State officials activated the Michigan Joint Information Center on Tuesday in order to assist state communications about the spread of the coronavirus disease.
There are currently no known cases of the coronavirus in Michigan.
The JIC allows responding public information officers across the state to post and access the latest verified information.
“During emergencies, whether it be a natural disaster or a public health issue, the Joint Information Center is used to track important information and provide it to the public,” said Capt. Emmitt McGowan in a statement on Tuesday. “Timely and accurate communication is key to ensuring the safety of Michigan’s residents.”
McGowan is the deputy state director of Emergency Management and Homeland Security and commander of the Michigan State Police, Emergency Management and Homeland Security Division.
The activation of JIC follows Gov. Gretchen Whitmer activating the State Emergency Operation Center on February 28, as well as the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services activating the Community Health Emergency Coordination Center on February 3. It also comes after Whitmer announced that the Michigan Medicaid program will waive co-pays for coronavirus testing and treatment.
The coronavirus, also known as COVID-19, is a respiratory illness that originated in Wuhan, China. Its symptoms are characterized by a fever, coughing and shortness of breath. According to the CDC, the virus is most dangerous to older individuals (over 50) with existing serious medical conditions (eg. cancer, heart disease, COPD, or immunity disorders).
As of March 10, the United States has seen 647 cases of the coronavirus, resulting in 25 deaths, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. California, Washington and New York all have seen the most cases, although other states, including Illinois, Indiana and Wisconsin, also have confirmed cases.
There are currently more than 100,000 confirmed cases of the coronavirus worldwide and more than 4,000 deaths, according to the World Health Organization.
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Jordyn Pair is a reporter with Battleground State News and The Michigan Star. Follow her on Twitter at @JordynPair. Email her at [email protected]