Michigan officials revealed this week that 357 people in the state who traveled from China have been or currently are being monitored for symptoms of COVID-19, the respiratory illness caused by the coronavirus.
The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) said these individuals have been asked to self-quarantine at home for 14 days and limit their travel. Five individuals who were tested for the disease tested negative.
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced Friday that she has activated the state’s emergency operations center to coordinate a response to the virus.
“Right now, we’re harnessing all of the resources of state government to help people prepare and keep themselves and their families safe,” she said. “By activating the state emergency operations center, we’re ensuring that every branch of state government is on alert, and actively coordinating to prevent the spread of coronavirus if it comes to Michigan. We are taking this step out of an abundance of caution. We will continue to take every necessary precaution to keep Michiganders safe.”
Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, the chief deputy for health at the MDHHS, said the current risk to the general public “is low.”
“Michiganders can be assured that we are taking this seriously and we will continue to make preparations to limit the spread and impact of COVID 19. Everyone can do basic things like washing hands frequently, covering their coughs appropriately, and staying home if they feel unwell to prevent the spread of respiratory viruses,” Khaldun added.
As of Friday, there were 83,652 confirmed cases of coronavirus and 2,858 deaths worldwide. China, the epicenter of the outbreak, accounts for more than 95 percent of cases, according to the World Health Organization. CNN reports that there are a total of 63 confirmed coronavirus cases in America.
The MDHHS plans to launch a hand-washing advertisement campaign next week to help slow the spread of the virus.
According to the Associated Press, Whitmer dodged questions Friday regarding whether she was confident in the Trump administration’s response to the virus.
“I am confident in the experts we have here on the ground,” she told reporters. “Instead of waiting to see what’s going on in the federal government, we’re going to be in touch with them but we’re going to make the decisions based on the things that we see here.”
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