MDHHS state lab completes first in-state test for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), results come back negative
LANSING – Marking its first in-state test for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) Bureau of Laboratories today received and tested a specimen from an Oakland County resident that yielded negative results.
Based on the patient’s symptoms and no other known source of illness, healthcare professionals suspected COVID-19. A clinical specimen was collected and sent to the MDHHS Bureau of Laboratories where it tested negative. On Feb. 27, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention expanded its testing criteria which led to this patient meeting criteria for being tested.
The MDHHS lab was able to begin testing for the virus as of Feb. 27.
“I am pleased that the process for testing at our state laboratory is working well, and that we were able to get this result within hours,” said Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, chief medical executive and chief deputy director for health at MDHHS. “While the current risk to the general public in the U.S. is low, we expect to see more cases, including cases where we are uncertain of the source of their infection. We encourage everyone to continue to practice good hygiene by washing hands often, covering coughs and sneezes appropriately, and staying home if they are ill."
For privacy reasons, no additional information will be provided about this individual’s health status or location.
There are steps residents can take to prevent spread of flu and the common cold that will also help prevent coronavirus disease, including:
Today, the U.S. also elevated its travel advisory to a level 3 for the areas affected by the virus in Italy and South Korea and will restrict entrance into the country for foreign nationals who have traveled to Iran in the past 14 days. According to the CDC, the risk to the general U.S. public remains low.
COVID-19 Symptoms may appear in as few as two days or as long as fourteen days after exposure to the virus. They include:
This is a rapidly evolving situation. Updates, including information on testing results, will be posted to Michigan.gov/Coronavirus and CDC.gov/Coronavirus.
Gerber Memorial to host early childhood nutrition classes in March.
Free Child Watch available!
FREMONT– Spectrum Health Gerber Memorial is hosting a series of free classes to empower new moms, moms-to-be, dads and caregivers with information to ensure newborns and babies get the right nutrition for health and wellness. Gerber Memorial’s Early Childhood Nutrition classes are:
Both classes will be from 10 a.m. to noon, and at Tamarac, 1401 W. Main Street, Fremont, MI 49412. Because space is limited, participants are encouraged to register at 231-924-3073.
Registered dietitians and community health educators will lead the classes. Participants will learn about nutrition as well as ways to encourage healthy eating habits and address eating challenges. Participants will also enjoy a prepared meal, based on a nutritious recipe, to bring home and share with the family.
“The evidence shows that the first two years can set a child’s eating habits into their teen years and even adulthood, so starting healthy eating habits as early as possible is a great first step for parents and caregivers,” said Emilie Klop, Gerber Memorial registered dietitian who will lead the classes. “Our Early Childhood Nutrition classes are designed to give parents and caregivers the information they need to encourage their child to eat nutritious food and to help moms who are expecting know what they can do to give their child a head start. Our classes are focused on helping get children to eat the right food at the right time.”
During the classes, participants will learn about nutrition during pregnancy, nutrition for nursing moms, important nutrients for babies, breastfeeding and bottle feeding, transitioning to solid food, food safety and other tips and strategies for early childhood nutrition.
The program is now in its third year and has served more than 100 parents and caregivers.
“The first 1,000 days of a child’s life are critical for healthy development and Spectrum Health Gerber Memorial is excited we can offer a program to help give children a strong start in life,” Klop said.
Children are welcome to attend. Free child watch is available at the Treehouse at Tamarac.
Before and after: In summer 2019, Mary Pearson needed the help of a walker to get around. Less than six months later, she lost more than 100 pounds, seen here walking the indoor track at Tamarac in Fremont, with Gerber Memorial health educator and certified weight management consultant Ruth Barkel, in January 2020
Weight management class empowers woman to turn life around at 62
FREMONT, Mich. (Feb. 11, 2020) – Some people make New Year’s resolutions. Mary Pearson makes New Year’s transformation.
“I told my family I’m starting a new lifestyle,” Pearson says. “I’m done buying candy and baking cookies. That’s just the way it is. I have to change my life. This is how it’s going to be. They know why I’m doing it.”
Between April 2019 and January, Pearson shed 112 pounds, an astonishing achievement by any measure. At 62, after a lifetime of unchecked eating, a diet high in carbs and sugar, and a practically sedentary life, Pearson experienced a sudden awakening when she learned that her developmentally challenged daughter needed surgery to fix her cataracts and allow her to see any farther than her outstretched arm.
“When I found out she was almost blind, I realized I’ve got to do something because if something happens to her, who’s going to take care of her? It’s got to be me,” Pearson says.
Her problem: Obesity.
“I couldn’t walk, I had a cane, I had a walker,” Pearson says. “In stores, I would use an electric cart, and I wasn’t doing much walking at home either. I wasn’t doing anything.”
