Genesee, Tuscola counties report first coronavirus deaths

A Tuscola County man is Mid-Michigan's first coronavirus death.
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MID-MICHIGAN (WJRT) (3/26/2020) - The first three coronavirus deaths were reported in Mid-Michigan on Thursday.

Two elderly males with underlying health conditions in Genesee County and a male Tuscola County resident died of coronavirus, according to health officials.

“Our heartfelt condolences go out to the families who have lost their loved ones,” said Genesee County Health Officer John McKellar. “These tragic deaths are an urgent reminder to all of us that we must act now and act together to protect everyone’s health during this time of national crisis.”

The Tuscola County man was a resident of the county's Medical Care Community. The Tuscola County Health Department did not release the man's age or say whether he had any underlying health issues.

“Our condolences go out to the family who have lost their loved one,” said Health Officer Ann Hepfer of the Huron and Tuscola counties health departments. “We know that no words will ease the pain or lessen this family’s grief and our community’s loss and fears."

Michigan has nearly 2,300 presumptive coronavirus cases and at least 44 deaths as of Wednesday afternoon.

Hepfer said health officials are finding evidence of coronavirus spreading among community members. But they are waiting for results from more tests to confirm that.

“It is also a critical time for us to work together and to protect each other and support our health care workers and other essential workers," Hepfer said. "Together we can do this. We can slow the spread of illness and maintain care and resources for everyone.”

Hepfer and McKellar are urging everyone to continue following guidance for avoiding coronavirus:
-- Stay home except for essential trips.
-- Stay six feet away from other people whenever possible.
-- Wash hands frequently.
-- Avoid touching your face.
-- Check on vulnerable loved ones as much as possible.