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First positive case of COVID-19 identified in Van Buren County

HARTFORD — COVID-19 has officially reached Van Buren County.

Tuesday, the Van Buren/Cass District Health Department was notified by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services of one positive case of coronavirus in Van Buren County, which includes Keeler Township. The individual is a female in her 60s, who is in stable condition and has been self-isolating at home. There are still zero cases of COVID-19 reported in Cass County.

VBCDHD is continuing to investigate the circumstances around this case and working to identify individuals who may have come into close contact with the individual.

“This is the first confirmed case in Van Buren County but judging from other areas of the state, we anticipate more positives,” said Larry Wile, medical director at VBCDHD. “We urge all residents to please take all precautions to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19.”

As of Wednesday morning, the state of Michigan had 1,791 total confirmed cases of the virus, and the death toll has reached 24. COVID-19 symptoms can appear in as few as two days or as long as 14 days after exposure to the virus.

VBCDHD is asking anyone with symptoms of COVID-19 — fever, cough, shortness of breath — to self-isolate to avoid potentially exposing others and reminding the community that it is vital everyone understands the hospital is intended for those who are very sick.

People who suspect they may have symptoms of COVID-19 should stay home and call their primary care provider, one of the COVID-19 numbers provided by each local health system or do a virtual visit with their health system. VBCDHD has local COVID-19 Healthcare Advisor phone numbers listed on their website.

“It is important to stay home, outside of seeking urgent medical care, to avoid infecting people,” Wile said. “If severe, life-threatening symptoms appear, individuals should go to the emergency room.”

According to VBCDHD, to prevent the spread of COVID-19, people should:

  • Wash their hands often with soap and warm water for 20 seconds, and help young children do the same. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Stay home when sick (except to get medical care).
  • Avoid close contact with sick people.
  • Clean and disinfect commonly touched surfaces, such as toys and doorknobs.
  • Keep six feet distance between themselves and others.
  • Follow the current “Stay Home, Stay Safe” Executive Order 2020-21 and suggested guidelines for social distancing.

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