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Detroit to activate TCF Center garage, expand vaccinations to elderly

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Detroit – Mayor Mike Duggan announced Thursday that the city will expand access to the COVID-19 vaccine for the most vulnerable – the elderly and the homeless – and use the TCF Center’s garage as a public vaccination facility.

As of Monday, the city plans 20,000 senior appointments in the TCF Center’s garage over the next four weeks based on vaccine shipments from the state, Duggan said.

The city’s expansion follows Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s announcement Wednesday that the state will extend vaccinations to all Michigan residents over 65, as well as frontline workers and teachers, starting Monday.

Detroit begins vaccinating residents over the age of 75 and any “good neighbor” drivers over 65 who escort them to the TCF center, as well as key workers including K-12 teachers and child carers.

“Tomorrow I’m going to have a zoom call with a lot of ministers in this city. I think churches can play a part in that,” Duggan said. “I want 65-year-old good neighbors to work with someone in your church who is 78, 80 or 85 years old and can’t get out. And if you drive them, we’ll all vaccinate you.”

Duggan also announced plans to step up vaccinations for the city’s critical workers, including police officers and bus drivers.

The city’s three-tier approach begins on Friday with police officers and DDOT bus drivers. sheAfter their shift ends, they receive district-to-district vaccinations at the Detroit Fire Department’s Walter Harris Training Facility. After the departments have been completed, other important city employees will be hired. Workers also get an extra hour’s wages for vaccination, but vaccination isn’t mandatory, Duggan said.

“I think 40% of Detroiters want it tomorrow, 40% think they should get it but don’t want to be on the first wave, and about 20% will never get it because they don’t trust anything that has been said,” said Duggan. “Even for the 200,000 Detroiters who want the vaccine tomorrow, we have to work really hard to get these people in.”

As of Wednesday, the city plans to distribute 400 through the TCF center, 600 on Thursday, 800 on Friday, and 1,000 each day the following week.

“We’ll be ramping up as fast as the federal government sends this vaccine,” he said. Duggan said he believed the city could administer up to 5,000 vaccines a day, “… if the vaccines are delivered.”

Also on Friday, the city’s health department will vaccinate residents and employees of Boulevard Manor, the only nursing home in the city, without an existing vaccination plan through a private provider. Starting next week, the Department of Health will begin vaccinating people in 60 senior citizens’ homes and 29 homeless shelters across the city in partnership with nursing and pharmacy students at Wayne State University Medical School.

Denise Fair, Detroit’s chief public health officer, expects all vaccinations in homeless shelters and senior housing buildings will be completed by the end of February.

“Our outreach strategy is to go straight to these seniors in homeless shelters and get the vaccine right to them,” Fair said. “And as the state continues this COVID-19 strategy, we’ll make sure the vaccine is available to anyone who wants it.”

From left, Denise Fair, Detroit Chief Public Health Officer, encourages everyone to wear their masks as they watch Mayor Mike Duggan, Detroit Police Department chief James Craig, and Lt.  Mark Young, president of the Detroit Police Lieutenants and Sergeants Association, joins in during a news conference Thursday.

Renting the TCF Center garage costs the city $ 45,000 per month per city has signed a lease for several months, said Detroit Chief Operating Officer Hakim Berry.

Berry believes the vaccination effort will go as smoothly as the tests at the State Fairground. “If we get up to 5,000 vaccines a day, we could have a team of up to 155 people to support us,” he said.

“As we expand and have better weather, we can expand to some of the garages available on the Ilitch properties,” said Berry.

As of Wednesday, Detroit has counted 26,373 cases and 1,703 deaths from the virus. According to the database, nursing homes are responsible for 379 deaths.

The city has approximately 40,000 people over the age of 75 and a third of coronavirus-related deaths were Detroiters between the ages of 65 and 75, Duggan said.

“We can’t afford to be distracted because the people of this town are at stake,” Duggan said. “The numbers continue to show that African Americans who contract COVID are three times more likely to die. The city of Detroit continues to lead this state with the lowest or near lowest infection rate every day.”

Michigan has added 15,124 cases and 496 deaths from the virus so far this week.

Working with Henry Ford Health System, the city began rolling out the first round of Moderna vaccines in the last week of December. Topping the list were 1,200 medical first responders working for the Detroit Fire Department, 30 city health workers so they can vaccinate others, and 450 home health workers.

During the city’s final press conference, Wright Lassiter, CEO of Duggan, Fair and Henry Ford Health System, received the Pfizer vaccine.

Officials said no employee would be reprimanded for not receiving the vaccine.

The state reported receiving a total of about 152,000 vaccine doses, Whitmer said Wednesday. As of Monday, a total of 520,000 vaccines had been distributed to hospitals and health departments, meaning most of them have not yet been given to patients.

The state has directed hospitals and health departments that Michigan’s goal is to distribute 90% of its vaccines within seven days.

The city health department was given 2,000 vaccines and another 50,000 doses were distributed to hospitals and pharmacies across the city, Fair said.

Detroit Police Chief James Craig, who battled the virus last year, once said more than 600 officers had been quarantined in the department. Five members of the police department and Wayne County Sheriff Benny Napoleon died as a result of the virus.

“This virus keeps attacking sometimes … For me, the key to overcoming this disease has been to keep moving and never give up. Many of our members face the same challenge,” said Craig. “While we have itWe currently have 39 sworn members in quarantine and 29otherMembers whose last test result was positive. However, over 1,400 members are fully back on duty. “

Mark Young, president of the Detroit Police Officers Association, said he was excited about the vaccine because “I need my people to do it. They deserve their retirement, and I want them to find out. I want their families to be safe , I would like to.” Community Safe. There is no social distancing or policing. “

Still, health officials report that some people who were originally eligible for vaccination are holding back.

As of Tuesday, 16,000 Henry Ford Health System employees have received or scheduled to receive the first dose of the vaccine. More than 6,000 employees have turned down the vaccination, which is about 19% of the total workforce, spokesman David Olejarz told The Detroit News.

Around 8,400 employees have not yet responded to vaccination invitations.

“This may be because they have not been working since the invitation expired and have not seen the invitation or have not yet made a decision about whether to receive the vaccine,” Olejarz said. “We do not have a category of employees listed as ‘deferred’. They have either received or arranged a vaccination appointment, declined the invitation or have not yet responded.”

How to make an appointment

Starting Monday, Detroit residents 75 and over and their “good neighbor” drivers 65 and over can make an appointment in the TCF Center garage at (313) 230-0505. The first appointments take place on Wednesday.

Two dates are set, one for each recording. The second shot will be either three weeks or four weeks later.

As more independent vaccination sites go online at pharmacies and other locations around the city, a map of locations will be added to the city’s website at detroitmi.gov.

Anyone receiving the vaccine will be asked to show ID, sign a consent form, and stay in their vehicle for 15 minutes to ensure there are no side effects.

“I’m not saying that there is no risk. Every time you have a vaccine there is some risk,” Duggan said. “When you look at the death rate and long-term effects of COVID, I think the risk of a vaccine is minimal compared to the risk of COVID … We will have medical staff on hand, if you have an allergic reaction, we will people have there. “

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Twitter: @SarahRahal_

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