State starts emergency coordination center to combat coronavirus

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The coronavirus keeps spreading. The death toll is now at 361 and there are over 17,000 confirmed cases. In light of heightened concerns, the state of Michigan has activated a Community Health Emergency Coordination Center that will manage the state’s response.

Here in Michigan— there have been no confirmed cases— but the Michigan Department of Health and Human services says its critical the state have emergency plans in place.

The Health Emergency Coordination Center is not a new effort. It was first launched in 2013 to deal with public health threats. In the past it’s been used during emergency’s such as PFAS and Hepatitis A outbreaks.

“We are a very global society people travel across the world on a daily basis so there is always the potential that there could be a case that comes in to our state,” said Lynn Sutfin, a spokesperson for MDHHS. “The best thing we can do is like what we’ve done, is be prepared. Making sure our local health partners as well as our health care providers know what to look for, know what questions to ask for people who are presenting symptom, and take the appropriate steps and get that information to us so that we can get it tested to CDC,” she said.

Health officials say they are unclear of how long the center will stay open— and it will all depend on the path the coronavirus takes.

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