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Governor Whitmer answers questions from viewers about coronavirus

Posted at 7:47 PM, Mar 06, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-07 11:48:15-05

DETROIT (WXYZ) — While there are not yet any cases of the new coronavirus in Michigan, the governor said it is only a matter of time.

We know you have questions about what is being done here in Michigan to keep you safe. We asked people what they wanted asked of the governor, then took their questions to her.

State law says, “Upon a determination by a department representative or a local health officer that an individual is a carrier and is a health threat to others, the department representative or local health officer shall issue a warning notice to the individual requiring the individual to cooperate with the department or local health department in efforts to prevent or control transmission of serious communicable diseases or infections.”

If they don’t cooperate they can face jail or fines.

The governor said it was too soon to say what would be done in individual circumstances, but encouraged people to check out michigan.gov/coronavirus. She says if people are educated, there will likely be fewer problems. The state is working to communicate now with the public to save lives.

“This could have a huge impact on our lives,” she warned.

Another question came from a man struggling to find supplies he needs because of the virus.

“I am a contractor. I went to buy dust masks and they were out. They won’t have any for two months. So now we have to worry about mesothelioma because people are concerned about the coronavirus. We don’t have any respirators. What do we do to stop all this fear that I feel is a little unnecessary?” asked Lawrence Carter.

“We need to make sure people are operating with facts. Buying a bunch of hand sanitizer and masks is less powerful than washing your hands for 20 seconds,” said Gov. Whitmer.

“How in the heck can people who have had their water cut off use the front line defense of simply washing their hands for 20 seconds, when they cant get 5 seconds of running water in Detroit?” asked Sam Riddle, a civil rights activist in Detroit.

Riddle says he fears Detroit residents may be extra vulnerable due to the lack of water in so many homes.

“I have mobilized several agencies in state government to go about seeing how we meet that need,” said Gov. Whitmer.