Apr 3, 2020
Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan COVID-19 Briefing Transcript April 1
Dr. William W. O’Neill: (00:01)
Yeah, we’re going to be giving … one group is going to get placebo, one group is going to get the drug treatment that you get from malaria prophylaxis. So if you’re going to a malaria prone zone, a doctor gives you two of these pills every week. So you get two pills a week for eight weeks and then you get sugar pills in between. You don’t know what you’re getting. So, that’s the one dose. And the second dose is getting two pills to start and then one pill a day for eight weeks. And that’s the dose that’s being used for lupus prophylaxis. So we’re using safe doses that have had a long clinical track record for safety so that we’re not posing any risk to the people that are in the protocol.
Mike Duggan: (00:39)
Is that 200 milligrams?
Dr. William W. O’Neill: (00:41)
Yeah, 200 milligrams a day for eight weeks.
Mike Duggan: (00:43)
Okay. And I think you just answered the last question that came up was, was there any concerns about safety or adverse effects?
Dr. William W. O’Neill: (00:51)
Well, the drug has been approved for over 70 years, it’s very commonly available and there’s tons and tons of experience both with rheumatology for rheumatoid arthritis and for lupus, but also for the treatment of malaria. So there’s a very good well-established safety protocol. That’s the reason why as people are actively testing it in the United States right now, there are at least four ongoing trials of similar nature. One at the University of Washington, one at the University of Minnesota and one at Columbia University. So we’ll be the fourth study in the country that are going to be looking at sort of the early phase of this disease.
Mike Duggan: (01:27)
Is anybody else testing it on a prevention basis?
Dr. William W. O’Neill: (01:31)
There are people that are looking at for prophylaxis, so if you’re a first contact, if you’re living with a contact, and this is a study from the University of Washington and the University of Minnesota is looking for healthcare providers who’ve been exposed. So, they’re known contacts. This is a little different. This is just coming in not knowing whether or not people are exposed to COVID or not.
Mike Duggan: (01:57)
All right, so this is the first study. If I’m understanding them, that it will be given out to folks before they have any reason to believe they have it, to be able to test what happens, right?
Dr. William W. O’Neill: (02:09)
Right. If you’re a healthcare worker next Fall, we will definitively know whether or not this medication prevents you from getting ill if you’re exposed to these patients.
Mike Duggan: (02:20)
Okay. That was the last question. All right, we’re going to take a couple minute break and properly sanitize this and then we’ll do the second part of this where we’ll talk about the services to the people of the City of Detroit. Thank you.
Mike Duggan: (02:31)
Mike Duggan: (06:00)
Okay. Are we ready? Give everybody a chance to get in place. The deadly spread of COVID-19 through this community continues. We lost, as of noon today, 15 more of our neighbors. And you may have seen Council President, Brenda Jones, who I talked to a little while ago, has now tested positive. She sounded good when I talked to her and she wants everybody to know that she’s doing well. I talked to Chief Craig a little while ago, he’s still home and he’s still fighting it, but we’re to the point now where we know … we all know people who have been affected by this disease. Our drive through testing site is going to be a huge part of this strategy. People need to know whether they have this disease and we’re doing 500 to 600 tests a day and we got the numbers in from the first two days, testing the first 500 cases, 43% of the people we tested, tested positive.
Mike Duggan: (07:37)
That’s a pretty troubling number. I talked to Dr. Khaldoon last night, the state’s numbers overall since the start, have been running about 25% positive. And so we don’t know yet whether the sickest people were the first 500 who came through or whether this disease has spread so far that 43% of the folks being tested have it, but all of these numbers continue to go in a more difficult direction. It is critical that every single Detroiter have access to the tests. And we continue to run the only major testing center in Michigan, because I’m committed to that. I’ve had folks in the last couple of days tell me I can’t get a prescription, and it’s not just the fairgrounds. In the state of Michigan, the state will not let you have a test without a prescription. That’s a state mandate, but there is no place in Michigan that’s easier to get a prescription than in the city of Detroit.
