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Officials announce 3 patients at Michigan psychiatric hospitals have coronavirus (COVID-19)

3 staff members also test positive

Coronavirus -- SARS-CoV-2
Coronavirus -- SARS-CoV-2 (AP)

WESTLAND, Mich. – Three patients and three staff members at Michigan psychiatric hospitals have tested positive for coronavirus (COVID-19), according to the Department of Health and Human Services.

Two patients at Walter Reuther Psychiatric Hospital in Westland and one patient at the Center for Forensic Psychiatry in Saline have the virus. Also, three staff members at Walter Reuther tested positive.

RELATED: Officials say Beaumont hospitals are nearing ventilator capacity

Precautions were taken at the state’s five psychiatric hospitals several weeks ago.

Isolation units were equipped, additional cleaning measures have been undertaken, and staff and patients have been monitored closely for COVID-19 symptoms for the past two weeks, officials said.

Visitors have also not been allowed at the hospitals for the last two weeks.

“Our primary focus is the health and safety of our staff and the patients at our state hospitals,” said MDHHS Director Robert Gordon. “We treat the spread of COVID-19 with the greatest seriousness and are taking many steps to address it."

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?

  • Spread is possible before people show symptoms. People who are not showing symptoms can still be carrying the virus and can still pass it on to other people.

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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