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Whitmer tells people with virus symptoms to stay home

LANSING (AP) — Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said Friday that people with principal symptoms of the disease caused by the new coronavirus — a fever, atypical cough or unusual shortness of breath — should stay home for a minimum of three days after the symptoms resolve.

Her order came hours before the state hit hard by COVID-19 reported nearly 2,000 new infections, the largest single-day increase, and 62 additional deaths. Michigan had more than 12,700 confirmed cases and 479 deaths as of Friday.

The order applies to all residents who test positive or have at least one of the three main symptoms. They can leave for medical care and — if delivery is not an option — food, medicine and other life-sustaining supplies as long as they wear a homemade mask or other face covering. Outdoor exercise also is allowed.

People should stay home until three days after their symptoms go away and until seven days since they first appeared.

Others who have had close contact with infected individuals or those displaying symptoms should remain home for 14 days since the last contact or the symptomatic person tests negative.

The order prohibits employers from firing or retaliating against employees if they or one of their close contacts have the disease or symptoms. They are required to instead treat them as if they are taking medical leave.

DETROIT CASES:

Most of Michigan’s confirmed COVID-19 cases are in the Detroit area, with 80% in Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties. The city had more than 3,500 cases and 116 deaths.

Detroit is about 80% black, and African Americans make up 35% of cases statewide and 40% of deaths. The race in 34% of cases and 28% of deaths is listed as unknown.

OVENS:

Commercial ovens can be used to resterilize N95 masks worn to protect against the virus, according to researchers. The method could help guard against shortages of the masks which are sought by health care workers and first responders, the Lansing State Journal reported.

A team from Michigan State University met last week with officials at Sparrow Hospital in Lansing to find out if the school could sanitize or decontaminate protective equipment.

They developed a process that uses forced, heated air in commercial ovens to decontaminate the respirator masks, MSU Extension Director Jeff Dwyer said.

The process is expected to soon be used to sterilize masks for doctors and nurses.

N95 respirator reuse is often referred to as ìlimited reuse,î according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Limited reuse has been recommended and widely used as an option for conserving respirators during previous respiratory pathogen outbreaks and pandemics, the CDC said.

For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. Older adults and people with existing health problems are among those particularly susceptible to more severe illness, including pneumonia.

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