Whitmer activates state Emergency Operations Center to coordinate MI's response to coronavirus

Posted at 8:10 AM, Feb 28, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-29 00:03:20-05

LANSING, Mich. (WXYZ) — Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer activated the state's Emergency Operations Center to work with state, local and federal agencies to help stop the spread of the coronavirus.

Whitmer was joined by MDHHS Chief Medical Executive Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, Department of Military and Veterans Affairs Director Major General Paul Rogers, and Captain Emmitt McGowan of the Michigan State Police on Friday morning to make the announcement.

“To be ready, to be prepared and to help inform the population,” Whitmer said. “I am confident in the experts that we have here on the ground in Michigan.”

While there are no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the state, they want to inform Michiganders on how the state is preparing to protect the public health.

“Right now, we’re harnessing all of the resources of state government to help people prepare and keep themselves and their families safe,” Whitmer said in a release. “By activating the State Emergency Operations Center, we’re ensuring that every branch of state government is on alert, and actively coordinating to prevent the spread of Coronavirus if it comes to Michigan. We are taking this step out of an abundance of caution. We will continue to take every necessary precaution to keep Michiganders safe.”

“While the current risk to the general public of getting COVID-19 is low, we need to use all of our public health tools to make sure we are prepared,” Khaldun added. “Michiganders can be assured that we are taking this seriously and we will continue to make preparations to limit the spread and impact of COVID 19. Everyone can do basic things like washing hands frequently, covering their coughs appropriately, and staying home if they feel unwell to prevent the spread of respiratory viruses.”

Patients with confirmed infection have reportedly had mild to severe respiratory illness with symptoms of:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath

The best prevention for viruses, such as influenza, the common cold or COVID-19 is to:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and warm water for 20 seconds. If not available, use hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or upper sleeve when coughing or sneezing.
  • Avoid contact with people who are sick.
  • If you are sick, stay home, and avoid contact with others.

Earlier this month, the state department of heath and human services activated the Community Health Emergency Coordination Center to support local and state repsonses to the outbreak.

The state said it is working closely with healthcare providers, public health departments and the CDC to identify potential cases of the coronavirus.