FAQ

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Help Hotline: Residents with non-health calls should call 248-858-1000

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"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:

  • Fever or chills
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headache
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Sore throat
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea

There is not a vaccine or specific treatment recommended for COVID-19. People with COVID-19 can seek medical care to help relieve symptoms."
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.
If you can, stay home. Only conduct essential activities at this time. Wash your hands, clean and disinfect surfaces, and practice social distancing. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) advises that we stay at least 6 feet apart from other people and only gather in groups of less than 10.
If you have symptoms contact your doctor and they will determine if you need to be tested for COVID-19 and advise you how to proceed. Unfortunately, there are not enough tests nationally or in Michigan for every person to be tested. But we're working with officials to address that shortage so that people who are exhibiting symptoms can be tested. If you don't have a doctor, contact the Oakland County Nurse on Call at 1-800-858-5533 or email the Nurse on Call at noc@oakgov.com.
Oakland County has set up a Help Hotline to assist residents with non-health related questions. We are happy to answer any questions or connect you with community resources such as food or housing assistance. The Help Hotline is open Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
The CDC changed its guidance on facemasks on April 3, 2020. Surgical masks and N-95 respirators must still be preserved for health care workers. 

The CDC now recommends that citizens wear cloth facemasks when they must go out and continue to practice 6 feet social distancing and frequent handwashing. The change accounts for the possibility that individuals without symptoms could spread the virus and a cloth facemask could prevent the release of respiratory droplets from their nose and mouth. 

Cloth facemasks could include bandanas, scarves and other homemade face coverings. 

You may read the CDC guidance here and here. Learn how to make a cloth facemask out of a t-shirt and rubber bands (no sewing needed) in this video from U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams.  

 Executive Town Halls

​Oakland County Executive David Coulter has conducted a series of telephone town hall meetings with more than 10,000 Oakland County residents. The questions below were answered during one of those calls. Listen to the recorded meetings here.

If you have additional questions about the coronavirus or what Oakland County is doing to prevent its spread and keep you safe and you don’t see it answered here, call (248) 858-1000 and we’ll get you the answer


It depends on a lot of things. We hope to flatten the curve by social distancing. I don’t imagine we’re going to stop social distancing for at least a few months. We have really good tools here. Social distancing got them through a pandemic 100 years ago. It works. Handwashing works. I don’t want you to live in fear every day.

Although antibodies might provide some immunity to the COVID-19 virus, there's currently not enough evidence to know how long these antibodies last or whether past infection with the virus protects you from getting another infection. Studies on COVID-19 antibodies are ongoing to learn more about immunity.

Anywhere from two to 14 days although most of the cases present themselves within five to seven days. But the general guidance is, you’re not out of the woods for 14 days.
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.
The “CO” is for corona, “VI” is for virus and “D” is for disease. The 19 is for the year it was first discovered.
I would always refer you to your physician. They know things about you I don’t. We have fevers for a reason: to deter the virus from going in your body. You want to keep the fever in the manageable range. The best place to have that discussion is with your doctor. 
It’s important to relay that information to your doctor, any exposure you may have had and your symptoms. Feel free to call Nurse on Call at 1-800-848-5533. The doctor may say to isolate at home. We also have good information on our website, OakGov.com/heath with a self-monitoring guide. Click on the General Health button. You’ll find an easy to use fact sheet.
It depends on your insurance. If you need assistance in getting free testing, call the Nurse on Call at 1-800 848-5533. Most insurances are now covering this test and most are also waiving co-pays.
That’s difficult to tell. Your doctor can talk you through it. If it starts to worsen or progress, you’re probably not talking about an allergy but something more serious. I heard one physician say that if you took some allergy medication and everything cleared up, it’s highly unlikely it’s COVID-19 but everyone is different. I always recommend calling your physician or Nurse on Call at 1-800-848-5533.
Unfortunately, no. This is not a flu strain. COVID- 19 is a different category. You should still get your annual flu shot to protect yourself from the flu. 
You really should consider not visiting aging parents at this time. If you have symptoms of the coronavirus, you absolutely should not visit your parents or grandparents. Isolate from seniors and other family members. Grandparents should not interact with grandchildren, this is critical. You should not be taking grandchildren to see their grandparents. Children under the age of 20 may have mild symptoms and not even recognize it but they may be carriers. It could be mild for the child but require hospitalization for the grandparent.
I know that is concerning for people who work in other homes. Some people may ask how the customer is feeling before going in. That’s certainly something you can do. Also practice social distancing which is something they will appreciate too. You’re probably working in a space where they’re not standing over you and breathing, you should be safe. Remember to wash your hands. You should be fine.
Absolutely not. Now is not the time to be visiting your grandchildren in person. Young children may have the virus but show few or no symptoms yet can pass the virus onto you. Skype or facetime with them but delay the visit. Tell them you will celebrate another time.
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.
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.
If your pharmacy has a drive-thru window, take advantage of that. If you must go inside, stay away from others standing at the prescription counter. Call ahead and see if your pharmacy will delivery your prescriptions. Wash your hands. Don’t wait until your medications run out to get them refilled.
You really should consider not visiting aging parents at this time. If you have symptoms of the coronavirus, you absolutely should not visit your parents or grandparents. Isolate from seniors and other family members. Grandparents should not interact with grandchildren, this is critical. You should not be taking grandchildren to see their grandparents. Children under the age of 20 may have mild symptoms and not even recognize it but they may be carriers. It could be mild for the child but require hospitalization for the grandparent.
Meals on Wheels has a long history of providing healthy, nutritious and safe meals. It’s vitally important to maintain a healthy diet.
No. There will be no water shutoffs during this public health emergency and DTE or Consumers Energy will not shut of your power.
From the SOS website: In accordance with Governor Gretchen Whitmer's "Stay Home, Stay Safe" executive order, all Secretary of State offices are closed until further notice to slow the spread of the coronavirus and protect public health. Late fees will be waived during this period. Customers can complete many transactions using online services and can make an appointment for a future visit (subject to cancellation).
Consumers Energy and DTE have said there will be no shutoffs at this time. Water Resources Commissioner Jim Nash has said the water will stay on. You won’t lose these services in the short-term. The long-term impact will have to be assessed. Unemployment benefits are being extended. We know the actions we in government take have a real effect on real people and their jobs. There will be further assistance. Stay tuned. Call our Help Hotline if you have an urgent non-health emergency. 248-858-1000.
Sometimes people feel helpless, but we do have the ability to slow the spread of the coronavirus if we take all precautionary measures such as social distancing and washing our hands. If you want to help, if you are feeling healthy and up to it, we’re going to need more blood in metro Detroit. Call the Red Cross and make appointment to give blood. It’s more important now than ever as more of our residents are being hospitalized.
That population is a concern and we want to make sure they are protected. We launched a Restaurant to Shelter program that is getting 700 meals to homeless shelters, so they have the food they need. We have partnered with Beans & Cornbread in Southfield and the Lafayette Market in Pontiac, who are delivering meals to locations served by the Pontiac Community Foundation. We are working with our non-profit community partners to find additional safe housing options.
It depends on a lot of things. We hope to flatten the curve by social distancing. I don’t imagine we’re going to stop social distancing for at least a few months. We have really good tools here. Social distancing got them through a pandemic 100 years ago. It works. Handwashing works. I don’t want you to live in fear every day.

