March 6, 2020 at 1:30 pm: 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 state level. Possible cases are being reviewed for testing. Testing is currently only available at the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) lab. Testing requires a health care provider’s approval and state and local health department approval. Health care providers should contact the Health Department for instructions.
The situation locally may change quickly. The Health Department and your local Washtenaw County Officials are relying on our community to continue practicing good, basic prevention strategies, like handwashing, and referring to official sources of information for updates and guidance.
“The Washtenaw County Health Department is taking action to ensure we are fully prepared and we appreciate the dedication of our hardworking staff,” says Chair of the Washtenaw County Board of Commissioner’s Jason Morgan. “We will continue to work together to minimize the spread of illness and protect health to the greatest degree possible should local cases be confirmed.”
Washtenaw County Health Department is in close contact with health care providers to evaluate or test individuals as needed. The Health Department is also coordinating with federal state, and local officials, as well as institutions, schools, and community organizations to be ready for additional actions and communications should we have local cases.
Individuals with concerns or flu-like symptoms should call their health care provider first with questions. Symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, cough, or difficulty breathing. The Health Department has expanded its phone lines. Callers may dial 734-544-6700 to hear a recorded update and to have the option to speak to a staff member or leave a message. Updates are also available at www.washtenaw.org/health and www.washtenaw.org/COVID19.
Good handwashing, staying away from others if sick, and covering your cough are always recommended to reduce the spread of illness.
The Health Department’s Response Team is meeting regularly. Governor Whitmer has activated the State Emergency Operations Center to coordinate the state’s response. Our health officer has met with local officials, including emergency managers and law enforcement, to ensure that we are prepared to coordinate any disease control efforts that may need to be taken in our community. If required, the local health officer Jimena Loveluck has the authority to make recommendations, issue orders, or declare a local public health emergency. None are recommended at this time, however.
We know this possibility of local cases may cause concern, and we are working to share timely, accurate information without causing unnecessary alarm.
“We want our community to understand that plans and systems are in place to respond to this type of public health emergency. While that response may become difficult, we value the expertise of our health officials, health providers, other first responders, and emergency planners, and we are actively working to promote preparedness, coordination and full cooperation.” confirms Gregory Dill, Washtenaw County Administrator.
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. [English. Chinese. 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 the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) 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.
REMEMBER: Discrimination harms public health. People of Asian descent, including Chinese Americans, are not more likely to get coronavirus than anyone else.
This situation may change quickly. Refer to these sites for current information:
☑ Washtenaw updates: www.washtenaw.org/COVID19
☑ Michigan updates: www.michigan.gov/coronavirus
☑ National updates: http://www.cdc.gov/COVID19
Fact Sheets from Washtenaw County Health Department
Information in Multiple Languages
Guidance Information for: