Michigan Chief Medical Officer Joneigh S. Khaldun told a Senate committee Feb. 27 that while there is no drug to attack the coronavirus, she and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services are working to utilize the tools they do have—screening, communication and education.
Khaldun told the Senate Health Policy and Human Services Committee, “If this were to come to Michigan, we’d be focusing on non-pharmaceutical intervention.”
Khaldun noted that the state is closely monitoring the spread of the virus. The Detroit Metro Airport is one of 11 airports across the country where U.S. citizens who are considered at high risk based on their travels can re-enter the United States.
A process exists at Detroit Metro to identify those who need to be monitored. Currently, there are no confirmed cases in Michigan where travelers have been diverted from the airport to a hospital and quarantined. However, in one case a traveler was taken to the hospital, but later confirmed to not have the virus.
Sen. Paul Wojno (D-Warren) asked Khaldun if a university or college would need to be quarantined if the virus were detected on campus.
“We’ll have to take that on a case-by-case basis,” Khaldun responded.
Talk of quarantine led Sen. Kim La Sata (R-St. Joseph) to ask Khaldun, “Is there a way we could just quarantine Southeast Michigan off from the rest of us?”
Some of the facts Khaldun shared with the committee included:
– There are five strains of coronavirus known to infect humans
– Symptoms include fever, cough, runny nose and shortness of breath
– The incubation period is two to 14 days, with most people appearing to show symptoms around day 5 or 6
– The mortality rate is believed to be between 1 percent and 2 percent—by comparison, flu has a mortality rate of 0.1 percent, SARS 10 percent and Ebola 50 percent
– A total of 81,000 cases have been confirmed globally; of those 78,000 are in mainland China.
– A total of 2,700 deaths so far from the virus; of those 2,600 occurred in mainland China.