DETROIT (FOX 2) - The COVID-19 attack in Detroit has plateaued -- the key now lies in testing those without symptoms, Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan said Tuesday.
Per the city, there are 7,904 cases and 716 COVID-19 related deaths in Detroit. Duggan said over the last four days, there have been an average of 36 deaths per day -- about the same as last week.
“We have hit a plateau. I looked at the data from the hospitals today on occupied beds and vents, and from Saturday to Tuesday, they were almost exactly the same," he said.
Duggan said there are plenty of open beds and ventilators, but they haven't been dropping in the last three days, they've leveled out.
"What we are looking at now is we went up very fast, we started to come down, and now we are a flat level," he said. "If you look at those numbers it is very clear that Gov. Whitmer's decision to extend the stay at home order was clearly the correct decision. We have not rid our communities of this virus and it's going to be harder now to knock it down below that plateau level. There's no doubt in my mind the way we're going to have to do it is testing people without symptoms."
The mayor said the virus is still spreading in the city in large part by people who don't know they have it because they aren't showing symptoms.
"The key to this is going to be the testing of people without symptoms. We announced last week that Detroit is going to be the first city that's going to test people without prescriptions, without symptoms,
Duggan announced Monday the city is expanding testing from people who work for the city to companies that have workers performing essential jobs in Detroit -- regardless whether or not they are showing symptoms.
The mayor said Tuesday that 140 companies have signed up to get about 5,000 employees tested at the State Fairgrounds drive-thru testing site, and that will take place over the next week or so.
Half of those companies handle food, including grocery stores and restaurants. But the city also got calls from daycare centers, doctors offices, and even employees at the TCF Center. Duggan said the one that surprised him the most was a call from the US Postal Service to get 1,000 workers tested.
“It really shows you how hard it has been to beat this virus when you don’t know who has it,” Duggan said.
The mayor said by the middle of next week, they expect to be testing 1,500 people a day between the State Fairgrounds and the instant tests from Abbott Laboratories.
COVID-19 AT NURSING HOMES
Denise Fair, Chief Public Health Officer of the Detroit Health Department, said they have performed 1,282 tests on seniors and staff. There have been 124 COVID-related deaths.
The city has delivered PPE to the nursing homes, including 12,095 masks, 10,000 gloves, 150 gowns, and 300 face shields.
Duggan said the city is 2/3 of the way finished testing every nursing home in the city and they’re expect to be finished by Thursday. He said the rate of the positive testing, which had once been 30%, has dropped to about 26% percent -- a result of the health department identifying and getting to the most affected nursing homes first.
Additionally, four clinicians from the Centers for Disease Control have joined the health department’s efforts in fighting the virus at nursing homes.
Fair said for the next two weeks, these CDC clinicians will help Detroit develop a strategy for screening at the facilities, perform sight visits at the facilities, provide infection prevention control education at those facilities, and more. They will be meeting soon with nursing directors or medical directors of long term medical care facilities.
STIMULUS CHECKS UPDATE
For those who haven’t received their stimulus checks, the city of detroit website has a button “Get Your $1,200 Stimulus Check” with all the information on how to do it
Nicole Sherard Freeman, the city’s director of Workforce Development, said you didn't file your taxes in 2018 or 2019 either because you haven’t gotten around to doing it or you didn’t make enough money, you could still get your $1,200. You also have the ability to change your mailing address if you need to do so.
It can take up to five months to get your stimulus check by mail - but it’s much faster via direct deposit. For those who may not have a bank, seven banks including First Independent, Flagstar, Bank of America, and Chase, along with three others, will help you set up a bank account so you can get your stimulus check as a direct deposit.
For those who don’t want to use a bank and want to get a paper check, but will need somewhere to cash that check, the city also made a deal with JPMorgan Chase. You can take the paper check to any Chase branch with two forms of ID, and they will cash it without any fees.