Detroit buckles down for next COVID-19 lockdown, Duggan urges residents to get tested

In preparation for what could be a rough next few weeks, the city of Detroit is restarting calls to get as many residents tested.

With state restrictions set to go in place across Michigan as hospitals near capacity amid skyrocketing daily caseloads of COVID-19, Mayor Mike Duggan reissued a call for residents to get tested for the coronavirus.

That's after the mayor warned problems with the pandemic could extend by a matter of months, instead of weeks.

"I think we're looking at a three-month fight," Duggan said during a Monday press conference. "We are providing immediate testing to all residents. Call and get an appointment tomorrow."

As far as test positivity goes, Detroit has one of the lowest rates in the state. As of Monday, the city's infection rate was 6.8%. In surrounding communities in Oakland, Wayne, and Macomb County, the positivity rate was more than twice as high.

The discrepancy is due to Detroit residents and businesses remaining in compliance with social distancing and mask rules. So why should the city have to endure the same shutdown rules as the rest of the state?

Because if Detroit was treated differently than the rest of Michigan, it would become a "magnet" for other visitors, Duggan said.

"We would have been the magnet for all infected groups in the area," he said. "There is not a wall around Detroit, so the governor did what she had to do."

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The three-week restrictions will force all restaurants and bars to close indoor service while also closing movie theaters, stadiums, and bowling centers. It also means in-person learning in high school will be suspended - however, the school district already told high school students to stay home for the next few weeks as more infections were reported among older students.

While Detroit has kept the virus from spreading, it still represents a greater threat to Black residents. Weary of the death rates that spiraled through the city in March and April, Duggan pleaded with residents to get tested whether they were showing symptoms or not.

"Given the fact that African Americans die of Covid more than caucasian Americans, the city of Detroit can't just do what Michigan is doing," he said.

Testing has moved from the old state fairgrounds to the Williams Recreation Center on Rosa Parks Boulevard. 

Testing will be free to the public, with options for receiving a test both in one's car or inside the community center - depending on the nature of the exposure and if residents are experiencing health effects.

Dr. Rob Dunn, who has acted as a liaison between hospitals and the city, said people should definitely take precautions if they had close contact with someone who has tested positive for the virus.

That means if anyone spent 15 minutes within six feet of that a positive case, they should quarantine in their home for 14 days. They should also consider getting a test within 5-7 days of exposure. 

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