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The original item was published from 3/4/2020 9:34:00 AM to 3/4/2020 9:54:00 AM.

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Health Department - News

Posted on: January 23, 2020

[ARCHIVED] Coronavirus Information: March 4, 2020

coronavirus

UPDATED March 4, 2020 at 9:30am. 

Washtenaw County Health Department is closely monitoring an outbreak of respiratory illness caused by a novel (new) coronavirus (initially 2019-nCoV and now called COVID-19) that was first detected in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China and which continues to expand. Additional cases without clear travel-related exposures have been reported in the U.S.. 

To date, no cases have been confirmed in Michigan or in Washtenaw County. The criteria for testing have expanded, and testing can now be completed at the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) lab. Results will be available faster. Possible cases are being reviewed for testing.

Confirmed Cases in MichiganConfirmed Cases in Washtenaw CountySuspect Cases in Washtenaw County (Pending Test Results)
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Response Actions

Washtenaw County Health Department continues to work closely with state and federal health officials to appropriately monitor or test. The Health Department is in close contact with local health systems and health care providers to review cases and provide guidance. We are also in communication with local schools and businesses to support planning and response actions.

Individuals with concerns or flu-like symptoms should call their health care provider first with questions. The Health Department can also take calls at 734-544-6700. The Health Department has hotline capacity, and we will activate this when or if calls increase.

All community members should practice basic prevention. Good handwashing, staying away from others if sick, and covering your cough are always recommended to reduce the spread of illness. Also, consider reviewing your basic emergency supplies or plans. Health emergencies tend to start slower and last longer than other types of emergency events. See “How to be prepared for coronavirus” at www.washtenaw.org/health.

We continue to prepare for the possibility of local cases and the spread of illness in Washtenaw County. We know this possibility may cause some concern, and we are working to share timely, accurate information without causing unnecessary alarm.

Should community disease control measures be needed, they may include recommendations or orders to limit public gatherings or increase social distance. Social distancing means staying 4-6 feet away from others. Currently none of these actions are recommended.

REMEMBER: Discrimination harms public health. People of Asian descent, including Chinese Americans, are not more likely to get coronavirus than anyone else.

View our How to be Prepared for Coronavirus Fact Sheet (PDF) for more ways to keep yourself and your family safe around respiratory illnesses.

Prevention

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. Fact sheets are available in EnglishChinese, and Spanish.

  • 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.
  • Follow CDC’s recommendations for using a facemask.
    • CDC does not recommend that people who are well wear a facemask to protect themselves from respiratory diseases, including COVID-19.
    • Facemasks should be used by people who show symptoms of COVID-19 to help prevent the spread of the disease to others. The use of facemasks is also crucial for health workers and people who are taking care of someone in close settings (at home or in a health care facility).
  • 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.
    • If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.

You CANNOT tell if someone has a risk of spreading novel coronavirus by what they look like. Stereotypes and discrimination harm public health.

Transmission and Testing

It is unclear how easily the virus is spreading between people at this time. Signs and symptoms of this illness include fever, cough, and difficulty breathing. The most up-to-date information on the situation is available from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV/summary.html. Three individuals in Washtenaw were tested; all of these tests were negative. 

Testing is now available at the state level in Michigan. Testing criteria were updated Feb. 27. Testing can be approved if one of the following conditions are met:

  • Fever or signs/symptoms of lower respiratory illness (e.g., cough or shortness of breath) and any person, including health care workers, who has had close contact with a laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 patient within 14 days of symptom onset
  • Fever and signs/symptoms of a lower respiratory illness (e.g., cough or shortness of breath) requiring hospitalization and a history of travel from affected geographic areas within 14 days of symptom onset
  • Fever with severe acute lower respiratory illness (e.g., pneumonia, ARDS) requiring hospitalization and without alternative explanatory diagnosis (e.g., influenza and no source of exposure has been identified

More information on testing criteria can be found at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV/hcp/clinical-criteria.html.

Information on Traveler and Airport Screening

Countries in addition to China are now seeing sustained transmission of COVID-19; travel alerts have been added through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC): https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/index.html.

Individuals returning from China now enter the U.S. through one of 11 airports, including Detroit Metropolitan Airport (DTW). CDC staff are screening individuals for symptoms consistent with coronavirus and providing information or instructions. Washtenaw County Health Department is in close contact with state and federal health officials to support any necessary monitoring or testing of local travelers. 

Anyone spending time in a country with ongoing transmission should watch themselves for symptoms for 14 days after and let their health care provider know about their travel history before seeking medical care. 

About Coronaviruses

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses, some causing illness in people and others that circulate among animals, including camels, cats and bats. Rarely, animal coronaviruses can evolve and infect people and then spread between people such as has been seen with MERS and SARS. When person-to-person spread has occurred with SARS and MERS, it is thought to have happened via respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes, similar to how influenza and other respiratory pathogens spread. Spread of SARS and MERS between people has generally occurred between close contacts. Past MERS and SARS outbreaks have been complex, requiring comprehensive public health response. 

Symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, cough, or difficulty breathing.

Materials

Further Michigan information

Further information from the CDC

General and travel information

Fact sheets in multiple languages

Global information

Information for healthcare providers

Washtenaw County Health Department
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