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Mayor: Detroit’s COVID spike could pose ‘serious problem’

November 23, 2021 GMT

DETROIT (AP) — Hospitalizations in Detroit due to COVID-19 are rising, as the city and the rest of Michigan struggle to cope with one of the country’s highest infection rates.

Mayor Mike Duggan told reporters that 256 Detroit residents were hospitalized with the virus as of Tuesday, which was more than twice as many as two to three weeks ago.

“It if doubles again in the next three weeks, we’re going to see the most serious problem we’ve had since the spring of 2020,” he said, adding that the spike isn’t a surprise because people are spending more time indoors due to colder weather.

“Statewide, this is the highest rate of infection we have had,” he said. “In the city of Detroit, not quite to our peak, but I would suspect in a week or two, Detroit will exceed that, as well.”

Detroit has had more 67,500 confirmed cases and 2,504 COVID-19 deaths since the start of the pandemic, according to the city’s health department.

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Daily COVID-19 cases have been on the rise since late summer, with 51 reported on Aug. 1 and 408 reported on Nov. 15.

Statewide, a daily average of about 5,669 new confirmed cases were reported Saturday through Monday.

Michigan has had more than 1.25 million confirmed COVID-19 cases and more than 23,300 deaths from the disease since the start of the pandemic.

About 70% of state residents ages 16 and older have received at least one vaccine dose, according to Michigan’s Department of Health and Human Services.

Detroit is urging residents to get vaccinated or get booster shots, which are being offered at city-run centers.

“We’ll come out to the nursing homes,” Duggan said. “We’ll come out to the homeless shelters. We’ll come out to your house if you’re homebound.”

Duggan also said he isn’t currently considering a vaccine mandate for city employees.

“There is absolutely no conversation about vaccines for unions or civil service employees,” Duggan said. “I made an absolute promise to the union leaders in this city for the last year and a half that anything we did we would do together, sitting down and talking, and there’s been no conversation about that all and no plan for it.”