Duggan urges those with fever to stay away from City Hall

Christine MacDonald
The Detroit News

Detroit — Mayor Mike Duggan said Wednesday that he's partially opened the city's emergency operations center and encouraging residents with a fever or cough not to come to city facilities in hopes of mitigating the spread of the coronavirus.

No cases have been identified in Detroit as of Wednesday evening, Duggan said, but he cautioned it was "inevitable." 

"What we are doing is not panicking, we are preparing," Duggan said during a press conference at his office.

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan

State officials declared a state of emergency Tuesday night after announcing Michigan had its first confirmed cases with patients identified from Wayne and Oakland counties. That person in Wayne County is not a city of Detroit resident, Duggan said. 

Duggan echoed Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's calls for gatherings of more than 100 people to be canceled out of caution. 

The city, meanwhile, started on Wednesday enrolling residents in a relief plan aimed at ensuring all residents have water service during the outbreak. 

He said 139 homes were already in the process of having service restored and another 261 with recent shutoff notices were enrolled Wednesday in the $25-a-month plan.

The board of the Great Lakes Water Authority voted on Wednesday to double the funding for the relief program to $5 million, and they have raised the income levels required to qualify. 

The city has also set up a medical response team to specifically treat employees who become ill. 

Duggan says he plans to talk to pastors about taking precautions in church this Sunday and that he is reviewing bus cleaning schedules with city staff. 

"This virus will stop spreading when we start being responsible to our neighbors," Duggan said. "If you have a fever stay home. It's the single most responsible thing that you could do."

Also Wednesday, organizers of Detroit's St. Patrick's Day parade announced they were canceling the event

"Companies and groups need to think carefully about how important a gathering is and how closely the people are packed into that gathering," Duggan said. 

The press conference comes after several of Michigan's largest universities canceled classes Wednesday and announced they'd be moving to online instruction.