Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced on Tuesday the creation of four task forces meant to combat the spread the coronavirus in Michigan and mitigate the impact it could have on Michiganders’ lives.
Although Michigan currently has no confirmed cases of the coronavirus, also known as COVID-19, nine people have died from the virus in the United States. There have been more than 90,800 cases of the virus confirmed around the world, with more than 80,000 of those cases originating in China, according to the World Health Organization. More than 3,000 people have died globally.
Symptoms of the virus include fever, cough and shortness of breath.
The four task forces will cover state operations, education, economy and workforce, and health and human services. They will include “key” state government agencies, according to a statement from Whitmer.
“We must recognize that this virus has the potential to impact nearly every aspect of our lives,” Whitmer said in a statement on Tuesday.
The task force handling state operations also includes employment and facilities. The force on education covers K-12 public school, universities and colleges. The economy task force will be involved with general economic impact, as well as workforce, supply chain and business continuity issues. The fourth task force, covering health and human services, covers both the provision of medical services and the protection of healthcare workers.
The launching of the task forces follows the activation of the State Emergency Operations Center on February 28 by Whitmer. The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services also activated the Community Health Emergency Coordination Center on Tuesday and have been working with local health systems and medical providers to provide screenings and prepare for the spread of the coronavirus.
The risk to Michigan residents posed by the coronavirus is currently low, according to Whitmer’s office. The best way to prevent catching the virus is similar to preventing influenza or the common cold: wash hands with soap and warm water, avoid touching the face and avoid contact with people who are sick.
“From our public schools, colleges, and universities to our businesses and hospitals, we must harness all of the resources we have to ensure we can prevent the spread of coronavirus and keep Michiganders safe,” Whitmer said. “This is a strong, smart team that will make protecting our public health their number one priority and work closely with me to protect the people of our state.”
– – –
Jordyn Pair is a reporter with Battleground State News and The Michigan Star. Follow her on Twitter at @JordynPair. Email her at [email protected]