Safety protocols in place, city of Detroit begins welcoming workers back

It's back on the job for some city of Detroit workers. 

"Two-hundred general service employees who came back to work and the 200 DPW employees back to work today, the people cutting the grass, the people repairing the roads," Mayor Mike Duggan said. 

But not before being tested for COVID-19, and that's a standard Duggan wants other employers to adopt. 

"Two primary places of risk are coming together at your job sites and being in proximity at senior centers," he said. "Job sites can be made safe if you'll use our testing facilities, follow the recommended protocols that are on the city's website." 

Protocols like wearing a mask and practicing social distancing.  It's these steps that are helping Detroit see lower positive cases of the virus, but the mayor says at times when he's in the suburbs, he doesn't always see the same level of commitment 

"This virus is all through southeastern Michigan, there is no artificial borders," Duggan said. "And people in suburbs should be just as cautious,"  

Test results show the infection rate of coronavirus between Detroiters and suburbanites is virtually the same.

"Twenty-seven percent of Detroiters tested positive and 26 percent of suburbanites tested positive," he said. 

Duggan said he is committed to increasing testing at the State Fair Grounds to help save lives and reopen the city.

"Today we are at 1,500 a day," he said. "We need to get to 2,000 a day."

And as efforts continue to win the battle against COVID-19, Detroit is also working to win the war on foreclosures.

Mayor Duggan is promoting the "Pay as You Stay" program which helps Detroiters who have high past property tax delinquencies to lower the amount owed and avoid foreclosure. 

"Treasurer Eric Sabree sent out more than 4,000 letters to Detroiters who qualified for this," Duggan said. "But you have got to follow up on that letter."

Derrick Kennedy is benefiting from the program and it saved him thousands of dollars and his home. 

"My debt was well over $11,000," Kennedy said. "The letter that I got stipulated that my current situation indicates a $600- something debt. I think I can manage that."