State briefing

Couple dies in fire saving pets

KALKASKA TOWNSHIP (AP) — A couple died Thursday in a northern Michigan house engulfed in flames as they tried to save their pets, authorities said.

Kalkaska County sheriff’s officials said fire broke out early Thursday morning at the Kalkaska Township home of Brian and Sheryl Curry, both 56.

The Currys got out safely but returned in an attempt to rescue several animals, officials said.

Firefighters and deputies said they tried to save the couple but had to pull back because of dangerous conditions. The bodies later were found in the house.

The cause of the fire, which leveled the home, is being investigated, officials said.

Lake Michigan home destroyed

GANGES TOWNSHIP (AP) — The owners of a home along Lake Michigan decided to demolish it before nature did the job in western Michigan.

Relentless waves and high water have scoured the lakeshore, destroying or threatening properties that have been in families for generations.

Helen Curtis-Foster and family members decided to bring their house down in Allegan County’s Ganges Township, between Saugatuck and South Haven. The house was just feet away from the edge of a collapsing dune.

“We really felt we were in the fight against time,” Curtis-Foster told MLive.com. “It was getting scary.”

The demolition was completed this week, leaving only a cement pad. The job cost less than $20,000, Curtis-Foster said, compared to hundreds of thousands of dollars necessary to move the house or recover the pieces if it collapsed into the lake.

“It’s a sad thing,” Curtis-Foster, 68, said.

The home was made with cinder blocks in the 1940s but was greatly enhanced with additions and better materials over the years. The family plans to put a gazebo on the site.

“If you needed a place to stay, my parents would be there for family, friends, whatever,” Curtis-Foster said.

MDHHS investigates coronavirus

LANSING — The coronavirus outbreak originating in Wuhan, China is being investigated by The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, local public health departments and the state’s healthcare community, a Friday announcement from MDHHS states.

These efforts include special attention to people who present with symptoms of lower respiratory illness, fever, and report a travel history that includes Wuhan or contact with an ill individual who is under investigation for coronavirus infection. These individuals are being considered for specimen collection and submission to the CDC for testing.

At this time, the only approved testing for coronavirus is available at the CDC.

The Michigan State Laboratory is prepared to receive the specimens and then send them to the CDC for testing, MDHHS officials said in a press release.

The CDC is working with the Federal Drug Administration and state public health laboratories to make testing more broadly available.

To date, MDHHS said it has evaluated referrals from several counties and approved specimens from two individuals in Washtenaw County and one in Macomb County for testing at CDC.

Given the number of specimens being tested nationally, no specific turnaround time is available, officials said, but results are expected within several days. Information around this outbreak is changing rapidly.

All cases being investigated in Michigan have presented with mild illness, according to the MDHHS. These individuals are self-isolating and local health departments are closely monitoring anyone who has been in close contact with them.