Mike Duggan: (08:39)
We now have through Director Affairs efforts, 30 doctors offices and clinics in the city of Detroit taking new patients today. They’re on our website at detroitmi.gov. Two-thirds of them have promised to take care of everybody, regardless of insurance and regardless of ability to pay. And so if you hear somebody saying, “I need a test but I can’t get a prescription.” Please help them, show them the website, make a phone call to one of these physician offices. And I think if you have symptoms, I believe the prescriptions will be available. The other piece that we have to solve is transportation, because right now the only folks getting tested are people who have cars. And that’s the way we had to start it. And so I have a huge team working on this and I expect by tomorrow that we will have transportation for any Detroiter that gets a prescription and does not have a car.
Mike Duggan: (09:39)
We are going to arrange transportation to the testing site so that you can get tested. We’ll be announcing the details on that at three o’clock tomorrow. You’ll be able to make appointments on Saturday and start getting rides to the testing sites by Monday, but I am not going to stop until everyone in this city who needs a test can get a test. As far as our first responders, we had very good news at the Detroit Police Department yesterday, only 13 officers newly quarantined, far and away the lowest number we’ve had in more than two weeks.
Mike Duggan: (10:15)
Dr Dunn’s program that he put in a week ago with the Detroit Police Department, with the temperatures and the like, I believe have turned the corner. So the numbers for the day over all in the city are this. We have 106 employees in the Detroit Police Department who have tested positive for COVID-19. 106 Detroit Police Department employees. 24 Detroit Fire Department employees and eight DDOT employees have tested positive. From quarantine, we have now 524 police officers on quarantine. Another 123 civilians. But again, with Dr. Dunn’s assistance, I’m very pleased at the fact 141 officers have returned to work and 98 more are in process.
Mike Duggan: (11:07)
We’ve got the kind of rigorous medical care that we should have so that those who are sick are getting good treatment and those who are healthy are coming back to work. We’ve got 126 employees of the Detroit Fire Department currently quarantined and 133 employees of DDOT currently quarantine. That is going to start to change dramatically when we start using the five Abbott Lab machines this evening and we will be running them tomorrow and through the weekend. They will get results in 15 minutes. If these five Abbott Lab machines work as promised and we’re going to be the first ones to find out, we could potentially return large numbers of employees who are quarantined back to work because they’re healthy and those who are tested positive, we will make sure they get the right care.
Mike Duggan: (12:02)
This is the game changer we have been waiting for. Too many times our officers, our firefighters, our bus drivers get tested and are waiting five days, seven days, eight days for a return. You don’t know where you stand and you don’t know if you’re infecting people or if you’re quarantined unnecessarily. This is going to be a great thing and I know Dr. Dunn in particular who has been working 18 hours a day to get our first responders back to work is looking forward to that. Of the 15 people we lost in the last day or so, three of them hit really close to home. A Detroit Police Department Chaplain, Valerie Parks, a five year veteran of the Detroit Police Department in the eighth precinct. She’s known to everybody as somebody who would hug you when you were down, a terrible loss to this community. One of our building and safety inspectors, Jeremiah Brooks, a three year employee. Person with a heart of gold.
Mike Duggan: (13:07)
He would take on any assignment nights and weekends and getting inspections so businesses could get open. He never turned down an assignment. And it was a terrible loss to lose Mr. Brooks. And then a one that I think should touch everybody in the city of Detroit, should touch everybody in the country. Jason Hargrove, a bus driver, who knew the risks, was vocal about the risks, went to work anyway. On March 17th the DDOT drivers stopped working because they didn’t feel that enough was being done to protect their health. I dropped the rest of my schedule and I spent the day with them both at the Shoemaker and the Gilbert terminals with those drivers. And they told me stories of passengers getting on the bus and coughing and sneezing as they were putting money in the fare box, as well as other issues. And as a result of that, I ordered the front doors closed.
