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Warren City Hall closed this week due to spike in COVID-19 cases among employees

Posted at 9:10 PM, Nov 08, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-09 06:37:19-05

WARREN, Mich. (WXYZ) — Warren City Hall will be closed to the general public indefinitely following a "significant spike" in COVID-19 cases among employees from several departments, Mayor Jim Fouts told Action News.

The outbreak has affected district court, city hall, and the Warren police department, where nine officers are currently in quarantine at home. No officers have been hospitalized at this time.

"They predicted this was going to happen -- the second wave, and it’s here and it’s hitting hard," Police Commissioner Bill Dwyer told Action News.

Dwyer said this will not impact public safety service or response, as the affected officers are from different areas of the department including the patrol division, detective bureau, and special operations. "It’s pretty well spread out," Dwyer said.

Several of the infected officers recently responded to a barricaded gunman call in Warren while working with the department's special response team (SRT), Dwyer said. It's believed that barricaded gunman call could be one source of the outbreak; Dwyer would not indicate which specific barricaded gunman situation it was.

Aside from the nine officers currently in quarantine, Dwyer said other officers are quarantining as well as they await test results.

"We continue to monitor the officers through taking their temperature at least once a day sometimes three times a day," he said of the officers who have tested positive.

Warren police are taking reports mostly via phone, patrol cars are cleaned twice daily, and no one is allowed inside the building without an appointment, Dwyer said.

Both Fouts and Dwyer said this is the worst outbreak for city employees since the pandemic started in March.

"Warren is not an island and we’re not the only city that has problems like this. Everybody needs to take additional vigilance to ensure public safety," said Mayor Fouts.

The outbreak is also hitting civilian city workers. One department administrator is currently on a ventilator at a nearby hospital and has been sedated until his oxygen levels go up, Mayor Fouts stated in a released.

"Our Police Department and District Court also has significant spikes. The Warren Community Center and Libraries will be open at this time. I urge everyone to continue wearing masks, keeping a distance from others and only go out if absolutely necessary," Fouts said in a statement. "The predicted spike in COVID-19 cases has now hit Michigan and Warren. We have more employees positive than at any other time since this pandemic began in March. Hence the closure of city hall to the public. I am taking steps to make sure all employees are tested. We are currently disinfecting the court, city hall, and the police department. The court also has a significant number out with COVID-19 so they too will be closed except for important cases!"

On Thursday, Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, the state's chief medical executive, said Michigan could see 100 or more deaths per day from COVID-19 by the end of December if Michiganders don't change their behaviors.

RELATED: Whitmer: Michiganders need to do everything they can to slow COVID-19 spread

The last time the state reported 100 or more deaths from COVID-19 in a single day was on April 30 with 101 deaths. The highest one-day death total was on April 16 with 164 deaths.