First cases of coronavirus confirmed in Michigan. One each in Oakland and Wayne counties


(WXYZ) — The first cases of coronavirus and COVID-19 have been confirmed in Michigan and Gov. Whitmer has declared a state of emergency.

Whitmer announced late Tuesday that she made the declaration to assist local governments to slow the spread of the virus.

The state has a website set up specifically for COVID-19 and is at Michigan.gov/coronavirus.

According to the state Chief Medical Executive and Chief Deputy for Health Dr. Joneigh S. Khaldun, the cases are in Oakland and Wayne counties. The Oakland County resident is an adult female and had a recent history of international travel. The Wayne County resident is an adult male had a history of domestic travel. Both patients are middle-aged, according to Whitmer.

“This patient in Wayne County is currently under isolation. Our Public Health Division is working to identify individuals who may have come into close contact with the patient so we can take appropriate steps and monitor them closely,” said Wayne County Executive Warren C. Evans. “We are continuing to collaborate with the state health department and recommend residents continue to practice prevention measures to slow the spread of COVID-19.”

“Oakland County and our Health Division will investigate the circumstances around this case so we understand if there are any potential close contacts,” said Oakland County Executive Dave Coulter. “We must all as individuals and communities continue our prevention and preparedness strategies as we hope for a full recovery for this member of the community.”

What we don’t know is where the patients specifically are from, who they have come into contact with, or when they were traveling. Evans said they are working to identify people who have come into close contact with the Wayne County patient.

Whitmer is reminding Michiganders that they should take presumptive measures to prevent the spread including:

  • Washing your hands with soap and water.
  • Avoiding touching your eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Covering your mouth and nose with a tissue or upper sleeve when coughing or sneezing.
  • Avoiding contact with people who are sick.
  • Staying home if you are sick and contact your healthcare provider.

COVID-19 Symptoms may appear in as few as two days or as long as 14 days after exposure to the virus. They include:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of Breath

According to the state health department, the tests still have to be confirmed by the CDC.

Currently, 39 people have tested negative for COVID-19 and 63 others have had testing approved. There are hundreds of others in the state being monitored.

At the end of February, Gov. Whitmer activated the state’s Emergency Operations Center to coordinate the response to coronavirus, and in early March, she created four task forces to combat the spread of the virus.

The task forces include:

– COVID-19 Task Force on State Operations – covers all aspects of state operations, including employment and facilities

– COVID-19 Task Force on Health and Human Services – covers the provision of medical and human services, including protecting the healthcare workforce

– COVID-19 Task Force on Education – covers K-12 public schools and universities and colleges

– COVID-19 Task Force on Economy/Workforce – covers general economic impact, workforce, supply chain, business continuity, and related issues

At least 28 people have been killed by COVID-19 in the U.S. with more than 1,000 sickened, according to a tally from Johns Hopkins University. That total is expected to climb steadily as testing ramps up across the U.S.

Johns Hopkins says over 118,100 cases have been confirmed across the planet and the worldwide death toll has exceeded 4,200. At this time, a vast majority of the cases remain in mainland China, where the virus was first detected.

The ongoing outbreak has been declared a “public health emergency” by the World Health Organization.

On Tuesday, the governor of New York deployed the National Guard to a New York City suburb in the hopes of containing the spread of the coronavirus. The deployment came after five people in New Rochelle tested positive for COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus.

Major events are also being affected by the outbreak. Coachella, Stagecoach were all postponed, as was the New York International Auto Show.

Editor’s note: An earlier version of this story said the case was in Macomb County. It has been updated to reflect it is in Wayne County

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