The results of three specimens’, two from Washtenaw and one from Macomb counties, came back negative for the 2019 Novel Coronavirus. The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) and the Washtenaw County Health Departments are still waiting on the results of another specimen from Washtenaw County.
“We are pleased to announce that the results were negative from Michigan’s first three patients under investigation,” said Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, MDHHS chief medical executive and chief deputy for health. “We encourage healthcare providers to remain vigilant in screening patients for symptoms and travel history, and to contact their local health departments immediately if they see a potential case.”
The fourth individual awaiting results has reported traveling to the Wuhan area and displays only mild respiratory symptoms. The CDC, MDHSS, local health departments (such as the Washtenaw County Health Departments), and the health care community are monitoring the outbreak of the Coronavirus originating in Wuhan, China.
Individuals with symptoms of a lower respiratory illness (cough or difficulty breathing), fever, a reported travel history to the Wuhan area or contact with an ill individual who is being tested for the coronavirus infection are being considered for specimen collection and submission to the CDC for testing.
“There are currently 5 confirmed cases in the United States. While this is a worrisome public health situation, CDC believes that the immediate health risk from 2019 Novel Coronavirus to the general American public continues to be low at this time,” explained Lynn Sutfin, Public Information Officer for MDHHS, via email.
Susan Ringler-Cerniglia, Administrator of Communications & Community Health Promotion for the Washtenaw County Health Department, stated via email, “this is a fast moving situation, and our guidance may change as the situation changes. Because of that and because I don’t know exactly when we will receive test results, I can’t say a lot about next steps. The difficulty is mostly because we don’t have good information about how easily the virus can spread from person to person. For example, is it like measles and we need to worry about any shared airspace – or is it really only contagious with close, sustained contact? We will continue working closely with state and federal health officials to provide the best possible guidance when or if we have a positive test result.”
There are no confirmed cases in Michigan and only five confirmed cases in the U.S. However according to Suftin if a case was confirmed in Michigan, the individual’s health would be monitored by local health officials and health care providers. Those in contact with the positive case would be notified and also monitored. The infected individual would “self-isolated” until symptom-free likely in conjunction with the CDC.