Michigan Gov. Whitmer warns of PPE shortage, reminds residents to keep focus on slowing spread of coronavirus (COVID-19)

Whitmer tells Michiganders to wear masks

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer discusses need for protective equipment amid virus outbreak

DETROIT – Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said Monday that Michiganders need to continue focusing on slowing the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19).

“I think to see the real benefits of the work that we’ve done, it takes a few weeks to know what that really means,” she said. “But we do know that the most effective tool we have right now, as our hospitals are overwhelmed and we don’t have enough PPE (personal protective equipment), is to slow the spread of the virus.”

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Whitmer said that while the state is still struggling with the amount of PPE it is, there has been an improvement.

“I think it’s important to note that while these timelines are very serious, they are a vast improvement from where we were just a week ago,” Whitmer said.

The governor also announced a new shipment of PPE from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, including 400 ventilators and 1.2 million surgical masks.

Whitmer added that Michiganders should be wearing a facial covering when they must be around other people, while noting that wearing a mask is extra protection -- it shouldn’t provide a false sense of security to “think that you can resume normal life.”

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.

About the Authors:

Jason anchors Local 4's 5:30 p.m. newscast. He joined WDIV in January 2015 as a general assignment reporter and has a Journalism degree from Michigan State University.