Governor Gretchen Whitmer addressed the state late Tuesday night to announce that the first cases of COVID-19 have been detected in Michigan, something health experts long predicted would happen.
“It certainly doesn’t help to be panicked.” — Wayne County Medical Director Dr. Ruta Sharangpani
One of the presumed cases is in Wayne County and the other from Oakland County, both tied to recent international and domestic travel. What do we know about the disease’s presence here in Michigan and what should we all be doing to protect ourselves and our loved ones?
Listen: Wayne County Medical Director talks first cases of coronavirus in Michigan.
Coronavirus in Michigan: Key Information
Latest developments: Two confirmed cases of COVID-19 have been identified in Michigan.
What Michigan is doing: Gov. Gretchen Whitmer recently established four task forces to address the possible spread of coronavirus, focusing on education, health and human services, the economy and work force and state operations. She also announced Michigan’s state Medicaid program will waive co-pays and cost-sharing for coronavirus testing.
What you should do:
- Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands.
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or upper sleeve when coughing or sneezing.
- Avoid contact with people who are sick.
- Stay home if you are sick and contact your healthcare provider.
Dr. Ruta Sharangpani, Wayne County Medical Director, says it’s important for individuals to use common sense precautionary measures to stay healthy amid the coronavirus outbreak. This includes staying home when sick and diligently washing your hands.
“It certainly doesn’t help to be panicked,” says Sharangpani.
On the commonly cited comparison of the coronavirus to the flu, Sharangpani says there are similarities in how the two spread but are in a different family of virus. “Coronavirus is a little bit more infectious than the flu,” says Sharangpani. Even though it is more infectious, Sharangpani adds that at this point it is still more likely one would be afflicted by the flu rather than coronavirus.
How will the presence of COVID-19 impact local institutions and public gatherings? According to Sharangpani, that remains to be seen. “It’s too early with these two cases to know what’s going to happen. It’s just wait-and-see at this point,” says Sharangpani.
This article was written by Detroit Today associate producer Clare Brennan.