One of the first Michigan patients diagnosed with COVID-19, the illness caused by the novel coronavirus, is being treated by the University of Michigan Health System, officials said.
The patient, one of two state officials say have tested “presumptive positive” for coronavirus, is stable, Michigan Medicine officials said Wednesday morning, March 11.
One of the patients is an Oakland County woman with a recent history of international travel. The other is a Wayne County man who had a recent history of domestic travel, state officials told MLive. Both are middle-aged.
Officials declined to say where within the health system the patient is being treated.
Michigan Medicine’s main hospital is in Ann Arbor. The health system also has locations across the state, including Northville, Novi and Grand Rapids, though many of those locations specialize in things such as family medicine and cancer treatment.
The hospital system is preparing for potential surges in confirmed cases by tracking and ordering additional supplies, such as masks and hand sanitizer, Spokeswoman Mary Masson said. The system can also create containment units or separate rooms, she said.
“If necessary, we have the ability to set up a respiratory isolation containment unit, and we have additional isolation rooms on multiple units,” Masson wrote in an email.
A statement from Michigan Medicine said precautions are in place to minimize exposure risks to others.
“Based on that, risk of infection is low for our employees and visitors, even if you work in our hospitals or near the unit where the patient is isolated,” according to the statement.
The hospital has not yet established visitor restrictions but has been asking people who are sick not to visit for several weeks, Masson said.
No cases have been confirmed in Washtenaw County, the Washtenaw County Health Department confirmed Wednesday. Fifteen cases have tested negative for the virus, officials said.
In general, hospitals have containment strategies for respiratory illnesses, Health Department spokeswoman Susan Ringler-Cerniglia said. Protocol could be the same for COVID-19, meaning a case in a nearby hospital is not necessarily part of the community spread risk.
Much like how you would try to prevent the flu, you want to stay away from people who are sick and practice good hygiene, says the CDC.
The latter means thoroughly washing your hands for at least 20 seconds, especially after using the bathroom and before eating. Avoid touching your mouth or face unless your hands are clean.
Use household cleaners to disinfect commonly touched objects and surfaces. Use disinfectant wipes to clean your hands or surfaces such as shopping-cart handles when out in public.