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Two COVID-19 cases confirmed in Michigan, Whitmer declares state of emergency

March 10, 2020
<p>Gov. Gretchen Whitmer addresses the MSU College Democrats on Sept. 18, 2018, at Wells Hall. State News file photo.</p>

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer addresses the MSU College Democrats on Sept. 18, 2018, at Wells Hall. State News file photo.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced a state of emergency Tuesday night following two confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Michigan. COVID-19 is a disease caused by a member of the coronavirus family.

The two individuals who have COVID-19 are in the metro Detroit area. One is a female adult from Oakland County, who traveled internationally recently, and one is a male adult from Wayne County, who traveled domestically recently. Both are currently hospitalized.

In her 11 p.m. press conference, Whitmer stressed the importance of proper hand washing and not touching your face. However, she said this is will only slow the spread of COVID-19.

MDHHS Chief Medical Executive Joneigh Khaldun said that both cases were performed at the state laboratory in Lansing.

"It is very likely that we will see more cases, and there will be community spread. We need everyone to do their part to prevent the spread of the disease as much as possible," Khaludn said.

Whitmer said the state's four task forces on the issue have been working to combat the spread of coronavirus.

"The task forces are focused on education, health and human services, our economy and workforce, and state operations," Whitmer said. "They are already meeting to discuss further preventative measures that we can take."

Whitmer said the Department of Health and Human Services has set up a website to answer questions and provide information at

Michigan State is currently preparing a potential transition to online classes if needed.

In an email to the MSU community Tuesday, President Samuel L. Stanley Jr. said a cross-university task force is considering any needed changes to prevent the spread of the virus.

“MSU has been preparing for pivoting the campus to online learning should that decision be required,” Stanley said.

Stanley also announced new university travel restrictions. All university-sponsored international travel is suspended, effective immediately. All non-essential domestic travel is suspended until April 20, with waivers being reviewed on a case-by-case basis by college and administrative units.

"We want you to know that we are taking this seriously. The health, safety and well-being of all our Spartan family is our top priority," Stanley said in the email. "I realize these restrictions may be disruptive for some. But the safety of our campus community is our top priority. Your cooperation helps to ensure an appropriate response across our institution to this rapidly changing situation."

This is a developing story. Stay with The State News for more coverage of the coronavirus and its impact on the MSU and East Lansing community.

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