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Michigan confirms first 2 cases of coronavirus, both in Metro Detroit

Cases confirmed in Wayne and Oakland counties

DETROIT – The state of Michigan has confirmed its first cases of the new coronavirus, COVID-19.

Governor Gretchen Whitmer announced the first cases during a press conference late Tuesday night in Lansing. The two cases are in Oakland and Wayne counties.

The Oakland County woman had traveled internationally. The Wayne County man had traveled domestically. Both are hospitalized. Both were described as “middle-aged."

The Oakland County woman was hospitalized and is “doing well,” officials said on Wednesday. She was tested on Tuesday. Overall, 70 residents have been evaluated for COVID-19 in Oakland County, with 35 negative results, and 34 pending results.

One of the two Michigan residents who have tested positive for the COVID-19 virus is an inpatient at the University of Michigan Health System.

Whitmer has declared a state of emergency in response to the first cases. Both cases need to be confirmed by the CDC.

“We are taking every step we can to mitigate the spread of the virus and keep Michiganders safe,” said Governor Whitmer. “I have declared a state of emergency to harness all of our resources across state government to slow the spread of the virus and protect families. It’s crucial that all Michiganders continue to take preventative measures to lower their risk, and to share this information with their friends, family, and co-workers.”

As of March 10, 493 cases were referred for monitoring to date, with 87 under active monitoring for the virus -- 57 tests have returned negative.

"This patient in Wayne County is currently under isolation. 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,” said Wayne County Executive Warren C. Evans. “We are continuing to collaborate with the state health department and recommend residents continue to practice prevention measures to slow the spread of COVID-19.”

“Oakland County and our Health Division will investigate the circumstances around this case so we understand if there are any potential close contacts," said Oakland County Executive Dave Coulter. "We must all as individuals and communities continue our prevention and preparedness strategies as we hope for a full recovery for this member of the community.”

Michigan is able to conduct testing for coronavirus at a state lab. Michigan is preparing for the possibility of the coronavirus making its way to the state. An Emergency Operations Center in Lansing went into action in February at the request of Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.

Michigan is able to offer same-day testing turnaround.

CDC testing criteria expanded to include any persons, including healthcare workers, who have had close contact with a laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 patient within 14 days of symptom onset, or a history of travel to one of the affected geographic areas within 14 days of symptom onset. Affected areas include China, Iran, Italy, Japan and South Korea.

The virus has infected more than 800 people in the U.S. and killed at least 29, with one state after another recording its first infections in quick succession. New Jersey reported ts first coronavirus death Tuesday. Worldwide, nearly 120,000 have been infected and over 4,200 have died.

For most people, the virus causes only mild or moderate symptoms such as fever and cough. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia. Most people recover in a matter of weeks, as has happened with three-quarters of those infected in mainland China.

Learn much more about coronavirus from Dr. Frank McGeorge in the video below.

How COVID-19 Spreads

Person-to-person spread

The virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person.

  • Between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet).
  • Through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.

These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.

Can someone spread the virus without being sick?

  • People are thought to be most contagious when they are most symptomatic (the sickest).
  • Some spread might be possible before people show symptoms; there have been reports of this occurring with this new coronavirus, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.

Spread from contact with contaminated surfaces or objects

It may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.

How easily the virus spreads

How easily a virus spreads from person-to-person can vary. Some viruses are highly contagious (spread easily), like measles, while other viruses do not spread as easily. Another factor is whether the spread is sustained, spreading continually without stopping.

Prevention & Treatment

There is currently no vaccine to prevent coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus. However, as a reminder, CDC always recommends everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory diseases, including:

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.

Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.

People who think they may have been exposed to COVID-19 should contact their healthcare provider immediately.

Current risk assessment from CDC:

  • For most people, the immediate risk of being exposed to the virus that causes COVID-19 is thought to be low. This virus is not currently widespread in the United States, the CDC says.
  • People in places where ongoing community spread of the virus that causes COVID-19 has been reported are at elevated risk of exposure, with increase in risk dependent on the location.
  • Healthcare workers caring for patients with COVID-19 are at elevated risk of exposure.
  • Close contacts of persons with COVID-19 also are at elevated risk of exposure.
  • Travelers returning from affected international locations where community spread is occurring also are at elevated risk of exposure, with increase in risk dependent on the location.

Questions about coronavirus? Ask Dr. McGeorge

Do you have questions about the coronavirus?

Have you seen or heard things about the illness that you’re not sure are true? Do you need a claim about the coronavirus fact-checked? Local 4′s Dr. Frank McGeorge, M.D., is here to help.

Use the form here to share your question, or the claim you’d like investigated. Here are some questions he’s already addressed (click the links to read his answers):

For the latest Coronavirus news, go to our Coronavirus page here.


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