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UPDATED Feb 26, 2020.
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.
No cases have been confirmed in Michigan or in Washtenaw County.
Washtenaw County Health Department continues to work closely with state and federal health officials to appropriately monitor or test any individuals returning from higher risk areas. Countries in addition to China are now seeing sustained transmission 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.
We are actively preparing for the possibility of local cases and the spread of illness in Washtenaw County. This includes sharing information about the situation locally and where to get reliable information. It also includes working closely with health care providers, other first responders and community members to implement any necessary disease control measures, such as social distancing or limiting public gatherings. Currently no additional actions are recommended.
Good handwashing, staying away from others if sick and covering your cough are always recommended. Flu continues to circulate locally.
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.
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.
All testing is currently done at Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Current testing criteria includes:
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 individuals.
The CDC has now issued a travel alert regarding South Korea and Japan. Anyone spending time in these countries should watch themselves for symptoms for 14 days after and let their health care provider know about their travel history before seeking medial care.
For more, see travel notices: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/index.html. And, information for travelers from China arriving in the U.S.: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/from-china.html.
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.
This situation may change quickly as we learn more about how easily this new virus does or doesn’t spread between people. Currently, the Washtenaw County Health Department does not consider contact with someone who recently traveled to China or other areas but is NOT sick a risky or potential exposure. You CANNOT tell if someone has a risk of spreading novel coronavirus by what they look like. As a reminder, it’s flu season and good prevention strategies are recommended for everyone to help reduce the spread of germs: