TRAVERSE CITY — Grand Traverse County Health Department officials said they monitored an area resident at medium-risk for developing the coronavirus, but the incubation period passed with no symptoms of the illness.

“We monitored this person daily, determined they were observing proper precautions and they fell off the 14-day period on Feb. 17,” said Michael Lahey, emergency preparedness coordinator.

The unnamed resident recently traveled to China, Lahey said, and returned to the U.S. through Detroit Metro airport. The airport is one of 11 nationwide selected by the Federal Aviation Administration to receive diverted flights.

A Centers for Disease Control medical screening team there interviews passengers arriving from China, conducts health tests and notifies local health jurisdictions of potential risk.

“Medium risk” denotes anyone who has been in close proximity with a person who later developed a laboratory-confirmed case of the illness, according the CDC’s website.

“It would seem that the state and the CDC’s notification process is working as intended and we were able to access that process,” Lahey said.

“High risk” denotes someone living in the same household, being an intimate partner or providing care in a non-health care setting to someone with the illness. “Low risk” is being in a classroom, hospital waiting room or other indoor environment.

Coronavirus, now referred to as COVID-19 by the World Health Organization, is a respiratory illness first detected in Wuhan, Hubei Provence, China. It has since spread to 27 additional countries, including the U.S.

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses common in humans and animals, including camels, cattle, cats, and bats, the CDC has found. Animal-to-person infection is possible with such viruses as SARS, MERS, and the CDC says, likely now with COVID-19.

Symptoms include fever, cough, shortness of breath and exhaustion. In between 1 and 2 percent of cases, the disease can be fatal.

Information provided to the Record-Eagle details that if the returning traveler had developed symptoms of the disease, there would have been a coordinated response between the health department, 911, and a pre-determined healthcare provider.

Lahey urged people to pay particular attention to hand-washing to prevent the spread of colds and flu, which will also protect against coronavirus.

In Michigan, the risk of influenza far outweighs the risk of coronavirus, he said.

The state’s weekly influenza surveillance report showed 482 patient visits the week of Feb. 8 were because of flu-like symptoms.

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