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Muskegon County 'can't test everyone;' 2 positive COVID-19 cases

Public Health Muskegon County officials have contacted individuals who the women may have been in close contact with during the last two weeks.

MUSKEGON COUNTY, Mich. — Muskegon County identified its first two positive cases of COVID-19 on Monday, March 23. The first case is an adult woman with no history of domestic or international travel according to a Muskegon County health officer. 

The woman is also said to be not very social. She was tested in Muskegon County on March 20, and Public Health Muskegon County was notified of the positive test Sunday evening. The test was conducted by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. 

The second case is a woman who has a history of domestic travel, health officials said Monday afternoon.

Muskegon County Health Officer Kathy Moore said the health department has been anticipating and expecting the confirmation of COVID-19 in Muskegon after the state's cases rose to over 1,000 in just 13 days.

RELATED: Coronavirus live updates, March 23: Michigan cases reach 1,328, death toll at 15

“To slow the potential spread [of the coronavirus], it’s critical for the public to comply with public health orders and practice common sense precautions," Moore said. 

Public Health Muskegon County officials have contacted individuals who the women may have been in close contact with during the last two weeks. 

Moore says those individuals have been asked to self-isolate and report symptoms, if any, to the health department.

In Muskegon County, 10 negative tests have been returned to the county. Results from 45 additional tests are still pending.

Moore says there's a critical shortage of tests to administer, "so [they] can't test everyone."

Anyone who is feeling ill is asked to stay home and call their primary care physician.

RELATED: Holland Hospital opens COVID-19 drive-thru specimen collection site

Muskegon County residents who do not have a primary care physician can call Mercy Health by following the "learn more" button on the health care provider's website.

"We will be happy to give advice to any of the residents of Muskegon County," said Justin Grill, Chief Medical Officer for Mercy Health in Muskegon.

The region's Call 211 helpline is ready to help community members with questions about food, transportation, and other community services.

On behalf of Muskegon County law enforcement, Muskegon County Prosecutor D.J. Hilson said residents who don't follow the Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's executive orders could face misdemeanor charges. Cases will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis to determine charges.

RELATED: Gov. Gretchen Whitmer issues stay at home order to curb coronavirus

"But understand that please, I'm asking you for your own health and safety, these guidelines are there for a reason," Hilson said. "Let's not violate them."

On Monday, Whitmer signed a "stay home, stay safe" order to protect Michigan residents from the spread of the coronavirus. 

RELATED: Michigan's stay at home order: What am I allowed to do?

Local police are also asking residents to be aware of scammers looking to trick individuals into providing social security and credit card information over the phone. 

Police are asking residents to remove valuables from cars and to keep doors to homes and vehicles locked.

Muskegon's Mayor Stephen Gawron is challenging the community to show its best during the pandemic. "Let's be good neighbors, good parents, good students, lets practice patience and kindness," Gawron said Monday.

The Health Department in Newaygo County also reported its first positive COVID-19 case Monday morning.

Health officials there are working to investigate this case and to determine if there were any exposures to the individual. 

Additional information and guidance will be posted as soon as possible and via Newaygo County Emergency Services Nixle feed.

STATE RECOMMENDATIONS FOR COVID-19

Patients with confirmed infection have reportedly had mild to severe respiratory illness with symptoms of:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath

The best prevention for viruses, such as influenza, the common cold or COVID-19 is to:

  • If you think you have been exposed to COVID-19, call your health care provider. If you do not have a health care provider, call the nearest hospital.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and warm water for 20 seconds. If not available, use hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or upper sleeve when coughing or sneezing.
  • Avoid contact with people who are sick.
  • If you are sick, stay home, and avoid contact with others.
  • Stay at least 6 feet away from others when in a public setting.

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