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‘We have a crisis’: 35% of Detroit nursing home resident tests are positive for COVID-19

DETROIT – Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan said Wednesday that of the nursing home residents who have been tested for coronavirus (COVID-19), 35 percent have the virus.

April 15 update -- Michigan coronavirus (COVID-19) cases up to 28,059; Death toll now at 1,921

“We have a crisis in the nursing homes. I know it’s true around the country,” Duggan said.

The city plans to test thousands of people next week, especially nursing home residents.

Duggan said despite the numbers from nursing homes, the city appears to be experiencing fewer cases of COVID-19.

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“Our data is showing that we are seeing fewer new cases. However, I still urge caution,” he said.

Duggan also said that the TCF Center field hospital currently has 16 patients, noting that “if this city is disciplined about social distancing, we won’t need 1,000 beds there.”

He said only 200-250 beds may be needed if Detroit takes social distancing seriously.

MORE: What the CDC says you should do if you believe you have coronavirus (COVID-19)

How COVID-19 Spreads

Person-to-person spread

The virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person.

  • Between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet).
  • Through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.

These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.

Can someone spread the virus without being sick?

  • Spread is possible before people show symptoms. People who are not showing symptoms can still be carrying the virus and can still pass it on to other people.

Spread from contact with contaminated surfaces or objects

It may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.

How easily the virus spreads

How easily a virus spreads from person-to-person can vary. Some viruses are highly contagious (spread easily), like measles, while other viruses do not spread as easily. Another factor is whether the spread is sustained, spreading continually without stopping.

Prevention & Treatment

There is currently no vaccine to prevent coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus. However, as a reminder, CDC always recommends everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory diseases, including:

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.

Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.

Click here for more guidelines from the CDC.

People who think they may have been exposed to COVID-19 should contact their healthcare provider immediately.

Question about coronavirus? Ask Dr. McGeorge here.

Read more about coronavirus here.


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