Tracking Michigan coronavirus (COVID-19): Cases being monitored, test results pending

March 12, 2020 update

A laboratory technician prepares COVID-19 patient samples for semi-automatic testing at Northwell Health Labs, Wednesday, March 11, 2020, in Lake Success, N.Y. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved faster testing protocols as the viral outbreak continues to spread worldwide. For most people, the new coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms. For some it can cause more severe illness. (AP Photo/John Minchillo) (John Minchillo, Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

DETROIT – In the state of Michigan, as of March 11, 520 coronavirus (COVID-19) cases were referred for monitoring to date, with 150 people under active monitoring for the virus -- 91 tests have returned negative.

That’s according to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS). The state was still reporting only two confirmed cases of coronavirus (COVID-19) as of Thursday morning (March 12, 2020).

UPDATE: Health officials confirm 10 new cases, bringing total to 12. (March 12)

To recap where we are in Michigan this week:

A model showing the "flatten the curve" theory. (University of Michigan)

Total COVID-19 cases in the United States

According to the CDC, as of March 11, 2020, there were a total 938 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the United States. A total 29 people have died from COVID-19 in the United States. There are 38 states and the District of Columbia reporting cases.

The CDC says data include both confirmed and presumptive positive cases of COVID-19 reported to CDC or tested at CDC since January 21, 2020, with the exception of testing results for persons repatriated to the United States from Wuhan, China and Japan. State and local public health departments are now testing and publicly reporting their cases. In the event of a discrepancy between CDC cases and cases reported by state and local public health officials, data reported by states should be considered the most up to date.

How deadly is the virus?

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), through the first four months of the outbreak, coronavirus has killed about 4,600 people. Meanwhile, the flu kills 290,000 to 650,000 every year around the world, according to WHO. Flu kills about 0.1% of those it infects, but that’s still hundreds of thousands of people each year because it infects millions.

Researchers are still trying to understand how deadly COVID-19 is. The mortality rate from infection with the virus isn’t known yet because the cases caught in an early part of an outbreak are often the most severe, people with mild or no symptoms aren’t being tested, and sometimes overwhelmed hospitals struggle to care for the sickest patients. Reports have estimated the fatality rate from less than 1% to as high as 4% among cases diagnosed so far, depending on location. WHO has reported mortality for seasonal influenza is usually well below 0.1%. However, mortality is to a large extent determined by access to and quality of health care, WHO reports.

Most people infected by the new coronavirus develop mild or moderate symptoms and recover after about two weeks. Follow COVID-19 updates from WHO here.

Read more: Flu and coronavirus: Similar symptoms, different fears

Governor urges ‘community mitigation strategies'

During a news conference Wednesday evening, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer urged “community mitigation strategies” in light of the confirmed cases, urging residents and businesses to avoid large gatherings.

“This is to keep the most people we can, safe,” Whitmer said.

Community mitigation strategies are designed to be implemented at the individual, organizational, and community levels. They apply to businesses, workplaces, schools, community organizations, health care institutions, and individuals of all ages, backgrounds, and health profiles; everyone has an important role to play. These strategies provide essential protections to individuals at risk of severe illness and to health care and other critical infrastructure workforces.

Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, chief medical executive and chief deputy for health, said she expects more cases in Michigan, and for community spread to occur. No new information was offered about the two people with coronavirus in Wayne and Oakland counties.

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

“Michiganders have been preparing for COVID-19 for weeks, including by taking basic measures such as washing their hands often, covering their mouths and noses when coughing or sneezing, and staying home when they are sick,” said Dr. Khaldun. “However, Michigan must take further action to avoid a rapid increase of cases in the state. Community mitigation strategies are crucial to slowing the transmission of the virus in Michigan, particularly before a vaccine or treatment becomes available.”

These Michigan colleges have canceled classes, moved to online instruction due to coronavirus -- view list here.

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.