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Duggan: Detroit to start bringing back more city employees

Mike Duggan
City of Detroit

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan said Monday he’s confident that it’s now safe enough to start bringing more city employees back to work, but that’s only because of health and safety measures the city has implemented.

Duggan said the evidence for that lies in recent test results for frontline workers, such as first responders and bus drivers.

Employees who have been tested so far this month have far lower positive rates than their counterparts tested earlier in the pandemic.

In fact, their test-positive rates are now lower than those for the general public--1.5% for police, 2% for fire, and 3% for bus drivers. Meanwhile, positive rates for Detroiters being tested for COVID-19 at the former Michigan State Fairgrounds is around 8% for that same time span, Duggan said.

“Look at the difference. These medical protocols work,” Duggan said. “And here’s the thing: masks work. If everybody wore them, we could knock this down.”

Duggan says COVID-19 testing to screen out infected people is a must. So all city employees will be required to get tested. And everyone will be required to wear masks on the job.

City employees who will be called back over the next week or so include building inspectors, construction inspectors, and members of the law department.

“I know my friend the governor has a plan that she calls safer at home,” Duggan said. “But if you look at this, if you’re a city of Detroit employee, we’re proving that you can be safer at work if it’s done right.”

Duggan said the city and the region are now in phase 3 of Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s 6-phase plan for re-opening, called “flattening.” But Duggan said we may be on the cusp of phase 4, “improving,” which would allow some stores and officers to re-open with restrictions.

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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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