Michigan ‘stay-at-home’ order in effect amid coronavirus outbreak

Stay-at-home order goes into effect at midnight: What that means for you
Stay-at-home order goes into effect at midnight: What that means for you

LANSING, Mich. – There is a mad scramble across the state of Michigan to decipher precisely what Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s “stay-at-home” order truly said.

There is a debate over what is life saving and what is essential. The order went into effect at 12:01 a.m. Tuesday, March 24.

Many Michigan businesses were already closed. Whitmer’s new order changes the game in that only those necessary to sustain or protect life will stay on the job. That includes anyone in health care, public safety, grocery store employees, workers in government-based operations or essential functions. It also includes food, agriculture, energy, water, wastewater, transportation and communications. Critical manufacturing, hazardous materials, financial services, chemical supply chains and safety, defense industrial base and child care are also included.

The list leaves a lot of questions unanswered.

City Bark in Downtown Detroit is a pet shop that provides leashes, accessories for dogs and cats and food. The owner said they’re staying open. They intend to do more with the curbside and order ahead service.

There are also things people are still allowed to do -- like go to a park, walk outside your house. But, Whitmer has asked everyone to stay at least six feet apart. If you want to leave the state or go home in another state, you are allowed to be out.

MORE: Michigan’s number of confirmed coronavirus (COVID-19) cases tops 1,300

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.

MORE: Beaumont Health launches coronavirus hotline for patients with symptoms

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

Question about coronavirus? Ask Dr. McGeorge here.

Read more about coronavirus here.

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