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Detroit expands COVID-19 testing to all city residents, eyes reopening city businesses

City of Detroit

Starting Wednesday, any Detroit resident will be able to make an appointment to get tested for COVID-19.

Previously, free testing in Detroit was restricted to people with a doctor’s note, symptoms, essential workers and people over the age of 60.

But now Mayor Mike Duggan says all that people wanting a test will need to have is proof they live in Detroit and an appointment.

“You live in the city of Detroit and you want a test...you can get a test. You don’t need a doctor.  You don’t need money. You don’t need symptoms. Every Detroiter can get a test,” says Duggan.

Detroit is the hardest hit community in Michigan, with 10,368 confirmed cases and 1,260 deaths. But the number of coronavirus cases and deaths has been trending lower.

City Public Health Director Denise Fair says it’s important for Detroiters to continue being responsible and practice safe precautions.

“We have to remain focused so that this downward trend of COVID-19 in our community may also continue,” says Fair. 

The city of Detroit is not among the parts of Michigan where the governor is loosening restrictions on businesses.

But Mayor Duggan is encouraging city businesses to start preparing plans to reopen.

“The one thing we’re not going to have in the city of Detroit is to have a bunch of businesses open....have the infection rate spike and have to close them again,” says Duggan.

The city has posted a ‘Reopening Playbook” on the detroitmeansbusiness.org website.

Next week, the DTE Energy Foundation will give away free personal protection kits to Detroit small businesses at Eastern Market. The kits will include 600,000 masks, 1.2 million gloves and 6,000 gallons of hand sanitizer.

“The city’s 36,000+ small businesses are vital to the economy,” says DTE’s Dave Meador. 

Clemente “Fame” Brown owns a clothing store in Detroit.

He believes stores like his are ready to reopen.

“We want to be healthy,” says Brown. “As important as business is, without the health of the people there’s no business.”

Michigan Radio listeners, readers, and reporters are rising to the challenge every day. If you can, please support essential journalism during this crisis.

Steve Carmody has been a reporter for Michigan Public 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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