In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Oakland County Executive David Coulter has been conducting townhalls via telephone with residents.
These events have provided opportunities for people to ask questions and get answers live time from the county’s health and emergency preparednesss experts. Here’s a sampling of some of the questions and answers. You can find more at oakgov.com/covid/Pages/faq.aspx.
Q. What is COVID-19?
A. Coronavirus Disease 2019, or COVID-19, is the disease caused by a new respiratory virus named SARS-CoV-2.
The virus is thought to spread mainly from person to person:
-Between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet).
-Through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.
-It may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose or possibly their eyes.
People diagnosed with COVID-19 have reported mild to severe respiratory illness 2 to 14 days after exposure. Symptoms include:
-shortness of breath
There is not a vaccine or specific treatment recommended for COVID-19. People with COVID-19 can seek medical care to help relieve symptoms.
Q. Who are our most vulnerable?
A. Everyone can get COVID-19, no matter what your age. However, individuals who are elderly, over the age of 60 or have underlying health issues are at greater risk for complications. Underlying health issues include diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, chronic respiratory disease, COPD and emphysema. If you are in a high-risk group, you should take extra precautions with social distancing. Grandparents should remain apart from their grandchildren at this time.
Q. How do I reduce my risk of exposure to COVID-19?
A. If you can, stay home. Only conduct essential activities at this time. Wash your hands, clean and disinfect surfaces and practice social distancing. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advises that we stay at least 6 feet apart from other people and only gather in groups of less than 10.
Q. What are the details of Gov. Whitmer’s “Stay Home, Stay Safe” order?
A. Gov. Whitmer issued a Stay at Home order for the entire state through April 13. This is necessary to stabilize our hospital systems and stem the spread of the virus.
–Details for Residents
–Details for Businesses
If you have questions, you may call our help hotline at 248-858-1000.
Q. My husband and I are both over 65 and had the pneumonia vaccine. Will that help us?
A. It’s always an advantage to have the flu or pneumonia vaccine. If you are unsure as to what vaccines you may need, call the Nurse on Call at 1-800-848-5533. There is no downside to getting the vaccine.
Q. What do I do if I discover I have symptoms of the COVID-19 virus? Is it covered by insurance?
A. Call first before going to the doctor or the hospital emergency room to make sure they are equipped to handle your situation. You will be covered. The insurance companies are working together, waiving the co-pays.
Q. I have the flu, with a temperature of 101.9. Should I be tested?
A. Contact your doctor and relay your symptoms. The doctor may want to run several tests on you. It is vital you call your doctor.
Q. How safe is it for me to handle the mail and is it safer for me to have groceries delivered to my home rather than shop when there are fewer people and get them myself?
A. We encourage people to limit their exposure to other people. If you can shop when a store is not busy, there is nothing wrong with that. Remember to wash your hands or use hand sanitizer as you may be touching a shopping cart or other items that could lead to an infection. The stores are working hard to keep their areas clean. Wash your hands with soap and warm water for 20 seconds; don’t your touch face. These are sound tools to ensure you do not become infected with the virus.
Q. My daughter will be visiting from Texas, flying in to take care of a sick relative and staying at my home. How can I keep safe?
A. Our preference would be that she stay somewhere else. If she is staying with you, practice social distancing by staying at least six feet away when you can. Be aware of the commonly touched surfaces and clean them often as well as washing your hands. Use separate bathrooms if you can.
Q. Should I cancel Meals on Wheels?
A. Meals on Wheels has a long history of providing healthy, nutritious and safe meals. It’s vitally important to maintain a healthy diet.
Q. Will the Water Resources Commissioner shut off my water?
A. No. There will be no water shutoffs during this public health emergency and DTE will not shut off your power.
More phone town halls will be scheduled. In the meantime, the county offers two lines to answer questions from the public:
Nurse on Call: 1-800-848-5533. Extended hours are M-F 8 a.m.-8 p.m. and Sat-Sun 9 a.m.-4 p.m.
Non-Health Calls: The Oakland County Hotline is 248-858-1000. This is staffed during the day and callers can leave a message and someone will get back with them within 24 hours, depending on call volume.
Text oakgov to 28748: Receive text updates from the county with the latest COVID-19 information. So far, 18,000 residents have signed up to get these messages.