A fifth of Detroit's police force is now quarantined; 25 officers test positive for coronavirus


  • Steve Neavling

A fifth of Detroit’s police force is quarantined, and 25 officers have tested positive for the coronavirus, Mayor Mike Duggan said Thursday.

The update comes after two members of the Detroit Police Department died from the coronavirus in the past week.

Duggan also warned that Detroit, which has 868 positive cases and 15 deaths, is showing troubling signs that it may soon experience the kind of outbreak that has slammed New York City, which has become the epicenter of the coronavirus in the U.S.

“We are preparing as if we get the kind of surge that New York had,” Duggan said, adding that Michigan will likely surpass Washington and California in total coronavirus cases.

“It is really concerning,” Duggan said. “Michigan is at serious risk.”
With a severe shortage in testing kits, Duggan believes far more Michigan residents have the coronavirus than have been reported. About 1,500 Michigan residents are tested a day. Duggan said the state needs to test about 5,000 people a day.

"There are thousands of people who have coronavirus in the state,” Duggan said. "They just aren't being tested."

Michigan identified 2,856 positive cases Thursday.

On Thursday, state Rep. Tyrone Carter, D-Detroit, became the first state lawmaker to test positive for the coronavirus.

“I am thinking of Representative Carter and his family, and am hopeful for a speedy recovery,” Gov. Gretchen Whitmer tweeted. “We all have to do our part to slow the spread of COVID-19.”

Duggan also said a Detroit firefighter has tested positive for COVID-19.

With an aging and lower-income population, Detroit is far more vulnerable than most cities, said Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, chief medical officer for the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.

"Part of what we're seeing in Detroit is there's such a high number of individuals who have those underlying conditions, who have the diabetes and the heart disease, who may have obesity," Khaldun said Tuesday. "And so what you're seeing now is when you have really generations of concentrated poverty, what we call social determinants of health, that impact a place, a city like Detroit, when you have pandemics, it's going to hit those places harder."

Duggan has been working with hospitals, businesses, and other local governments to provide more testing sites. The city will soon provide drive-through testing at the Michigan Fairgrounds.

“Uniting as a region to combat the spread of this virus is critical," Macomb County Executive Mark Hackel said in a news release. "Creative partnerships such as this are what unite us in the fight."

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