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COVID-19 outbreak scrambles local plans

COVID-19 outbreak scrambles local plans

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Jerry Seinfeld said his TV series was “about nothing.” When it comes to coronavirus cancellations, all this nothing is really something.

Elsewhere this week, you will read where University of Michigan economist Gabriel Ehrlich foresees the virus having sharp but short-lived effects. Ehrlich bases is projections on modeling from past disease outbreaks, but concedes speculation falls shy of certainty.

Nationwide, shut-downs — of foreign flights and cruises, sports leagues and tournaments, on and on, have been so many and drawn wide attention it goes beyond purview of this Saugatuck-Douglas area newspaper.

Statewide, most know Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer closed public school buildings grades K-12 effective March 16 through April 5, plus shared-space assemblages of more than 250 people in that same timeframe. Bars and restaurants, except for takeouts, were shut down Monday also.

Locally, the Saugatuck-Douglas Business Association canceled last Saturday’s “Erin Go Bark” costume contest and people/pets parade.

Laketown Golf and Conference Center rescheduled its annual Bride-A-Palooza wedding show from March 21 to May 2 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The Saugatuck Center for the Arts has rescheduled its Real to Reel Film Festival, first announced here as taking place March 27-28, until May 8 and 9, same times and venues for all screenings and activities. Pre-bought tickets will be automatically transferred to the new dates.

The SCA offers patrons who can’t make the new dates two options: refund ticket costs or, if you’re able and inclined, donate your ticket(s) back to the SCA; will send you a tax letter for your gift. For more information, call (269) 857-2399 or email info@sc4a.org

“Given the situation,” said the Center in a statement that echoed others, “our first priority is to keep you, your families, and our community healthy and at ease.”

The SCA, like others, is following Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Michigan Department of Health & Human Services, and local health authority guidelines.

They advise that best prevention for viruses, such as influenza, the common cold or COVID-19 is to:

• Wash your hands often with soap and warm water for 20 seconds. If not available, use hand sanitizer. 

• Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands. 

• Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or upper sleeve when coughing or sneezing. 

• Avoid contact with people who are sick. 

• If you are sick, stay home, and avoid contact with others.

“As you know,” the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) informs us, “a global outbreak of a respiratory disease named Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) started in China in late 2019.

“The virus has been detected in more than 90 countries, including the U.S.” As of Friday, there were 12 confirmed cases in Michigan. “The situation is rapidly evolving and it is likely we will see more cases across the U.S.,” the agency continued.

“The State has been working with federal and local partners to monitor the situation, develop and expand laboratory testing, educate and raise awareness, and prepare for COVID-19 in Michigan.

“On Feb. 3, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) activated the Community Health Emergency Coordination Center (CHECC) to support state and local response.

“On Feb. 28, Gov. Whitmer activated the State Emergency Operations Center (SEOC) to coordinate state government resources. On March 3, she announced the creation of four task forces to combat the spread of coronavirus and assess the impact it may have on Michiganders’ day-to-day lives.

“For the latest state information, visit Michigan.gov/Coronavirus or CDC.gov/Coronavirus