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Detroit to Increase Testing, Surprise Inspections to Fight COVID-19

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Image credit: Jake Neher/WDET

The city of Detroit plans will conduct surprise inspections at schools and businesses to ensure coronavirus restrictions are being followed. Violators face a fine up to $1,000.

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Detroit’s COVID-19 infection rate is roughly half of the state average, but as Michigan sees a dramatic rise in cases, city officials are preparing to follow the state’s epidemic order and institute additional precautionary measures to slow the spread of the virus.

City officials report that 146 city residents are hospitalized with COVID-19 and that the city’s infection rate is nearly 7%, more than double the rate from a few weeks ago.

Despite the increase, the infection rate is half that of Oakland and Macomb counties, and Mayor Mike Duggan is blunt about who he blames for the new restrictions. “City of Detroit businesses are being shut down now because of irresponsible behavior in the surrounding communities,” said Duggan in a press conference on Monday afternoon.

Duggan says Detroit must go farther than Michigan’s three-week epidemic order, which bans indoor dining and in-person learning for high-schools.

According to Duggan, testing is available through appointment, regardless of insurance. The testing center has moved from the Fairgrounds to Williams Recreation Center at 8341 Rosa Parks.

The city will also test all nursing home residents and staff over the next two weeks for coronavirus, according to public health director Denise Fair.

In addition to testing, Detroit health inspectors will perform surprise inspections at schools and businesses.  

Fair says there are currently four outbreaks in Detroit’s schools and the cases are all related to staff. She says the checkups are a proactive measure to stop the disease’s spread. “Staff who are found to be non-compliant will have to pay a $200 fine. And this is to ensure COVID-19 protocols are in place for the safety of students as well as staff,” says Fair.

Fair says businesses that fail to follow the state’s epidemic order could face a $1,000 fine and shutdown.

The three-week shutdown will once again close the city’s casinos, further jeopardizing tax money that goes to the city. Fair is calling on residents to report businesses that violate the new restrictions: “If you see something, please say something.”

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Eli Newman, Reporter/Producer

Eli Newman is a Reporter/Producer for 101.9 WDET, covering breaking news, politics and community affairs. His favorite Motown track is “It’s The Same Old Song” by the Four Tops.

eli.newman@wdet.org Follow @other_eli

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