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Detroit workers will go door-to-door to pitch COVID-19 vaccines to residents

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Detroit – The city is preparing to recruit nonprofit groups knocking on doors across the city to encourage residents to get vaccinated against COVID-19.

Detroit City Council unanimously signed a $ 1.2 million contract Tuesday to hire Detroit Employment Solutions Corp. approved to coordinate efforts officials are expected to begin in late April.

“We’re going to knock on every apartment door in town and make sure everyone in Detroit knows how to make an appointment,” said Vicky Kovari, assistant to the executive board of Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan, who led the city’s 2020 census campaign.

The initiative is expected to employ 50 to 55 people, using a similar strategy to Detroit last spring, to drive the census. The team will work to ensure that eligible residents 16 and older are aware of the options and how to get the COVID-19 vaccine, Kovari told The Detroit News.

The advertising groups will spend six to seven weeks doing an initial round of public relations in all seven boroughs of the city council. In the lowest-income areas of Detroit, Kovari added, teams will do a second or third round, which will be completed by mid-September.

According to Kovari, the lowest response rates are concentrated in the impoverished areas of Detroit with high rental income, apartment buildings, and lack of internet access.

Approval for the plan comes a day after Duggan announced that there would be eight new vaccination sites in the neighborhood next week and urged residents to sign up as the city’s positivity rate for the virus continues to rise.

City officials have partnered with the Detroit Public Schools Community District and the Islamic Center of Detroit to expand vaccine distribution. Next week, one or more locations will be in operation every day in each municipality. Preparations for the Detroiters vaccination coincide with the public school district break, which is a face-to-face study this week, as the number of cases is expected to rise after the spring break.

The state recorded 8,413 new cases of the virus on Saturday, the largest daily number in four months. The city has a coronavirus test positivity rate of 16.3%, an increase of 2.6% in one month, Duggan and chief public health officer Denise Fair noted on Monday.

This compares with the state’s positivity rate at 15%, Oakland County at 14.8%, Wayne County at 16.6%, and Macomb County at 22.2% positivity.

“The only way to beat COVID-19 is to significantly expand our vaccination efforts,” Fair said during a press conference Monday. “This is the only city in the whole country where it is so easy to get a vaccine.”

The new vaccination sites will join the city’s COVID-19 vaccination strategy after Duggan announced last week that Detroit would increase daily vaccinations at the downtown TCF Center from 5,000 to 8,000 and a walk-up option in TCF’s rooftop garage will integrate.

Duggan said Monday that 263 people were hospitalized with COVID-19, a number that tripled from the last week of March when there were 91 hospitalizations in Detroit for the virus. Those who were hospitalized were mostly people in their thirties, forties, and fifties.

As of Sunday, nearly 20% of Detroit residents had at least one shot, compared to 38% of outer Wayne Counties and Oakland Counties, 31.5% of Macomb Counties, 41% of Washtenaw Counties, and 35.5% of Michigan.

Kovari said Tuesday that the next step in launching the acquisition program is to launch a call for proposals by the end of the week. Officials expect nonprofits to be selected and teams to take to the streets by the end of April.

The outreach plan has been in the works since January. Last year, census teams mobilized to knock on 400,000 doors to encourage Detroiters to participate.

The range is paid for with federal funds from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, Kovari said.

The city has already used some grants to advertise near churches and Detroit’s existing vaccination clinics in some neighborhoods of Detroit, Kovari said.

“But now we want to step it up and do more intensive acquisitions across the city,” she added.

Before Detroit city councilor Scott Benson stepped the contract from a subcommittee of the council on Monday, he noted the effort will help Detroiters learn the facts.

“We want to make sure everyone is trained and aware of the facilities that can be used to get this vaccination,” he said. “We just want to make sure that all Detroiters are aware of these opportunities and take advantage of them.”

Appointments for all locations can be arranged at (313) 230-0505.

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Dusty Kennedy