Gov. Whitmer: Michigan must work together to stop coronavirus spread, no shelter in place

Friday afternoon, state officials confirmed 225 more tests have come back positive in the last 24 hours for the coronavirus Covid-19, bringing Michigan’s total to more than 500. Gov. Gretchen Whitmer called on Michigan residents to come together to fight the spread of the virus.

On Thursday, the numbers swelled into the triple digits, bringing a new stage in the virus's outbreak. The unofficial epicenter right now is in Detroit and nearby Oakland County. In Detroit alone 149 cases have been confirmed, and 184 in Oakland County. So far three people have died - two in Detroit and the third in Oakland County.  

Governor Gretchen Whitmer spoke Friday afternoon around 4:30 from Lansing. We stream it live on this page and on our Facebook page. FOX 2 App users, tap here to watch.

The large jump in numbers in the past couple of days can be attributed to a wider number of tests becoming available, though health systems in the area are still working diligently to preserve their availability.

On Thursday, Gov. Whitmer called for the National Guard to assist with the distribution of resources but not to enforce the law.

"I am not calling for martial law," Whitmer said. "That is a rumor and that is false."

Whitmer said Michigan must prepare for long term economic challenges. 

"It won't be easy. It will take time. We've been through hard times before and we've come back," Whitmer said. "This will be a challenge but we can come back when we work together."

Whitmer did not order a shelter-in-place order like Illinois and California have done but said it could happen if people are not adhering to CDC recommendations.

"If and when we are in a position that we think it is an important next move, I will communicate that personally to the public. We're not there," Whitmer said.

She said it was irresponsible to broadcast or imply anything of that nature.

"There was a lot of talk yesterday on social media -- people that were stirring things up, I think, creating anxiety and fear and anger based on nothing that was actually concrete or something that’s been talked about in the moment. I recognize that not having plans to do something right now doesn’t mean at some point we won’t have to take more aggressive action," Whitmer said.

Following the first reported death, a medical chief with Beaumont put out a plea that younger people showing mild symptoms who have no underlying medical conditions should self-quarantine and try to toughen out whatever the sickness may be at home.

This is in efforts to preserve “precious resources” at the hospitals, as Beaumont’s Infectious Disease Specialist Nicholas Gilpen put it, for those who have a high-risk for Covid-19 complications. Those resources include tests, hospital beds and hospital staff.

"Those are the things that are more precious to us than gold right now," he said.

The CDC says people most vulnerable to serious complications from the virus are older adults, and those with underlying medical conditions such as asthma, diabetes, heart disease or lung disease.

All non-essential hospital surgeries have also been canceled or postponed to help preserve resources.

RELATED: Track Michigan coronavirus cases by county with this interactive map

App users can click on the map here

Since the first cases of Covid-19 were confirmed in Michigan on March 10, Gov. Whitmer has declared a state emergency, closed all schools, prohibited gatherings of more than 50 people, restricted visits to hospitals and other facilities, closed public spaces such as theaters, bars, gyms and casinos, and limited restaurants to carry-out and delivery orders.  

That was all in efforts to social distance and slow the spread of the virus. You can learn more about social distancing and flattening the curve in the video player below. 

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

Symptoms for coronavirus COVID-19 include fever, coughing, and shortness of breath. 

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

Are you showing symptoms? Try Beaumont's virtual screening tool

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.


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