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Last COVID-19 patient leaves TCF Center field hospital

Workers set up a field hospital at the TCF Center in Detroit.
Paulette Parker, Michigan Radio

The last remaining COVID-19 patient at Detroit's TCF Center field hospital was discharged on Wednesday.

The 1,000-bed hospital, rapidly constructed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers as the pandemic surged in southeast Michigan, has stopped admitting patients. It has treated just 39 people since it started up in early April.

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan said after that last patient leaves, he’s confident the TCF Center will “go into mothballs.”

“When we get into the regular seasonal flu season in December and January, we’re going to be at risk again,” Duggan said. “And so I’m sure the governor will keep the TCF Center in reserve.”

Despite the low admissions numbers, Duggan said establishing the hospital was “the right thing to do”—and the fact that the city was largely able to keep its hospitals from exceeding capacity is “a great accomplishment.”

COVID-19 cases and deaths have been declining in metro Detroit for the past two weeks.

As of Wednesday, the city of Detroit reported a total of 9,536 confirmed COVID-19 cases, and 1,128 deaths.

Duggan said that of the roughly 1,500 Detroiters tested for COVID-19 at the former Michigan State Fairgrounds whose results came back Tuesday, fewer than 8% tested positive. That’s the lowest test-positive rate for Detroiters there yet.

Of the more than 18,000 people tested at the state fairgrounds since late March whose test results have come back, 33% have tested positive as of Wednesday. The drive-thru test site serves people from throughout southeast Michigan.

Update 5/7/2020 at 9:25 a.m.: This article was updated to reflect that the last TCF Center pateint was discharged on Wednesday.

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Sarah Cwiek joined Michigan Public in October 2009. As our Detroit reporter, she is helping us expand our coverage of the economy, politics, and culture in and around the city of Detroit.
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