Mike Duggan: (14:18)
I ordered that we stopped collecting fares and that people board and de-board in the back to protect our drivers. I know a number of other cities have not done that. They said they couldn’t afford to lose the revenue. I just didn’t think we should be putting our drivers at risk. But if you haven’t seen Jason Hargrove’s post on social media, on Facebook, everybody in Detroit and everybody in America should watch it, because he was infected before we closed the front doors. And he tells the story of a passenger getting on the bus and coughing on him. And some of his language is graphic, but I don’t know how you can watch it and not tear up. He knew his life was being put in jeopardy even though he was going to work for the citizens of Detroit every day by somebody who just didn’t care.
Mike Duggan: (15:22)
Somebody who didn’t take this seriously and now he’s gone. And every time I see images of a group of people still clustering in this city or this country, I think about the Jason Hargrove’s on the buses. I think about the cops. I think about the nurses and the doctors in the hospitals who are going to work for you every single day, and for you not honor the social distancing request, you’re putting really good people like Jason Hargrove’s lives on the line. I hope that people in this city, and the people of this country will watch his video and listen to his words, because it’s the message this country needs to hear. Dr. Dunn, I thought was the hardest working man in Detroit. He started off as the Medical Director for the Detroit Fire Department and when COVID-19 started to spread through the Detroit Police Department. I went to him and said, “How about you take the police too?”
Mike Duggan: (16:31)
And 10 days or so ago, we put in new implementations at the police departments, our officers are wearing masks, in the precincts we’ve got distancing. We’re following really good protocols. When you are off sick, we are calling and checking on your symptoms every day. If we don’t reach you for two days, we go out to your house to see what’s going on. And we’ve added other initiatives. Today, Dr. Dunn is now the Medical Director for DDOT, and we already started last week with a number of these measures to protect our bus drivers. We are going to ramp them up with every bit of vigor. We are now going to put systems in place that when bus drivers show up for work, we’re going to take your temperature before you come in the door. If your temperature is too high, we’re sending you home. If you’re sick, we’re going to make sure you’re at the right doctor.
Mike Duggan: (17:23)
We’re going to make sure we’re checking on you every day and the hotel option that the Greek Town Casino has been so gracious to provide for police officers and firefighters who are going home to family members who are elderly or have medical issues and they’re afraid to take the disease home, as of today, we are extending the hotel services to our DDOT drivers. If you’ve got somebody in your household that is vulnerable because of health reasons or a newborn baby, or the like, we are going to have hotel rooms available for our DDOT drivers just like our cops and firefighters to be able to stay so you don’t bring it home to your family. And with that, I can never express the gratitude I have for Dr. Dunn, but he has stepped up now and is going to provide the same kind of great support to DDOT..
Mike Duggan: (18:18)
And Dr. Dunn is going to lay out a six point plan to protect all the employees in that department. Dr. Dunn.
Dr. Dunn: (18:26)
Thank you, mayor. When I heard about the tragedy at DDOT, I thought of my own initial experiences as a student in Detroit. My wife and I would ride the bus and that was my first experience with the DDOT drivers who were always great and I definitely saw them not being treated well sometimes by people getting on the bus. And it was just tragic to hear this story and to see the posts regarding that. And when he asked me about this, I said, “I want to do anything I can to protect our folks who are out there, because they are the only way that people get around a lot of the time.” And it was the way that I got around for a while myself.
Dr. Dunn: (19:10)
So we want to take the lessons that we’ve learned with the police department and the fire department that we’ve already been applying and apply them even more rigorously. So number one, we want to stay focused on wellness. Anytime that someone is ill, they can activate-
Speaker 4: (19:28)
… on our model as it relates to the number of deaths that we believe we can expect from COVID-19, but I was asked yesterday about the national modeling that was used at the press conference at the White House two nights ago. As you might remember, it showed that nationwide we could expect between 100,000 and 240,000 deaths. That model suggests that in Louisiana, the total deaths would be about 800, I’m sorry, 1,834.
Speaker 4: (20:01)
I would assume, but I’m not certain, that that’s sort of the midline between those two ranges. Because, nationally it was between 100,000 and 240,000. So there has to be a range for Louisiana as well. And we hope to be able to update you more on this shortly. But, I would like to remind everyone, and I say remind, may be the wrong word, that model was used two nights ago from the White House to talk about the number of deaths we could expect-