By Mike Kruzman /

Members of the Livingston County Health Department participated in WHMI’s Covid-19 Radio Town Hall this morning to provide updates and answer residents’ concerns about coronavirus.

Health Department Director Dianne McCormick was joined by Medical Director Dr. Don Lawrenchuk, Nursing Team Leader Elaine Brown, and others as guests for the 2-hour forum hosted by Mike & Jon in the Morning. With two more confirmed cases Tuesday night, Livingston County now has 16 residents with coronavirus. Dr. Lawrenchuk confirmed that the main symptoms are a sudden onset of fever, which is then followed by a dry cough and shortness of breath. For those feeling symptoms, due to the shortness of testing kits, Director McCormick said there is new national guidance from the Department of Health and Human Services, outlining priorities for testing into 3 categories. Category 1 being hospitalized patients with symptoms and health care workers with symptoms. Category 2 is long-term care residents with symptoms, those over 65 with symptoms, people with underlying medical conditions with symptoms, and first responders with symptoms. Category 3 is, as resources and available test kits allow, to test in communities where Covid is rapidly spreading.

Dr. Lawrenchuk echoed the Governor’s message in her executive order address to young people needing to be concerned. Lawrenchuk says that even though they may not be as symptomatic, they can still spread the disease to older folks. This is a new virus and nobody is immune. As directions from Governor Whitmer about staying home, but it still being okay to go outside and exercise or take the dog for a walk, the Health Department says this okay, but be very aware of social distancing, wash your hands, and avoid touching surfaces or your face when possible.

The Health Department also took calls from concerned residents, like Kevin, who was wondering if you could get the virus from a gas pump. While the virus is primarily spread through respiratory droplets from a cough or sneeze, it can survive on surfaces for hours, if not days. The harder the surface, the longer it can live.

Caller Joe wanted to know, with many restaurants open for pick up or carry out only, what is being done to test the workers. Director McCormick said that from food workers to health care personnel, unless they are exhibiting symptoms, everybody is being monitored, but no one is being tested.

Lawrenchuck says washing your hands can stop 90% of communicable diseases, and that it’s not a bad idea to treat all surfaces as if they are infected with something, not just coronavirus.