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Berrien, Allegan counties report first coronavirus cases

MLive - GrandRapids/Muskegon/Kalamazoo logo MLive - GrandRapids/Muskegon/Kalamazoo 3/21/2020 By Ryan Boldrey, mlive.com

BERRIEN COUNTY — Two adult women under the age of 60 have tested positive for the coronavirus in Berrien County, the county’s health department reported Saturday.

An 85-year-old has also tested positive in Allegan County.

The three cases mark the first respective cases in both counties, according to news releases sent out by the two counties’ health departments.

Both women in women Berrien County are reported to have had close personal contact with singer Sandi Patty when the popular Christian vocalist performed March 8 at Andrews University in Berrien Springs, according to the release. Patty announced March 17 that she had tested positive for COVID-19.

RELATED: Sandi Patty concert in Michigan was possible coronavirus exposure location

The two women have been self-isolating at home for several days and are in good condition, the Berrien County Health Department reports. The health department and Andrews University are communicating directly with those who have been in close contact with the individuals who have tested positive.

The Berrien County Health Department is advising anyone who attended the March 8 concert and had close personal contact with the singer to self-quarantine through March 22 and monitor themselves for symptoms of COVID-19, including fever, cough, and/or shortness of breath.

Any individuals who experienced or are still experiencing symptoms are asked to call the Berrien County Health Department hotline at 1-800-815-5485.

The Allegan County Health Department, meanwhile, received information from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services today of its first case.

The 85-year-old who tested positive is currently hospitalized, according to a news release from the Allegan County Health Department.

All close contacts of the COVID-19 positive individuals in both counties are being asked to self-quarantine and will be assessed for symptoms and monitored appropriately.

RELATED: Saturday, March 21: Latest developments on coronavirus in Michigan

“Our team has been preparing for weeks to ensure that we have the structures in place to limit the spread of COVID-19 in Berrien County, including a partial activation of the County Emergency Operations Center," Berrien County Health Department Officer Nicki Britten stated in the release. “We are not yet seeing widespread community transmission of COVID-19 in Berrien County, although we anticipate this to change.

“Everyone has a role to play in helping us prevent the spread of COVID-19, as well as other viruses that can cause respiratory illness. It is very important that our residents remain committed to individual prevention efforts, staying updated on the situation with information from credible sources, and prepare for an ongoing response to this virus in the community.”

The number of coronavirus cases in Michigan jumped to 787 on Saturday, according to data released by the state Health and Human Services Department. To date, five people in Michigan have died from the disease.

The number of confirmed cases, all listed as presumptive positive until final CDC confirmation, were up by 238 from Friday.

“This is sobering news and these are sobering times,” Dr. Loren B. Hamel, president of Spectrum Health Lakeland stated in the release. “The first cases of COVID-19 in Berrien County don’t come as a surprise.

"The most important thing you can do is be diligent about keeping social distance, wash your hands, don’t touch your face, and call ahead before you come to the hospital or doctor’s office if you are sick.”

COVID-19 symptoms may appear in as few as two days or as long as 14 days after exposure to the virus. Symptoms include fever, cough and shortness of breath.

There is currently no vaccine or specific treatment for COVID-19.

Keep up with COVID-19 news in Berrien County at www.bchdmi.org and www.spectrumhealthlakeland.org.

Read all of MLive’s coverage on the coronavirus at mlive.com/coronavirus. Additional information is available at Michigan.gov/Coronavirus and CDC.gov/Coronavirus.

PREVENTION TIPS

Michigan’s State Emergency Operations Center is coordinating state-government resources and the response to the coronavirus spread. It has shared the following tips:

What you can do to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and other respiratory diseases:

1/4 u00b7 Always cover coughs or sneezes with a tissue or sleeve.

1/4 u00b7 Stay home if you are sick and advise others to do the same.

1/4 u00b7 Avoid close contact with people who are sick.

1/4 u00b7 Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.

1/4 u00b7 Wash your hands often with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds.

1/4 u00b7 Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol, if soap and warm water are not available.

1/4 u00b7 Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces(computers, keyboards, desks, etc.).

1/4 u00b7 It’s not too late to get your flu shot! While the influenza vaccine does not protect against COVID-19 infection, it can help keep you healthy during the flu season.

Also on MLive:

Sandi Patty concert in Michigan was possible coronavirus exposure location

Michigan coronavirus cases climb to near 800, with 5 deaths

Saturday, March 21: Latest developments on coronavirus in Michigan

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©2020 MLive.com, Walker, Mich.

Visit MLive.com, Walker, Mich. at www.mlive.com.

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