness,” he added.

Mayor Bill de Blasio said Tuesday that New York has at least 52 cases of the illness, and one of the deaths. Ten more cases are pending.

“It’s sobering. It’s bluntly frightening, and I want to say to parents out there: If you’re hearing this information about pediatric multi-system inflammatory syndrome and it sounds scary, it does sound scary. I’m speaking as a parent myself,” de Blasio said.

Of the 62 confirmed or possible cases, 25 tested positive for the coronavirus and 22 had COVID-19 antibodies.

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