Although antibodies might provide some immunity to the COVID-19 virus, there's currently not enough evidence to know how long these antibodies last or whether past infection with the virus protects you from getting another infection. Studies on COVID-19 antibodies are ongoing to learn more about immunity.

Unfortunately, no. This is not a flu strain. COVID- 19 is a different category. You should still get your annual flu shot to protect yourself from the flu. 
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.
If your pharmacy has a drive-thru window, take advantage of that. If you must go inside, stay away from others standing at the prescription counter. Call ahead and see if your pharmacy will delivery your prescriptions. Wash your hands. Don’t wait until your medications run out to get them refilled.
When the Oakland County Health Division receives positive test results they are in touch with the patient and trace back all potential exposures. They provide guidance to individuals or groups of individuals that may have come in close contact with the patient. In the early days of the virus we also provided a list of potential public exposure sites. It is now evident this virus is broadly in our community, so everyone needs to follow the strict guidelines about avoiding public spaces and following the strict hygiene practices no matter where you live. In addition, if you feel sick or are experiencing the symptoms of cough, fever or shortness of breath, stay home and contact your doctor or our Nurse on Call at 1-800-848-5533.
In the early days of epidemic, when the health division received a report of a positive test, they would be in touch with the patient and trace back all the potential exposures from that patient. Sometimes we publicized the places of public exposure because we couldn’t contact everybody who may have been in close contact with the patient and wanted the public to be aware. In other cases, we know all the other close contacts and there is no additional risk to the public. Now there are so many cases and it has become so widespread that our ability to contact everyone is not always possible and with the growing number of cases we need to assume it’s everywhere. Assume it’s in your workplace or community. There are no hotspots and no one community is seeing a spike more than another. We all must take these precautionary measures as seriously as we can to limit the spread of the virus.
For a complete list of county services and programs operating, contact the Oakland County hotline at 248-858-1000. The Oakland County Health Division remains open by appointment-only. Health-related questions can be answered by calling Nurse on Call at 1-800-848-5533.
There are points of light during this pandemic such as the individuals who continue to drop off supplies at the Oakland County Farmer’s Market, Monday – Friday, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. 

So far, people and businesses have dropped off: 
  • Nearly 40,000 N95 masks 
  • 20,000 surgical masks 
  • 6,000 safety glasses 
  • 65,000 pairs of gloves 
  • 2,000 face shields 
To help our residents better understand the spread of the novel coronavirus, we have launched a map of Oakland County that displays the number of cases by zip code.
We cannot explain why one community has more cases than another. We know a part of it has to do with access to testing. It can be an indication of general access to health care insurance or a true measure of what is happening in the community. No matter where you live, stay at home and take precautions to protect yourself, your family and other residents, especially if you must go out.
Please call 248-858-1000 if you have additional questions.