Pearson’s transformation began when she started following her sister to a weight management class at Tamarac, Spectrum Health Gerber Memorial’s health and wellness center, around the time she learned that her daughter would need surgery.
At the class, called WE (for “Weight Empowered”), Mary and her sister Kathy heard Gerber Memorial health educator and certified weight management consultant Ruth Barkel talk to the room of about dozen participants about personal accountability and taking responsibility for their actions.
“She said, ‘It’s your choice, you got to think about what you put in your mouth,’ and that really stuck,” Pearson says.
Pearson’s pantry and kitchen were the first places she turned to as she began making changes.
“I got rid of a lot of food in my house,” she says. “That was it. I made the decision and I quit eating junk food. I quit buying cookies. I stopped eating the way I used to eat.”
She started walking more. She parked further away. Eventually, as she began losing more weight, she gave up her cane. She ditched the electric cart next. And after five years of being trapped by excess weight and her immobility, Pearson says she finally went Black Friday shopping in 2019 and bought, among other things, new clothes.
“I walked all over the stores,” she says, smiling at the memory of roaming through the shops as if she had been unchained and set free.
Today, Pearson makes the 30-minute drive from her home in Walkerville to Tamarac for her WE class every week, joining about a dozen other people just like her, hoping to lose weight so they can live fuller lives.
Barkel emphasizes that her WE classes tap into the notion of personal responsibility as well as personalized care. She encourages the people in her class to find paths of lesser resistance in their journeys to better health and wellness, to simplify and not overcomplicate or overthink.
“Each person responds differently to different situations, and just as we encourage people to be accountable for their actions, we also want people to recognize that each of them has unique strengths and unique capabilities that can help them get to where they want to be,” Barkel says. “In a group setting, that sense of personal responsibility and discovery can also be a source of shared strength.”
For Pearson, the camaraderie of her WE class is what she finds most enjoyable and productive.
“The best part of the WE class is all of us sharing our stories, sharing ideas, motivating each other,” Pearson says. “We have a dozen people or thereabouts all trying to reach the same goal. It helps us see we’re not alone. We don’t have to do this on our own. Other people are in the same boat, and that sense of support is amazing.”
Barkel chimes in: “When Mary says it’s hard to get in enough water for the day, other people offer suggestions about adding lemon. Likewise, people who struggle with exercise are motivated by other people who like exercise, so they share good ideas and inspire each other.”
Weight management programs like the WE class Pearson attends are central to Gerber Memorial’s social mission.
“We’re continually working to improve health outcomes and meet the needs of those in Newaygo County,” says Jena Zeerip, supervisor of community programs at Gerber Memorial. “By meeting community members where they are and offering a wide variety of weight management programs, we are working alongside the community to do our part to address chronic conditions such as obesity and diabetes. These groups focus on education, support, and accountability and they are critical to the success of participants who achieve positive health outcomes as a result of continued participation.”
For Pearson, motivation came in large part from a mother’s need to care for a daughter, and also from a recognition that unless she changed her lifestyle, she would forever feel as if she were being held back.
“I started watching ‘My 600-pound Life,’” Pearson says, referring to the reality show documenting the challenges of severely obese people. “And I kept thinking, if I don’t do something, that’s going to be me.”
Today, Pearson keeps to a 1,500-calorie diet. She exercises rigorous portion control. She does yoga regularly.
“I don’t know why it took me until the age of 62 to lose weight,” she says. “You’re never too old to change. I honest-to-God thought I was going to be heavy, always overweight. And why wouldn’t I? I was at my highest weight for 10-15 years. That’s a long time. When things stay the same for so long, you think nothing’s going to change.”
Pearson says her family has been supportive as she strives to make her next goal: losing another 50 pounds.
Barkel says Pearson is more outgoing, more open, quick to smile and joke with others, as if losing weight also gave her levity.
“When you’re heavy, you don’t want to stick out because you don’t want anyone to pick on you,” Pearson says. “Yoga teaches you to sit up and stand up straight. I’m more confident now. I have a lot more energy, and I can do so much more. Before I lost weight, when I was cooking, I was bent over all the time. I had to sit down. I had a walker, and I had to sit in the chair. My husband had to tie my shoes because I couldn’t reach down. I can tie my own shoes now. I can stand up the whole time I cook now. I can do yoga. I can do a whole lot of things I couldn’t do before.”
Pearson’s next move is to attend classes with the Tamarac membership her son got her for Christmas. She wants to use the hot tub, exercise on the treadmill and lift weights. Her blood pressure has gone down. Her back no longer hurts. Her healthcare providers are shocked at her progress and she says they keep telling her how happy they are with how far she’s come in just a few months.
“If I can do it, when I thought that no way would I ever change, then anyone can do it,” Pearson says. “You don’t have to accept the way you are. You can change. You can change. You don’t have to accept who you are.”
