Number of coronavirus deaths doubles in 2 days in Detroit as hospitals reach capacity


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Detroit reported 21 new coronavirus deaths – the largest increase yet – bringing the city’s total to 73.

The number of positive cases rose to 2,086, up 285 on Monday.

The increase comes as public health officials are bracing for exponential spikes in new cases and deaths for at least the next two weeks.

The number of deaths have more than doubled in two days, a troubling trend in a city with overwhelmed hospitals.

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“Unfortunately we know several of our hospitals in the state, particularly in southeast Michigan, are at capacity,” Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, chief medical executive and chief deputy for health in Michigan, said in a news conference Monday. Based on the trajectory of the spread of this disease and the number of people who are requiring hospitalization, we need to utilize alternative nontraditional sites of care.”

Over the weekend, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced that the TCF Center (formerly Cobo Hall) will serve as a makeshift hospital for up to 900 overflow patients.

Public health officials are looking for additional alternative sites to treat COVID-19 patients as hospitals reach capacity and are running out of ventilators, beds, and personal protection gear like gloves, masks, hospital gowns, and hand sanitizer.

Detroit Police Chief James Craig and 69 of his employees have tested positive for coronavirus, with hundreds quarantined, as of Monday. Eight firefighters also have confirmed infections.

The city is dramatically increasing its testing capacity and is expected to receive 5,000 fast testing kits next week that produce results in 15 minutes, which Duggan called "a game changer.”

“This is what we’ve been waiting for,” the mayor said. The city also administered more than 1,000 tests since it created a drive-through location at Michigan State Fairgrounds.

“We’re going to make testing available to every single person in this city who needs it,” Duggan said Monday.

State Rep. Isaac Robinson, a Detroit Democrat, died Sunday from a suspected coronavirus infection. His friend and colleague, state Rep. Tyrone Carter, also from Detroit, tested positive for the coronavirus last week.

Other well-known Detroit figures who have been infected include Detroit community leader Marlowe Stoudamire, who died, and long-time civil rights activist Rev. Horace Sheffield III, who is recovering.

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