Detroit Mayor Warns of 'Serious Problem' if COVID Cases Continue Rising in City

Detroit is facing a "serious problem" as COVID-19 cases continue to rise along with hospitalizations and deaths, with Michigan holding one of the country's highest infection rates, the Associated Press reported.

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan told reporters that the number of Detroit residents that were hospitalized with the coronavirus doubled from two to three weeks ago, with 256 residents in the hospital on Tuesday.

"It if doubles again in the next three weeks, we're going to see the most serious problem we've had since the spring of 2020," he said, adding that the infection spike was not a surprise because people are spending more time indoors due to colder weather.

Detroit has had more than 67,500 confirmed COVID cases and 2,504 COVID deaths since the start of the pandemic, according to the city's health department.

"Statewide, this is the highest rate of infection we have had," Duggan said. "In the city of Detroit, not quite to our peak, but I would suspect in a week or two, Detroit will exceed that, as well."

The state of Michigan now holds a daily average of about 5,669 new confirmed COVID cases that were reported Saturday through Monday. Michigan has also had more than 1.25 million confirmed coronavirus cases and more than 23,300 deaths from the virus since the beginning of the pandemic.

Detroit is encouraging those who have not been vaccinated to get vaccinated or receive booster shots as soon as possible, but Duggan also said he is not currently considering enforcing a vaccine mandate for city employees.

For more reporting from the Associated Press, see below.

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Detroit is facing a “serious problem” as COVID-19 cases continue to rise along with hospitalizations and deaths, with Michigan holding one of the country’s highest infection rates. Clinicians care for COVID-19 patients in a makeshift ICU (Intensive Care Unit) at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center on January 21, 2021, in Torrance, California. Mario Tama/Getty Images

Daily COVID-19 cases have been on the rise since late summer, with 51 reported on August 1 and 408 reported on November 15.

About 70% of state residents ages 16 and older have received at least one vaccine dose, according to Michigan's Department of Health and Human Services.

"We'll come out to the nursing homes," Duggan said. "We'll come out to the homeless shelters. We'll come out to your house if you're homebound."

"There is absolutely no conversation about vaccines for unions or civil service employees," Duggan said. "I made an absolute promise to the union leaders in this city for the last year and a half that anything we did we would do together, sitting down and talking, and there's been no conversation about that all and no plan for it."

detroit airport travel holiday
Travelers and staff bustle about the Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport on November 21, 2021, in Detroit, Michigan. Major airlines are facing numerous problems during the holiday travel season, including staffing shortages, COVID-19, and a skyrocketing number of people traveling for the holidays. Matthew Hatcher/Getty Images