Updated, 4:00 pm, March 11, 2020: Added details on Oakland County response.
State officials confirmed the first two presumed positive cases of coronavirus, also known as COVID-19, in Michigan late Tuesday night.
The cases were identified by tests conducted in Lansing but still have to be confirmed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“These are the first known cases of COVID-19 in the state of Michigan. It is very likely that we will see more cases, and that there will be community spread.” - Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, Michigan Department of Health and Human Services
“The coronavirus has the potential to impact our lives in nearly every aspect of our lives,” said Gov. Gretchen Whitmer in a press conference late Tuesday night. “It’s crucial that Michiganders continue to take preventative measures.”
Michiganders are advised to:
- 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.
“These are the first known cases of COVID-19 in the state of Michigan,” said Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, Chief Deputy Director for Health at the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. “It is very likely that we will see more cases, and that there will be community spread.”
Two Cases in Oakland, Wayne
The two cases identified are residents of Oakland and Wayne Counties. Both are hospitalized, Khaldun said.
One is a middle-aged male from Wayne County with a recent history of domestic travel.
“This patient in Wayne County is currently under isolation,” said Wayne County Executive Warren C. Evans in a statement. “Our Public Health Division is working to identify individuals who may have come into close contact with the patient so we can take appropriate steps and monitor them closely.”
“We feel confidant that they’re doing all the right protocols to keep our citizens safe.” - Dave Coulter, Oakland County Executive
The other is a middle-aged female from Oakland County with a recent history of international travel to a country that has no reported coronavirus cases, and likely had low to no exposure to other people before checking in at a local hospital, according to Oakland County.
“We are currently undergoing the contact investigation as we do for any infectious disease like this,” said Oakland County Medical Director Russel Faust.
Oakland County is activating its emergency operations center in response to its first instance of coronavirus.
“We feel confidant that they’re doing all the right protocols to keep our citizens safe. And we will continue to get you more information as this evolving situation unfolds,” said Oakland County Executive Dave Coulter.
Symptoms of coronavirus include fever, coughing and shortness of breath, and can appear between two and 14 days after being exposed to the virus.
There are 647 confirmed cases of coronavirus in the U.S. in 36 jurisdictions, including the District of Columbia. There have been 25 deaths, according to the CDC.
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.
“We are going to take all reasonable and necessary steps,” said Whitmer.