ALPENA, Mich. — Alpena city officials held a press conference on Thursday to address concerns over the coronavirus. Mayor Matt Waligora explained that they will be taking a number of precautions to prevent the spread and protect citizens. Both the U.S. and the state of Michigan have declared a state of emergency, and because of this, additional resources will be made available to help prevent, mitigate, respond to, and recover from the current pandemic.
Fire Chief Bill Forbush said city and county firefighters and paramedics are well equipped to deal with the virus. “I think we have the training and the equipment and the supplies,” he said. “We’re working cooperatively with our partner agencies throughout Northern Michigan and I believe we have a good handle on this and I want folks to feel confident in that.”
Right now there have been no confirmed cases of the coronavirus in Northern Michigan, but there is currently a lack of test kits available. However, Chief Forbush said over the coming weeks, they should become more accessible. “Tests are not widely available at this time. As I understand it, the hospital has to request that the patients be tested by the health department. The health department has to send it to the CDC. That takes a long time and not everyone gets tested. However, the federal government is bolstering that up significantly and by next week and the week after there will be many more tests available.”
Mayor Waligora said that while this is certainly not a time to panic, it is a time to be prepared.