Shortly after reports that the first two presumptive positive cases of coronavirus (COVID-19) had been detected in the state, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer held a last-minute press conference Tuesday evening declaring a state of emergency in Michigan.
“I have signed an Executive Order declaring a state of emergency in order to maximize our efforts and assist local governments and officials to slow the spread” of the virus, Whitmer said, flanked by top state health officials as she gave the update via satellite.
Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, chief medical executive and chief deputy for health, said the two Michigan residents who have tested positive for coronavirus are middle-aged adults from Wayne and Oakland counties. The adult male from Wayne County had recently traveled domestically; the adult female from Oakland County had recently traveled abroad. Both have been hospitalized, and the male patient from Wayne County is currently under isolation.
Oakland County Executive Dave Coulter said local officials are working to identify more individuals who may have come into close contact with the two patients.
Although the positive results are still pending confirmation from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Khaldun warned that more cases are likely and “there will be community spread.” She encouraged Michiganders to take precautions in order to protect against the illness and to stay home if they feel sick.
The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) and state officials are expected to provide additional details Wednesday afternoon. Updates will also be posted on the state coronavirus website and the CDC website.