Michigan now able to test for the coronavirus

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LANSING, MI. (WILX) - Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer said the state is prepared to respond to a coronavirus outbreak.

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services is now able to test for the coronavirus at its state lab.

Friday, she activated the state's emergency operations center.

The state can test for the coronavirus at its lab in Lansing.

"My number one priority is ensuring the people of Michigan are healthy and safe," said Governor Whitmer. "We now as of 10 a.m. yesterday, have the resources we need to test for coronavirus and have the results back within four hours."

Until now, lab work was sent out of state to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The governor said it took four days to get the results.

"This means we will know more quickly if a person under investigation has the disease," Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, chief medical executive for Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.

More than 81,000 people worldwide are diagnosed with the coronavirus, mostly people in china.

At least 60 Americans have the disease.

"There are currently no persons under investigation in the state of Michigan. The five people that have previously tested for the disease all tested negative," said Dr. Khaldun.

However, Governor Whitmer said she expects that to change.

"Based on what we have seen in other countries, We should expect to see more cases of the coronavirus in the United States," said Governor Whitmer.

In the meantime, she is encouraging Michiganders practice good hygiene.

"The main goal of these efforts is to help slow the spread of the virus," said Governor Whitmer.

In addition to washing your hands and covering your cough, Governor Whitmer is encouraging people to avoid handshakes. Instead, she said to use elbow or fist bumps.

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