Michigan activates state emergency operations center to prepare for coronavirus

State prepares for potential cases

DETROIT – Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer says the state will activate its emergency operations center to prepare for potential coronavirus cases.

The State of Michigan Emergency Operations Center (SEOC) is where state, local and federal agencies coordinate the response to a disaster, emergency or terrorist event.

WATCH LIVE: Michigan Gov. Whitmer on state’s preparation for coronavirus

The governor, state director of emergency management and homeland security and other agencies direct all state resources at this center when responding to and recovering from an event. The facility is located in Lansing.

There are currently no known coronavirus cases in Michigan, but 357 are being monitored. At least five has been tested by the CDC, but all five were cleared.

“Right now, we’re harnessing all of the resources of state government to help people prepare and keep themselves and their families safe,” said Governor Whitmer. “By activating the State Emergency Operations Center, we’re ensuring that every branch of state government is on alert, and actively coordinating to prevent the spread of Coronavirus if it comes to Michigan. We are taking this step out of an abundance of caution. We will continue to take every necessary precaution to keep Michiganders safe.”

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Governments at the state and local levels are continuing to ramp up preparedness plans in the event coronavirus continues to spread in the U.S., which the CDC said is “a matter of when, not if.”

As of Thursday, the state is live with testing for the virus, but will only accept specimens that meet CDC criteria.

  • Fever or lower respiratory illness (coughing, shortness of breath) AND travel history to Hubei Province within 14 days of symptom onset.
  • Fever or lower respiratory illness (coughing, shortness of breath) AND travel history to mainland China within 14 days of symptom onset.
  • Fever or lower respiratory illness (coughing, shortness of breath) AND exposure to a laboratory-confirmed 2019 Novel Coronavirus case.

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services says it will be able to test between 100 and 150 people, but expects more kits in the coming weeks.

“While the current risk to the general public of getting COVID-19 is low, we need to use all of our public health tools to make sure we are prepared,” said Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, chief medical executive and chief deputy for health for Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS). “Michiganders can be assured that we are taking this seriously and we will continue to make preparations to limit the spread and impact of COVID 19. Everyone can do basic things like washing hands frequently, covering their coughs appropriately, and staying home if they feel unwell to prevent the spread of respiratory viruses.”

Find more coverage on the coronavirus here.

The CDC confirmed what may be the first case of community transmission of the virus in the U.S. It was found in a person in Northern California who hasn’t traveled internationally or had close contact with a known patient.

California health officials said the patient was not tested for coronavirus for several days while hospitalized because they didn’t fit federal criteria. Even the doctors were concerned about the possibility of coronavirus and had requested the test.

A vaccine isn’t expected to be completed for at least another year.

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