Whitmer creates 4 coronavirus task forces to assess, combat illness spread

Published: Mar. 3, 2020 at 2:59 PM EST
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(3/3/2020) - Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is creating four new 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.

Each task force will include representatives from state government agencies, local communities and private businesses or organizations.

“While there have been no confirmed cases in Michigan yet, we must recognize that this virus has the potential to impact nearly every aspect of our lives,” Whitmer said.

Whitmer 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.

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services launched a campaign on Tuesday to raise awareness of proper handwashing techniques and prevent the spread of coronavirus or other illnesses.

Cases of COVID-19 have been reported in at least 10 states and caused at least seven deaths in the U.S. The immediate health risk to most residents in Michigan remains low, however.

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.