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Emergency declared in Southfield due to coronavirus

By: Kayla Dimick | Southfield Sun | Published March 13, 2020

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Mayor Ken Siver has declared that the city of Southfield is in a state of emergency in order to slow the spread of the COVID-19  coronavirus. 

Siver said in a March 13 news release that effective immediately, all city events and activities will be postponed or cancelled until April 6, or until further notice. 

“This is the time for everyone to take the coronavirus and social distancing very seriously,” Siver said in the release. “We think it’s prudent to limit face to face contact and public interaction during this present outbreak. In addition to washing your hands, covering your cough and avoiding handshakes, we encourage all Southfield residents who feel ill to stay home and to avoid crowds of any size.”

City Hall will remain open, but the city clerk and treasurer’s offices are currently closed to the public. Residents can still conduct business online, via phone and through the city’s drop box. 

According to the release, the 2020 State of the City address which was scheduled for March 16, as well as the community State of the City address set for March 19, have both been postponed. Both events will be rescheduled, officials said. 

A City Council meeting slated for 6 p.m. March 16 will still take place, according to the release.

The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, coughing — usually dry — and shortness of breath. Individuals should seek immediate medical attention if they begin to experience difficulty breathing, persistent pain or pressure in the chest, new confusion or the inability to arouse, and/or bluish lips or face on top of these other symptoms. 

According to the Oakland County Health Division, the immediate health risk of COVID-19 to the general public is considered low. Some people that may be at higher risk of getting very sick from this illness include older adults and those with serious, chronic medical conditions, including heart and/or lung disease, or diabetes.

On March 12, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer ordered the closure of all Michigan K-12 public schools for the next three weeks, starting March 16, due to the coronavirus. 

According to a news release from 46th District Court Administrator Renee Shelide, effective March 12, all non-emergency motions and hearings will be adjourned for 60 days. 

Shelide said that notices of new dates will be sent directly from the court, and video will be used for hearings whenever possible. Felony cases will remain as scheduled, according to the release. 

For more information, go to the court’s website, cityofsouthfield.com/departments/46th-district-court. 

According to a Facebook post from the Southfield Public Library, the facility will remain open during normal operating hours, but all programs are cancelled until April 6. Many will be rescheduled, according to the post. 

City officials said in the release that they are “taking all possible precautionary steps” to proactively prevent the further spread of COVID-19 coronavirus throughout the city and the Southfield municipal campus.

City administrators, according to the release, have implemented an infectious disease outbreak and extenuating circumstances policy, which outlines the procedures and guidelines to help prevent the spread of the virus in the workplace. 

“All city staff are being provided disinfectant products with instructions to clean work stations including phones, computer keyboards, etc., frequently. Moreover, the city's Facilities Maintenance Department remains vigilant in the thorough cleaning and disinfecting of all city offices and facilities,” officials said in the release. “Additionally, the city is relocating some front-line staff and limiting public interaction in an effort to maintain social distancing.”

The city will continue to monitor the situation, officials said, and will post updates at cityofsouthfield.com. 

Call Staff Writer Kayla Dimick at (586) 279-1108. 

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