Gov. Whitmer, Mayor Duggan quell fears, offer recommendations to Coronavirus/COVID-19

On Wednesday, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan sought to quell fears amid a coronavirus outbreak in the state.

During press conferences held back-to-back, both the governor and mayor offered health recommendations to avoid contracting the disease, while preparing for an uncertain future as more outbreaks are likely.

"If you have a fever, stay home. It's the single most responsible thing you can do. We have a responsibility to our neighbors," said Duggan.

"Our schools and childcare facilities should limit large gatherings like assemblies. We must do everything we can to protect our students and our families," Whitmer said.

Whitmer, flanked by Chief Medical Executive Dr. Joneigh Khaldun and Labor and Economic Department Director Jeff Donofrio, asked people to avoid gatherings of 100 people, to prevent further spread of the virus.

"Our schools and childcare facilities should limit large gatherings like assemblies. We must do everything we can to protect our students and our families," Whitmer said.

Khladun asked schools and nursing homes should limit visitors who may be unknowingly carrying the virus. 

"We recognize we're going to have to make some tough decisions here," said Whitmer, before stating the health department will be rolling out additional recommendations as the outbreak evolves.

Shortly before Duggan spoke, the St. Patrick's Day parade scheduled on Sunday in Detroit was canceled to avoid potentially infected individuals from spreading the virus.

Calling it a "recipe for spreading of the problem," Duggan thanked organizers of the parade for making the decision. 

Both press conferences come on the heels of a late-night announcement from the governor on Tuesday confirming the widespread outbreak of coronavirus had been found in Oakland and Wayne Counties. 

After declaring a state of emergency, Khaldun said it was highly likely more positive cases were on the way and that residents should take preemptive measures to avoid the disease. Duggan followed up saying while the case in Wayne County didn't originate in Detroit, it was only a matter of time before cases started appearing.

RELATED: What's known (and not known) about the 2 coronavirus cases in Michigan

There is scant information available regarding the two cases. One patient has a history of international travel, while the other a history of domestic travel. Both are described as "middle-aged."

While the state could not confirm their location due to HIPPA and privacy laws, the University of Michigan Health System did confirm it was treating one of the patients.

After the news broke, several state universities announced plans to extend their school's spring breaks and cancel classes until later March or April.

Several public school districts have also been ramping up preventative measures as well to contain the outbreak, like expanding cleaning and disinfection work on frequently-touched surfaces like door knobs, handles and light switches. However, at this time no schools plan on canceling class.

Symptoms for coronavirus COVID-19 include fever, coughing and shortness of breath. These, of course, are similar to the common cold and flu. 

RELATED: Is it the flu, a cold or COVID-19? Different viruses present similar symptoms

Expect a common cold to start out with a sore or scratchy throat, cough, runny and/or stuffy nose. Flu symptoms are more intense and usually come on suddenly, and can include a high fever. 

Symptoms of COVID-19 may appear more slowly. They usually include fever, a dry cough and noticeable shortness of breath, according to the World Health Organization. A minority of cases develop pneumonia, and the disease is especially worrisome for the elderly and those with other medical problems such as high blood pressure, obesity, diabetes or heart conditions.

Right now there's one big difference between flu and coronavirus: A vaccine exists to help prevent the flu and it's not too late to get it. It won't protect you from catching the coronavirus but may put you in a better position to fight it.

To protect yourself, wash your hands well and often, keep them away from your face, and avoid crowds and standing close to people.

And if you do find yourself showing any of these flu or coronavirus symptoms - don't go straight to your doctor's office. That just risks making more people sick, officials urge. Call ahead and ask if you need to be seen and where.