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Michigan prepares for virus outbreak

Posted at 7:44 PM, Feb 26, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-02 14:39:20-05

LANSING, Mich. — Michigan's Attorney General Dana Nessel is warning Michiganders about the Coronavirus and scams.

She says, don't fall for scams playing on your fear.

Con artists are sending fake emails, social media posts and selling fake products all in an effort to steal your money.

Attorney General Nessel wants to remind people while the threat is real, there are no confirmed cases in Michigan.

She says these scams are a perfect example of people preying on fears and no one should hand out personal info.

Now, there are people in Mid-Michigan getting ready just in case the virus spreads here.

Michigan State University is already working with the Ingham County Health department to make students stay healthy.

In fact, the university is now suspending some programs in Asia because of the outbreak.

The World Health Organization is calling the Coronavirus a "public health emergency of international concern."

There are 14 cases confirmed in the United States, none here in Michigan.

"We're in a really early stage here. There's not a lot we are actively doing," said Ingham County Health Officer Linda Vail. She says this outbreak isn't much different than previous health scares in the past.

"We handled h1n1 years ago. We have preparedness plans in place that allow us to just amp up and do those things."

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says there are cases of the Coronavirus in more than 40 countries.

The health department and Michigan State University are monitoring the situation in those countries.

MSU Spokesman Dan Olsen told Fox 47, "Now what we are doing is working with students who may be from those affected areas and making sure they have the support services they need here on campus."

Vail says they are working with the CDC to monitor anyone in the area.

"What that really means is not 'oh my gosh, these people may have Coronavirus lets monitor them,' it is they've traveled from an impacted area."

She adds even if the Coronavirus does spread in Michigan ... It likely won't be as bad as in China.

"Keep in mind, this is the United States, this is not rural areas of China. So access to medical care might be different."

Lansing hospitals are also monitoring the coronovirus.

"Basically what they tell is any new developments, any new concerns, any new provisions we have to do to care for our patients," said Dr. Christine Perry, McLaren Emergency Department Director.

""We can ramp up our response based on a tier approach to meet whatever the demand is," said Dr. Dale Jackson, Sparrow Director of EMS and Preparedness.

Dr. Jackson said Sparrow doctors are already screening for the coronavirus.

"As patients come in, they are screened for whatever their concern is but we ask specific questions to see if they are at risk for the coronoavirus," he said.

However, not everyone is getting the screening.

"The CDC actually tells us what patients they want tested for the coronavirus. They have definite guidelines that dictate when and what type of people will be tested," said Dr. Perry.

Health leaders say the best way to stop the spread of any virus is simply washing your hands and covering your cough.

You can check updates from MSU about steps they are taking against the Coronavirus online.

Michigan Senators Debbie Stabenow and Gary Peters are asking the president to take action and offer more money to fight the Coronavirus.

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