Deputy among the 3 confirmed cases of coronavirus in Kalamazoo County

County officials say 'it's imperative' people abide by shelter-in-place order, practice social distancing
3 cases of coronavirus confirmed in Kalamazoo County.
Posted at 5:46 PM, Mar 23, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-23 18:06:13-04

KALAMAZOO, Mich. — Health and county officials announced Monday afternoon that as of last night the coronavirus has been detected in the area.

“Three adult Kalamazoo County residents have tested positive for the novel coronavirus that causes the COVID-19 disease,” said Dr. William Nettleton during a press conference at the Kalamazoo County Public Health Department. “Two individuals have a travel history within the state of Michigan. One individual does not have a travel history outside of Kalamazoo County.”

Nettleton said all the residents are medically stable, one was hospitalized and they all experienced the symptoms of shortness of breath, fever or cough.

“I wanted to let you know that one of the infected persons is a deputy with the Kalamazoo County Sheriff’s Office,” Sheriff Richard Fuller said at the podium. “That person is receiving medical treatment.”

Fuller added that the deputy is recovering. They conducted an investigation and learned that the deputy did not impact the general public.

However, Fuller strongly recommended all residents practice social distancing.

“That means one trip to the store for one person per family a week,” Fuller said. “That’s the best we can do to do our ‘social distancing.’ Don’t continue to gather in groups or parties in homes.”

Fuller said deputies will keep an eye on gatherings and businesses that operate after the "shelter-in-place" goes into effect at midnight.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer made the announcement during an 11 a.m. press conference in Lansing.

“This is an order,” said Jim Rutherford, health officer at Kalamazoo County Public Health Department. “It’s not a recommendation. Kalamazoo County residents need to stay at home as much as you can.”

Rutherford reiterated that essential businesses and services will remain open, like grocery stores, pharmacies, and gas stations.

“Wash your hands. Practice good personal hygiene. Keep your hands away from your face,” Rutherford continued. “It’s imperative that you follow the governor’s orders.”

Nettleton said officials are asking people only call 911 if it’s an emergency, like experiencing trouble with breathing, chest pain or pressure."

“Call your doctor before walking into clinic,” Nettleton said. “If available use tele-health or a phone consultation with your doctor."