Coulter Taps Former Rep. Sander Levin to Assist Oakland County’s Ongoing Coronavirus Readiness

Levin to serve as internal adviser to county staff and work with community partners

Oakland County has formed an internal team to prepare for the Coronavirus, which Rep. Sander Levin is serving on in an advisory role.

County Executive David Coulter has asked former Congressman Sander Levin to assist Oakland County’s internal and external coronavirus readiness efforts.

“I want to supplement our strong internal efforts with an independent adviser who can assist our staff and collaborate with community partners,” Coulter said. “Sandy Levin is uniquely qualified with his expertise on health care issues from his work on the Ways and Means committee, international relations and his deep roots in Oakland County.”

Rep. Levin was going to meet with the internal staff team. That was to be followed by initial outreach to other levels of government and private sector partners.

The internal team includes:

  • Kathleen Forzley, Oakland County Health & Human Services Director
  • Leigh-Anne Stafford, Health Officer
  • Thomas Hardesty, Homeland Security Manager
  • David VanderVeen, Central Services Director, who oversees Oakland County International Airport
  • Mark Newman, Director, Public Services
  • Bill Mullan, Media & Communications Officer
  • Mike McCready, Senior Business Advisor in Economic Development & Community Affairs
  • Bret Rasegan, Manager, Planning & Economic Development
  • Chris Ward, Chief of Staff, Board of Commissioners
  • April Lynch, Deputy County Executive
  • Capt. Larry Perry, Sheriff’s Office Emergency Response and Preparedness
  • Megan Noland, Sheriff’s Office Director of Government Affairs

“I want to reassure our residents and our businesses that we are taking all precautionary steps at the local level as we learn more about the virus, the outbreak and the risks of transmission,” Coulter said.

“In these health matters it is wise to exercise an abundance of caution and have in place the organization to be fully prepared if and as necessary,” Levin said.

Public Health Update

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Oakland County Health Division is already working closely with health care providers, Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS), and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to actively monitor the coronavirus outbreak.  There are currently no confirmed cases of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) in Oakland County.

The Health Division is involved in the following activities for COVID-19 prevention, education and surveillance:

  • Developing educational materials and information for prevention efforts, including ongoing updates to the Health Division website at www.oakgov.com/health.
  • Providing information to community partners including schools, hospitals, clinicians and businesses about what they can do to prevent the spread of illness and prepare for potential cases of COVID-19.
  • Working collaboratively with MDHHS and other local health departments to ensure an ongoing exchange of information.
  • Daily monitoring of travelers who meet CDC risk criteria and enhanced communicable disease surveillance protocols.
  • Answering questions from the public via the county’s Nurse on Call line at 1-800-848-5533, Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m.–5 p.m. or noc@oakgov.com.

For more information about COVID-19, visit www.oakgov.com/health or call Nurse on Call at 800-848-5533, Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m.–5 p.m. For up-to-date public health information, follow @publichealthOC on Facebook and Twitter.

In addition, the Department of Homeland Security is coordinating with all departments to take an inventory of all necessary supplies and equipment.

The Oakland County International Airport, Michigan’s second-busiest airport, located in Waterford, is also working closely with U.S. Customs and Border Protection, which is screening all international travelers that land at the airport. In 2019, 760 international flights with 2,080 passengers landed at OCIA.

Prevention

Oakland County Health Division recommends the following prevention tips:

  • Washing your hands often with soap and water for 20 seconds, and help young children do the same. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Covering your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze, throwing the tissue in the trash and then washing your hands.
  • Avoiding touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Avoiding close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoiding sharing cups, drinking bottles, utensils and eating food from the same dish.
  • Cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched objects and surfaces.
  • Practicing good health habits. Get plenty of sleep, be physically active, manage your stress, drink plenty of fluids and eat nutritious food.
  • Staying home when sick except to get medical care.
  • Being prepared with the following supplies:
    • Maintain a two-week supply of water and food at home, and routinely check your regular prescription drugs to ensure that you won’t run out.
    • Keep non-prescription drugs and other health supplies on hand.
    • Get copies of and maintain electronic versions of health records.
    • Talk with family members about how they would be cared for if they got sick and what would be needed to care for them in your home.

Patients with COVID-19 have reportedly had mild to severe respiratory illness. Symptoms can include fever, cough and shortness of breath. According to CDC, symptoms may appear in as few as two days or as long as 14 days after exposure. If anyone believes they have symptoms and have recently traveled to China, South Korea, Iran, Italy, Japan, Hong Kong or other destinations with risk of community spread, or have been in contact with someone who has had the virus, they should promptly call their healthcare provider or hospital prior to arriving so that the appropriate preventive measures can be put in place. There is currently no vaccine to prevent COVID-19 infection.