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Michigan Gov. Whitmer asks for disaster declaration from Trump, reiterates stay home order amid coronavirus outbreak

State medical chief says peak of COVID-19 cases is a few weeks away if everyone helps stop spread

LANSING, Mich. – Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said she has requested a major disaster declaration from President Trump to help with the state’s coronavirus response effort.

Whitmer said such a declaration would help the state provide meals, housing assistance, counseling and therapy, and the means to add additional hospital capacity.

MORE: Here’s the help Michigan could get during coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic

“It would also provide much needed additional capacity in our state in the event we need to set up field hospitals or other facilities,” she said.

Whitmer spoke during a news conference Thursday morning in Lansing, where she was joined by Michigan Department of Health and Human Services Chief Medical Executive Dr. Joneigh Khaldun.

“We’re still in the upslope when it comes to the spread of COVID-19 in Michigan,” Khaldun said.

The medical chief said we are a few weeks away from a peak of cases in Michigan if everyone stays home and helps stop the spread.

As of Wednesday afternoon, the total number of confirmed cases reached 2,294, according to the state. The death toll increased by 19.

The governor is reiterating her “stay home” order, telling people the best thing they can do to help stop the spread is follow the order and stay home.

“This disease cannot spread if we are not out and about,” she said.

In terms of personal protective equipment (PPE) for medical personnel, the governor said Michigan has secured:

  • 13 million N95 masks
  • 226,000 surgical masks
  • 35,000 hospital gowns
  • More than four million gloves
  • Nearly 100,000 face shields
  • 250 beds
  • Thousands of gallons of hand sanitizer.

Meanwhile, Whitmer said she is working with the Michigan legislature to figure out what to do with schools and students. Schools have been shut down statewide since March 16, per the governor’s order.

READ: Coronavirus in Michigan: Here’s where we stand

MORE: Here’s which Michigan counties have confirmed cases of coronavirus

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 and 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 other people.
  • 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.

Click here for more guidelines from the CDC.

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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