‘The virus may be present in public places’: Second coronavirus case reported in Muskegon County

As the number of coronavirus cases continues to grow in Muskegon County—the state just confirmed the second case here—public health officials are urging residents to stay home.

“With the confirmation of COVID-19 in our region, there is the possibility that the virus may be present in public places,” Muskegon County Health Officer Kathy Moore said in a press release. “It is critical for our community to work together, take all public health executive orders seriously, and stay home to stay safe and save lives.”

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services notified Public Health – Muskegon County on Monday that the county’s second COVID-19 case is an adult female whose history includes domestic travel.  County officials announced the first case Monday morning.

County public health officials are contacting people who have been in close contact with the patient, and the department said in a press release that they will be “assessed for symptoms and monitored appropriately.”

There are 48 pending coronavirus tests from Muskegon County residents, according to county health officials. State officials reported there are 1,328 COVID-19 cases in Michigan; 15 coronavirus-related deaths have been recorded in the state. There have been no coronavirus-related deaths in Muskegon.

To prevent COVID-19 from spreading, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced a three-week shelter-in-place executive order Monday morning, which directs all Michigan businesses and other venues to temporarily suspend in-person operations that are “not necessary to sustain or protect life.” The order also directs Michiganders to stay in their homes unless they’re part of that critical infrastructure workforce, engaged in an outdoor activity, or performing tasks necessary to the health and safety of themselves or their family, such as going to the hospital or grocery store.

Businesses that will remain open include: restaurants and bars (for take-out and deliveries only), grocery stores, pharmacies, gas stations, medical marijuana stores, health care facilities, banks, utilities, liquor stores, and car repair shops.

“In just 13 days, we’ve gone from 0 to over 1,000 COVID-19 cases,” Whitmer said during a Monday morning press conference. “This is an unprecedented crisis that requires all of us working together to protect our families and our communities. The most effective way we can slow down the virus is to stay home. I know this will be hard, but it will be temporary. If we all come together, get serious, and do our part by staying home, we can stay safe and save lives.” 

County health officials emphasized that to prevent the spread of COVID-19, people should stay at home, wash their hands, cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue, and disinfect commonly touched surfaces.

If you think you have been exposed to the coronavirus or have such symptoms as a fever, cough, or difficulty breathing, contact your medical provider for further guidance. Click here for more information regarding symptoms and treatment. Both Mercy Health and Spectrum Health are performing virtual coronavirus screenings; click here to access information from Mercy and here for information from Spectrum.

If you have questions about the coronavirus, contact the following:

  • Public Health – Muskegon County, 1-231-724-6246
  • Michigan COVID-19 Hotline:1-888-535-6136 
  • Mercy Health COVID-19 Hotline: 1-833-247-1258 
  • Spectrum Health COVID-19 Hotline: 1-833-559-0659

For updates from local health officials, visit muskegonhealth.net. Information can also be found at www.michigan.gov/coronavirus and www.cdc.gov/coronavirus.

Story by Anna Gustafson, the publisher and editor of Muskegon Times. You can connect with her by emailing muskegontimes@gmail.com or on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

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