Whitmer, health officials address state's coronavirus preparation

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Posted at 6:20 PM, Mar 11, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-11 19:20:44-04

LANSING, Mich. — Gov. Gretchen Whitmer says she and state health officials are constantly monitoring the nationwide COVID-19 outbreak and taking precautions to limit its impact in Michigan.

Whitmer declared a state of emergency over coronavirus late Tuesday night after two cases were confirmed in eastern Michigan.

On Wednesday, she provided an update to the state’s response to the virus.

"Groups should evaluate and make decisions weather or not to cancel conferences, sporting events, or concerts. This is to keep the most people we can safe,” Whitmer said.

Many universities have started taking steps to avoid large gathering like opting to hold classes online, canceling events and suspending all international travel.

So far, the list of universities that canceled in-person classes includes:

  • Western Michigan University
  • Central Michigan University
  • Michigan State University
  • University of Michigan
  • Michigan Tech
  • Oakland University
  • Grand Rapids Community College
  • Grand Valley State University

Whitmer encourages leaders at other community colleges and universities to consider doing the same.

“I have had the opportunity speak with the presidents of all of our universities and community colleges,” she said. “They should consider telelearning when possible. Some have already begun taking steps to mitigate the spread on college campuses.”

Health officials are urging everyone to avoid large groups of people, break the habit of frequently touching their face, wash their hands for 20 seconds and cover their mouths when sneezing or coughing.

"Even if you are asymptomatic, you could be unknowingly spreading the disease,” Whitmer said. “Assume that you are and take those precautions. Do it for yourself, for your loved ones, for your coworkers and the public at large.

"I want you to think about the asthmatic child, or the 30-year-old woman with MS, or the grandpa with COPD. Don't put yourself or them at risk. Our kids, our education, our economy is counting on every one of us to do our part."