Rockford mom says 3-yr-old has encephalitis caused by COVID-19

Local News

ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — A Rockford mom is making a plea after her 3-year-old daughter was hospitalized for swelling of the brain due to COVID-19.

The three year old is already immunocompromised from another condition, so the family says they have been extremely careful throughout the pandemic. Now they are warning others.

“Learn from example, by me and my family, if nothing else. to see that this can happen, no matter how careful you are,” mother Elysia Johnson said. “This is my biggest fear realized, that we ended up positive with COVID-19, and my daughter is now in the hospital and has been in the hospital for almost a week.”

According to a fundraiser posted on GoFundMe, Johnson says her daughter Evalyn was diagnosed with COVID-19 on August 30th and was hospitalized on September 2nd. She was taken from a Rockford hospital to UW Children’s Hospital in Madison, where doctors said they believe the disease has caused encephalitis of the brain.

“Thursday morning, we took her into the ER at Swedish American and they admitted her. She was not staying very responsive,” Johnson said “My daughter stays in a mostly unresponsive state for over 18-20 hours a day. At the moment she is awake for only 3-4 hours a day. When she is awake she has very little motor control of her body when she attempts to walk and her speech has been severely affected.”

The family is asking for donations to help cover the difference after insurance for testing and medical bills.

Evalyn is still hooked up to monitors as doctors continue to run tests.

“Nothing can really prepare you to see a loved one, your child especially, have days where they are really good, where they look like they’re getting better, and then the next day their blood pressure and vitals are dropping and they are unresponsive,” Johnson said.

Johnson has this message to people about spreading the disease.

“It might not be you who gets sick. You might not show symptoms, but the next person you come across could be immunocompromised and they can end up like my daughter, and that is the biggest impact to me,” Johnson said. “That no matter how careful we were, it is my daughter who is right now suffering for it.”

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