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UPDATED March 5, 2020 at 8:30 am.
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. Testing can be requested with a doctor’s approval. Testing is only available at the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) lab. Health care providers should contact the Health Department for additional instructions.
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.
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 English, Chinese, and Spanish.
Michigan’s Attorney General is warning residents to watch out for price gouging on in-demand products. The Washtenaw County Health Department has been notified of people trying to sell miracle coronavirus cures in our area. Report scams to the Michigan Attorney General online or by calling 877-765-8388. Contact your health care provider or the Health Department with any coronavirus questions.
Testing is now available at the state level in Michigan. Testing criteria were updated March 4. Testing can be requested by a health care provider in consultation with the Health Department. The number of tests available in Michigan may be limited. Clinicians are strongly encouraged to test for other causes of respiratory illness, including infections such as influenza.
Guidance for testing includes:
Three individuals in Washtenaw were tested; all of these tests were negative. More information on testing criteria can be found at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV/hcp/clinical-criteria.html.
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.
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.
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.