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Michigan officials: Follow COVID-19 social distancing orders or face fines up to $1,000

Emergency Order issued

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DETROIT – The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services issued an Emergency Order on Thursday that sets a civil fine of up to $1,000 for violating orders related to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

April 2 update -- Michigan coronavirus (COVID-19) cases up to 10,791; Death toll now at 417

The order also outlines the process of referral to licensing agencies for violations made by entities that are regulated by a licensing agency.

Criminal penalties also remain an option that prosecutors could choose.

All people must comply with the following orders and any orders related to the virus that come after them, or they risk fines:

  • Executive Order 2020-11 temporarily prohibits large assemblages and events and temporarily closes schools.
  • Executive Order 2020-20 places temporary restrictions on the use of places of public accommodation.
  • Executive Order 2020-21 temporarily restricts gatherings and travel and prohibits in-person work that is not necessary to sustain or protect life.

“A person can have coronavirus without knowing it,” MDHHS Director Robert Gordon said. “They can spread the disease to others who can spread it to others. The only way to stop the spread is social distancing. A civil penalty and potential licensing actions send a strong message to Michiganders that social distancing is essential to saving lives.”

MORE: What the CDC says you should do if you believe you have coronavirus (COVID-19)

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.

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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