Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) - What you need to know

OCDPH white logo

Our Vision - Healthy People

Bookmark and Share

February 28, 2020  |  COVID-19

Media Contact: Kristina Wieghmink, Public Information Officer, (616) 510-8523
General COVID-19 Inquiries: Communicable Disease Surveillance, (616) 396-5266


Coronavirus Disease 2019

There is an expanding global outbreak of respiratory illness caused by a novel (new) coronavirus. The disease it causes is called Coronavirus Disease 2019 or COVID-19. It was first identified during an investigation into an outbreak in Wuhan, China. While most COVID-19 cases outside of China have been associated with travel to or from China, community spread is being detected in a growing number of countries. For the general American public, the immediate health risk from COVID-19 is low. Currently, there are no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Ottawa County or in Michigan.

What is the Ottawa County Department of Public Health doing about it?

  • Monitoring the COVID-19 situation daily.
  • Continually communicating with the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) and healthcare providers. 
  • Reviewing preparedness and response plans. 

How can I help protect myself?

  • There is currently no vaccine to prevent COVID-19. The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus. However, as a reminder, everyday preventive actions help to prevent the spread of respiratory diseases such as influenza (flu) and COVID-19. These include
    • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
    • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
    • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.

  • If you are sick, to keep from spreading respiratory illness to others, you should
    • Stay home when you are sick.
    • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
    • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

  • Should I wear a facemask?
    • If you are well, the CDC does not recommend a facemask to protect against respiratory diseases, including COVID-19.
    • You should only wear a mask if a healthcare professional recommends it.


Know the Facts & Help Stop the Spread of Rumors

Given that COVID-19 is a new disease, it is understandable that its emergence and spread cause confusion, anxiety and fear among the general public. These factors can give rise to false information and harmful stereotypes.

  • The risk of getting COVID-19 in the U.S. is currently low. Some people who have traveled to places where many people have gotten sick with COVID-19 may be monitored by health officials to protect their health and the health of other people in the community.

  • Diseases can make anyone sick regardless of their race or ethnicity. People of Asian descent, including Chinese Americans, are not more likely to get COVID-19 than any other American. Help stop fear by letting people know that being of Asian descent does not increase the chance of getting or spreading COVID-19. Stigma can
    • Drive people to hide the illness to avoid discrimination.
    • Prevent people from seeking health care immediately.
    • Discourage them from adopting healthy behaviors


Guidance Information for:

Schools  I  Communities  I  Businesses  I  Healthcare Professionals  I  Travelers  

Family Preparedness: Prepare Your Health


Resources to Download, Print and Share

What you need to know poster: English  I  Spanish  I  Simplified Chinese

What to do if you are sick poster: English  I  Spanish  I  Simplified Chinese

Stop the spread of germs poster: English  I  Spanish  I  Simplified Chinese

Symptoms of Coronavirus Disease 2019 poster: English  I  Spanish

CDC protects and prepares communities poster: English

Getting your workplace ready guidance: English

OSHA COVID-19 Standards: English I  Spanish

For more information on topics like the safety of packages from affected countries, please see CDC’s Frequently Asked Questions and Answers.