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Detroit to expand COVID-19 vaccine appointments, offer walk-up service

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Detroit –The city is increasing its daily vaccinations at the downtown TCF Center from 5,000 to 8,000 per day and offering a walk-up option.

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan said Wednesday the expansion begins Monday, allowing 16-year-olds and above to manage the shot through the existing drive-through area or park on the TCF roof and walk into the center.

The expansion, Duggan said, comes as Michigan leads the country in its COVID-19 infection rate and Detroit sees an increase in hospital stays.

Detroit has hospitalized more than 200 people, numbers roughly double what two weeks ago, Duggan said. He added that hospital residents are mostly people in their thirties and forties.

“These are numbers that we haven’t seen in a few months and so far we haven’t been able to put them down,” he said. “The only thing worse is the rest of the state, which is rising even faster. But that is no consolation for anyone in town.”

Earlier Wednesday, Governor Gretchen Whitmer had shared plans to double Michigan’s daily goal for COVID-19 vaccinations from 50,000 a day to 100,000 a day as hospital stays and infection rates continue to rise in the state.

Duggan said there are few hospitalizations for patients over 65 in southeast Michigan, Duggan noted, adding that younger age groups have only recently been eligible for vaccines. “What does that tell you? No wonder the vaccines work,” he said.

President Joe Biden’s administration said Tuesday it would increase Michigan’s vaccine allocation. The White House announced that it allocated 66,020 additional cans for Michigan’s shipping next week, a record high of 620,040 according to the governor’s office.

Michigan’s new fall rates and the percentage of tests that give positive results have risen steadily for five weeks after falling in January and February. Last week the state reported 27,758 new cases, a 14-week high and an 11.3% positivity rate, a 15-week high.

In Detroit, the number of COVID-19 cases reported over a six-week period in February and March rose 166%, with the number of cases increasing from 302 to 804.

The city’s positivity rate for COVID-19 testing has also increased, rising from 3.2% to 7% over the same period, Denise Fair, the city’s chief health officer, said Tuesday.

Michigan has the second most common cases of the B.1.1.7. Variant in the nation with more than 1,200 known cases. Wayne County has 105 cases of the variant and Detroit has 24.

Duggan on Wednesday also outlined plans for a “family day” on April 10th, which aims to vaccinate more than 9,000 city workers and their family members.

Currently around 35% to 40% of city workers are vaccinated. Those who ultimately choose not to have to undergo weekly tests as soon as they return to work in person.

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Dusty Kennedy