DETROIT (WXYZ) — Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan will provide another coronavirus update on Wednesday afternoon.
Duggan announced a major expansion of testing access for those without prescriptions at the old state fairgrounds testing site.
He was also joined by the head of the Detroit Economic Growth Corporation to talk about the results of a $4M small business relief grant program announced last month, as well as by the owners of two small businesses.
He talks about the infection rate at senior apartment facilities, saying they didn't expect to see the 2% infection rate, but those people aren't gathering like in nursing homes. He said he was really encouraged.
Fair added that she asked the team to re-calculate because it seemed so low.
Duggan is asked about the protests planned for Thursday at the Capitol.
"Sometimes it's so obvious you can't understand. I understand that in Clare, Mich., there is not much COVID-19 and you might wonder why your business is being shut down. If the governor were tomorrow to say Clare, Mich. is open for business, people would empty out of southeast Michigan and go there," he said.
"I really don't get it. Down here, I'm just lucky to be the mayor of Detroit. This city has been unified since day one," he said. "I haven't had to deal with the nonsense the governor has."
Duggan said the number of complaints from Detroiters about unemployment is going down every week.
He said they are still seeing people call them, and they're helping them.
Johnson talks more about the grant programs. He said they had 1,700 applications and more than 700 people awarded grants between $2,500 and $10,000.
Applicants had to be a Detroit-based business, in business for at least one year, had to have at least two employees and had to show your losses after the COVID pandemic began.
Fair updates the senior mitigation strategy and said they have completed testing in 12 buildings which is 700 residents. She said the infection rate is about 2%.
She said it's expected to take about 5 weeks to test 8,000 residents.
Chief Health Officer Denise Fair updates the numbers, saying there are 10,001 cases and 1,220 deaths in the city.
She said the weekly trend is going down, but people should still social distance, wear masks and stay home.
Young said she's incredibly grateful for the help as they've stayed open. They are looking for employees to grow the brand.
Tara Young, owner of 44Burrito, said the crisis is overwhelming but she's honored by getting the help from the city and DEGC.
Sweet Potato Sensations owner Cassandra Thomas talks about how they closed their business temporarily to wait everything out.
She said being closed almost two months means no revenue was coming it. "It was super scary," she said.
They got a grant which helped them pay business insurance, do a deep cleaning,
Detroit Economic Growth Corp. President & CEO Kevin Johnson announced the results of a $4 million small business relief grant.
He said 57% of the businesses were female-owned and 49% were owned by Detroit residents.
Duggan talks about Kevin Johnson raising $4 million for the small business relief grant.
Duggan said that when barbershops and dentists and others open, they will reserve Sundays and Mondays for those people to get tested on the 15-minute Abbott test and then it will give you a print-out showing you you're negative that you can display.
He said those workers can come in every Sunday and Monday to get tested, so you can tell your customers that you are safe.
Duggan said that phase 4 will likely be retail businesses, and then phase 5 will be sit-down restaurants. He said next week, they will have details for those stores that can open in phase 4.
He added he's not sure when the governor will declare us in phase 4.
"We are spending most of our time as we get the testing and social distancing under control focusing on how we get jobs and businesses to reopen safely," Duggan said.
Duggan said that if you want to wait for the city to come to you, you can, or you can call and get tested tomorrow.
He said there are several senior apartment complexes they will be to by Friday of next week.
Duggan said this is only for Detroiters only who are aged 60 or up. You can show ID, lease agreement, pay stub, etc.
"If you can show you live here, we're going to get you tested as quickly as you want to get tested."
Any Detroiter aged 60 or up can get tested for free with no prescription starting Friday at the old state fairgrounds.
You have to call 313-230-0505 to book an appointment for any day. If you don't have a car, you can request a ride for $2 and if you don't have $2 they will still take you.
Eventually Duggan said they want to get every Detroiter tested
Duggan said they have lost 78 people since May 1, but only 2 under the age of 50 have died. 84% of people who have died this month are 60 or older, Duggan said.
The mayor said they will be testing up to 2,000 people a day at the old state fairgrounds starting tomorrow.
Hazard pay for city employees will continue as long as the state is in phase 3, Duggan said, likely two or three weeks longer.
He said now that employees are testing positive at around a 1% rate, it's way down than the 8-10% rate it was at.
The pay will come in bulk, the city said.
City employees are coming back to work, Dugan said, and 2/3 of employees are back on the job.
"I expect it to be safer for our employees at work than it would be if they say at home," he said, with temperature tests, testing, masks, gloves, etc.
They also expanded testing to workers' family members if a worker tests positive, so they can quarantine properly.
“Detroit is dropping faster than anywhere in the country. It’s because our residents are wearing masks and social distancing," Duggan said.
Duggan provides an update on the numbers and said 1,220 people in the city have died so far.
From May 4-10, there were 44 deaths. That's down from 81 from April 27-May 3, 154 from April 20-26 and 242 from April 13-19.
Additional Coronavirus information and resources:
Click here for a page with resources including a COVID-19 overview from the CDC, details on cases in Michigan, a timeline of Governor Gretchen Whitmer's orders since the outbreak, coronavirus' impact on Southeast Michigan, and links to more information from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, the CDC and the WHO.
View a global coronavirus tracker with data from Johns Hopkins University.
Find out how you can help metro Detroit restaurants struggling during the pandemic.
See all of our Helping Each Other stories.
See complete coverage on our Coronavirus Continuing Coverage page.