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Duggan sees "encouraging direction" in COVID fight, but nursing homes and budget worrisome

City of Detroit

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan says Duggan says nearly every trend is heading in an “encouraging direction” in the city’s fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.

Michigan’s largest city has been at the epicenter of the state’s fight with the coronavirus.

To date, Detroit has recorded 395 deaths and 6,781 people testing positive for the coronavirus.  

But Mayor Duggan says there are signs the city’s struggles are easing.

He says, where the city’s death toll was at one point doubling every 2 or 3 days, the number is now doubling every 10 or 12 days.

Duggan says 600 police officers have been cleared to return to duty after being quarantined for possible COVID-19 exposure. He says there are still 180 officers waiting to be cleared.

But there are major issues to be resolved.

Duggan says testing is showing high COVID-19 rates in his city’s nursing homes. He says tests in three nursing homes saw infection rates of residents at 30 to 50%.

“One of the things that was very concerning was that of nursing home patients who weren’t showing any symptoms...nearly 50% of those tested positive,” says Duggan.

Duggan says the city plans to conduct 240 tests per day for the next 10 days of nursing home residents and staff.

Another problem is money. Battling COVID-19 has blown a hole in the city’s budget.

Duggan says the city’s budget deficit is about $300 million, spread from this fiscal year to the next.

The mayor says the city only has about $100 million in its rainy day fund.

“Everybody is going to have to share in some sacrifice but we think we can keep city services intact,” says Duggan. 

Duggan insists he does not want the city to be placed under state oversight again.

The mayor plans to address the city Tuesday night. He’s meeting with the city’s union and elected leaders before releasing his budget plan. 

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Steve Carmody has been a reporter for Michigan Radio since 2005. Steve previously worked at public radio and television stations in Florida, Oklahoma and Kentucky, and also has extensive experience in commercial broadcasting.
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