HANCOCK — The Western Upper Peninsula Health Department (WUPHD) is taking steps to prevent the spread of illness and ensure that local communities are fully prepared in the event of a novel Coronavirus or COVID-19 outbreak. This is a rapidly evolving event and the local situation may change quickly.
To date, no cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in the five counties covered by the WUPHD or in Michigan. The ability to test for the virus has expanded from the national to the state level, and independent commercial labs should be able to process tests within the next few weeks.
Health care providers should contact the local health department in order to initiate the testing process.
Symptoms of the illness are fever, cough, and shortness of breath, similar to influenza. Individuals with concerns or flu-like symptoms should call their health care provider first with questions.
“There is no known vaccination against COVID-19,” says Cathryn A. Beer, Health Officer for the WUPHD. “Strong prevention efforts are our best defense against this illness. We will continue to work together to minimize the spread of illness and protect health should local cases be confirmed.”
Community members are encouraged to boost local prevention efforts by practicing good, basic hygiene tactics like frequent handwashing, cleaning and disinfecting objects and surfaces, avoiding touching your face, and staying home from work or school when ill. Businesses are also encouraged to review their emergency plans in the event that employees need to work from home or are unable to work due to illness. People planning to travel, particularly those with chronic illnesses should avoid areas with known cases and should expect additional travel delays. The U. S. State Department is recommending against cruise ship travel at this time.
WUPHD is working to coordinate their response with federal, state, and local officials, as well as institutions, schools and community organizations. For more information, please contact the Western Upper Peninsula Health Department at (906) 482-7382. Updates are also available at www.wuphd.org.