Coulter: County Health Division Issues Emergency Orders to Protect Residents and Control COVID-19

The Oakland County Health Division today (March 21) issued emergency orders to close all shopping malls, playground equipment and require all child care centers to develop and implement a daily screening protocol for children, staff, parents and visitors to reduce the transmission of the coronavirus.

Oakland County Executive David Coulter said additional steps are under consideration. He urged residents to shift to essential activities to protect our community and our hospital systems.  He also discussed the shortage of critical supplies at our hospitals and encouraged medical offices who are cancelling non-urgent dental and other procedures to donate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) they have in their inventories.

“The steps we take today — as individuals, businesses and government — will save lives,” Coulter said. “We have to protect our hospital systems so they stay equipped to help the very sickest. We can get through this together, but we have to act together.”

The order closing Oakland County shopping malls took effect at noon March 21. Shopping malls are defined as a large indoor retail complex containing a variety of stores and often restaurants and other business establishments housed in a series of connected or adjacent buildings or in a single large building.

The ban on indoor and outdoor playground equipment takes place immediately. Playground equipment in child care centers and areas without playground equipment such as walking trails and grassy areas are exempt from the order.

The child care order, which takes effect Monday, March 21, requires the development and implementation of a daily screening program for all staff, children, parents and visitors. Non-essential visitors are restricted from the premises. Everyone would be screened for symptoms of a respiratory infection such as fever, cough, shortness of breath or sore throat; and for close contact in the last 14 days with someone with a confirmed diagnosis of COVID-19. Procedures must be in place to take the temperature of all covered individuals.

The orders are effective until April 17. The Michigan Public Health Code gives the Health Division and Health Officer Leigh-Anne Stafford the authority to issue emergency orders.

“A communicable disease coronavirus which causes COVID-19 has been identified that can be transmitted from person to person,” the order states. “In order to control and limit the spread of the communicable disease, it is necessary to prevent people from coming into contact with uninfected people.”

Residents with questions about the disease should call the Heath Division’s Nurse on Call phone line at 1-800-848-5533. Residents with non-health concerns should call 248-858-1000.

The county is also sending text messages with updates on the coronavirus to residents who sign up. Those interested should text oakgov to 28748.