First 2 cases of coronavirus confirmed in Michigan

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signs a State of Emergency declaration after Michigan's first two cases...
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signs a State of Emergency declaration after Michigan's first two cases of coronavirus were confirmed. (WJRT)
Published: Mar. 10, 2020 at 10:24 PM EDT
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(3/10/2020) - The first two cases of coronavirus has been confirmed in Michigan.

Patients in Oakland and Wayne counties have presumptive cases of COVID-19, which is the illness caused by coronavirus. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention still have to officially confirm the diagnoses.

The Oakland County patient recently traveled internationally while the Wayne County patient traveled within the U.S., according to state health officials.

The Wayne County patient has been placed in isolation while health officials in Oakland County are investigating that patient's recent contacts. Both patients were hospitalized Tuesday.

“We are taking the identification of COVID-19 in our state very seriously,” said Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, Michigan's chief medical executive and chief deputy for health. “We continue to urge Michiganders to take precautions to prevent the spread of this virus in our state.”

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer declared a State of Emergency in response to the coronavirus confirmation. She plans to release more information on Wednesday about how the state's efforts are expanding.

"We are going to take all reasonable and necessary steps," she said.

Michigan has tested at least 63 patients for coronavirus and 39 of them have come back negative as of Tuesday afternoon. Test results are pending for 24 patients and an additional 471 people are under monitoring.

Those figures don't include the two positive cases reported Tuesday evening.

Nationwide, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are reporting a total of 647 coronavirus cases and 25 deaths as of Tuesday afternoon. The illnesses are reported in 36 states.

Worldwide, the World Health Organization has confirmed 113,702 cases of coronavirus and 4,012 deaths. About three-fourths of the cases and deaths have occurred in China.

Michigan activated the Joint Information Center in Lansing on Tuesday to coordinate communication among state agencies regarding coronavirus.

Whitmer created four statewide task forces to combat the spread of coronavirus and assess the effects it may have on Michigan. The task forces cover:

-- State operations and facilities.

-- Medical and human services, including protection of health care workers.

-- K-12 and higher education institutions.

-- General economic impact on the workforce, business activity and supply chains.

Whitmer also activated Michigan's Emergency Operations Center on Feb. 3 to manage the state's response to coronavirus. Officials already are working with health departments and health care providers around the state.

Coronavirus symptoms include mild to severe respiratory illness, fever, cough and shortness of breath.

The best ways to prevent coronavirus and other viruses include:

-- Washing hands often with soap and warm water for 20 seconds.

-- Avoid touching the eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands.

-- Covering to cover your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing.

-- Avoiding contact with sick people and staying home when ill.