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Michigan has its first state-confirmed cases of COVID-19; Whitmer declares state of emergency

coronavirus symptoms sheet
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Governor Gretchen Whitmer announced Tuesday night that there are two presumptive positive cases of COVID-19 in Michigan. The cases are in Wayne and Oakland counties. They have not yet been confirmed by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). 

Whitmer also declared a state of emergency, saying, "We are taking every step that we can to mitigate the virus spread, and keep Michiganders safe."

The tests still needs to be confirmed by the Centers for Disease Control, but the state is proceeding with precautionary measures. The Oakland County resident had a history of international travel, and the Wayne County resident had a history of domestic travel.

"It is very likely we will see more cases and there will be community spread," said state Chief Medical Executive Dr. Joneigh Khaldun. 

Michigan is the 39th state to have a confirmed case. As of Tuesday, March 10, 973 cases of coronavirus confirmed by lab tests and 30 deaths in the U.S., according to a New York Times database.

COVID-19 is the disease caused by novel coronavirus, which originated in China in December. The disease has sickened more than 118,000 people worldwide, and at least 4,250 people have died. Approximately 3,000 of those deaths have been in mainland China.

Late last month, Whitmer activated the state Emergency Operations Center to coordinate with state, local and federal agencies to help prevent the spread of coronavirus.

Universities across the state have taken precautionary measures in order to contain the outbreak. Michigan State University has suspended all international and non-essential domestic travel. Others are prompting students returning from spring break to self-monitor for symptoms, and self-quarantine if necessary.

There isn't a vaccine to protect against coronavirus yet, although scientists are working to develop one. Officials say that could take a year or more.

This is a developing story.

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Emma is a communications specialist with the digital team at Michigan Radio. She works across all departments at Michigan Radio, with a hand in everything from digital marketing and fundraising to graphic design and website maintenance. She also produces the station's daily newsletter, The Michigan Radio Beat.
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