For more information about the Weight Empowered (or WE) class, call 924.3073, or sign up in person at Tamarac, 1401 West Main, Fremont
Learn about other weight management programs at Tamarac at tamaracwellness.org
Everyone is welcome to attend the next monthly CEWAC meeting on Thursday, February 13, 6pm-7:30pm at Brooks Township Hall, 490 Quarterline Street, Newaygo.
CEWAC supports environmental education and action that have local impact in Newaygo County. CEWAC works with other organizations and individuals to promote eco-sustainability, habitat restoration, restorative agriculture, right recycling and climate impact mitigation.
“We are seeking input from community members who have a passion for the environment as CEWAC plans this year’s goals and activities,” states Sally Wagoner, CEWAC Coordinator. “If someone has an idea that fits environmental restoration and resiliency, we will help turn that idea into a plan and support their energy and efforts.”
Upcoming activities in the planning are: a Newaygo Home and Garden Show presence and presentation; 50th Year Anniversary of Earth Day acknowledgement; as resurgence of the Earth Hero Awards for local restaurants; and the 2nd Annual Environmental Forum.
“We have a new CEWAC E-news format that anyone can sign up for. It will inform the community of local environmental events that are of interest to recyclers, farmers and growers, youth and students. We inform of issues that impact our environment, and actions that can be taken by individuals or communities to address them,” added Ms. Wagoner.
CEWAC E-news for 2-6-20 can be accessed by clicking this link: CEWAC Enews 2-6-20.
Sign up for CEWAC E-news by clicking this link: CEWAC Enews Sign Up!
“We hope to see lots of new as well as returning CEWAC-kians! Let’s work together to be good Stewards of our Newaygo County environment!” states Ms. Wagoner.
CEWAC is a taskforce of the non-profit 3R Environmental Education. Visit the Facebook Site of 3R Environmental Education and website: www.3r-education.org. For information contact:
MDHHS activates Community Health Emergency Coordination Center in response to 2019 Novel Coronavirus
LANSING– As cases of 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) continue to increase in the United States and internationally, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) activated the Community Health Emergency Coordination Center (CHECC) today to support local and state response to the outbreak.
“We at MDHHS recognize the potential threat associated with this virus and are working to identify any suspect cases in Michigan along with our local health partners,” said Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, MDHHS chief medical executive and chief deputy for health. “To help coordinate Michigan’s response to 2019 Novel Coronavirus, we are opening the Community Health Emergency Coordination Center to assist the multiple public health jurisdictions involved in the response and prevention of coronavirus here in our state.”
The CHECC will develop and distribute guidelines and educational materials concerning 2019-nCoV to public health agencies and healthcare providers as needed. This includes coordination with local health departments, including Detroit and Wayne County Health Departments especially as Detroit Metropolitan Airport has become a 2019-nCoV screening location.
To date, there are no confirmed cases of 2019 Novel Coronavirus in Michigan. MDHHS has issued statewide messages through the Health Alert Network encouraging healthcare providers across Michigan to assess patients for exposures associated with the risk of 2019-nCoV infection, including travel to China or close contact with a confirmed case, and for symptoms consistent with 2019-nCoV infection. This includes coughing, shortness of breath and fever.
The first U.S. case-patient was identified on Jan. 21, and had recently traveled from Wuhan, China. Since that time, additional cases have been confirmed in the United States among persons who traveled from Wuhan, and two close contacts of confirmed cases. Globally, reported illnesses in people with 2019-nCoV have ranged from mild to severe, including death.
Last week, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar declared the coronavirus a public health emergency in the United States. In response to the evolving threat of the novel coronavirus, and to minimize the risk of the virus spreading, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has begun enforcing restrictions for all passenger flights to the United States carrying individuals who recently traveled from the People’s Republic of China. Any U.S. citizen who has been to China in the last two weeks will be diverted to one of 11 airports, including Detroit Metropolitan Airport, to be checked and potentially quarantined for an additional 14 days.
According to DHS, as of Sunday, Feb. 2, U.S. citizens who have been in Hubei province within 14 days of their return will be subject to up to 14 days of mandatory quarantine to ensure they are provided proper medical care and health screening. U.S. citizens who have been in other areas of mainland China within 14 days of their return will undergo proactive entry health screening and up to 14 days of self-quarantine with health monitoring to ensure they have not contracted the virus and do not pose a public health risk.
Generally, foreign nationals (other than immediate family of U.S. citizens, permanent residents and flight crew) who have traveled in China within 14 days of their arrival, will be denied entry into the United States.
As this is a rapidly changing situation, more information about the 2019 Novel Coronavirus outbreak and current recommendations will be updated at Michigan.gov/Coronavirus and CDC. gov/Coronavirus.