The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services confirmed on Feb. 23 that it is currently monitoring 325 people, ClickonDetroit reported.
All the people under observation have been to mainland China within the past two weeks or were passengers on a cruise ship where cases of the virus appeared, said state health officials. Those officials didn’t elaborate on which cruise ship it was.
So far, none of the patients have been quarantined. But Lynn Sutfin, a spokeswoman with the state health agency, told Fox17 that the people have all been asked to self-quarantine at home.
The patients aren’t of a high enough risk to be quarantined at a facility, she said.
Five people in Michigan have been tested under the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) standards for the virus so far, but the tests have all came back negative. No cases of coronavirus have been confirmed in Michigan, but one case was confirmed in nearby Wisconsin and two in nearby Illinois.
All of the patients in Michigan are being monitored for high fever, cough, or other respiratory issues, which are hallmarks of COVID-19.
Thirty-five cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in the United States, with many of those having been on quarantined cruise ship Diamond Princess, which was held in isolation near Yokohama, Japan, for two weeks.
“We are keeping track of cases resulting from repatriation efforts separately because we don’t believe those numbers accurately represent the picture of what is happening in the community in the United States at this time,” Dr. Nancy Messonnier, the head of the CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, told reporters on Feb. 21.
Eighteen of the recent cases were passengers on the Diamond Princess cruise ship and three were previously repatriated from China.
Messonnier, at the same time, said U.S. health officials are preparing for the likelihood that COVID-19 could become a pandemic.
“We’re not seeing community spread here in the United States yet, but it’s very possible, even likely, that it may eventually happen,” she said. “Our goal continues to be slowing the introduction of the virus into the U.S. This buys us more time to prepare communities for more cases and possibly sustained spread.”
In swaths of China, where the virus is believed to have originated, numerous schools and businesses have been closed down for weeks to contain the outbreak. The United States might be forced to do the same, Messonnier said.
“The day may come where we may need to implement such measures in this country,” she said.