Michigan places hundreds on self-quarantine in response to coronavirus concerns

BERRIEN COUNTY, Mich. (WNDU) - Americans are currently at low risk for catching the coronavirus, and that's giving health officials in this country a chance to contain the it.

If more positive cases appear in the U.S., containing the spread could become impossible.

16 News Now learned what the state of Michigan is doing keep the virus from spreading.

There are no positive cases of the novel coronavirus disease in Michigan, but that doesn't mean the state and local health departments aren't keeping a watchful eye on people who could be carrying the virus.

Federal health experts are calling for communities to brace themselves for a potential coronavirus pandemic in the United States, with the number of confirmed cases at 14.

While there have been no confirmed cases in the state of Michigan, state health officials asked more than 340 people to self-quarantine themselves at home for at least two weeks.

"Folks who are considered to be medium to low risk of having the coronavirus. Perhaps they have traveled to mainland China in the last 14 days, perhaps they were on a cruise ship where there has been a positive case. These individuals have been through one of our airport funneling stations. They've already been checked out to make sure they aren't showing any signs or symptoms and they've been sent on their way home," Michigan Department of Health and Human Services public information officer Lynn Sutfin said.

These people do not have coronavirus, but they have been near it. Local health departments like the one in Berrien County are following up with people who are self-quarantined to see if any symptoms develop. ​

"We do ask those healthy adults, those healthy individuals, to stay by themselves, whether that's at home or elswhere, and don't go out in public. Don't go to work, don't go to school, don't go out socializing, to see if they do develop symptoms," Berrien County Health Department communications director Gillian Conrad said.

To be tested for coronavirus by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, people not only have to be showing symptoms of fever or lower respiratory illness but also have a recent travel history to the Hubei province, where the outbreak began; other places in mainland China; or if they've come in contact with a person who has a confirmed case.

Local health departments now have to wait and see if anyone under self-quarantine develops symptoms so they can be tested for the virus.