The Detroit Health Department Continues to Monitor COVID-19


Long before Michigan confirmed its first case of novel coronavirus, the Detroit Health Department had been preparing its team to deal with COVID-19. For weeks, the Detroit Health Department has been analyzing ever-evolving information from the state and from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention daily, fielding questions from health care workers, educating the community on the ground and through social media, and readying tailored public service announcements.  

They’re also offering guidance on individual assessments through the Communicable Diseases department. “Our role at the Detroit Health Department is to promote the safety and wellbeing of residents and visitors to our city,” says Chief Public Health Officer Denise Fair.

At the time of this writing, confirmed cases of COVID-19 had surpassed 372,000 globally, with over 49,000 cases being reported in the United States – resulting in at least 624 deaths. In early March, the World Health Organization officially declared the outbreak a pandemic, and as of March 24, 551 cases and at least eight deaths had been reported in Detroit.

Caution and diligence are warranted, but the Detroit Health Department warns against panic. According to the World Health Organization, about 80% of those infected with COVID-19 recover from the disease without needing special treatment. Fair says, “Our goal is to reduce anxiety and reduce fear.”

The best ways to protect against the spread of COVID-19 are to wash your hands routinely for at least 20 seconds, avoid touching your face, stay home when you feel ill, avoid close proximity to people who are sick, cough into a tissue and immediately dispose of it, and clean and disinfect surfaces regularly. 


The Detroit Health Department also recommends that you get the flu vaccine. While the flu shot won’t protect you from COVID-19 directly, it does have an indirect effect on responsiveness. Because the symptoms of COVID-19 can mimic those of other ailments – fever, fatigue and dry cough – patients going to the hospital with these symptoms, which may be caused by the common cold or seasonal flu, can bog down the health care system, deplete valuable resources and make it harder to identify those infected with COVID-19.

However, if you do develop symptoms, call your primary care physician or the Detroit Health Department for the appropriate next steps. Fair says, “Residents can trust that the Detroit Health Department will maintain diligence and preparedness.”

The World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention bust COVID-19 myths.

• COVID-19 can be transmitted in all areas, including warm and humid climates.

• Cold weather and snow CANNOT kill COVID-19.

• Taking a hot bath will not prevent you from catching COVID-19.

• COVID-19 CANNOT be transmitted through mosquito bites.

• COVID-19 CANNOT be spread between pets, like cats and dogs, and humans.

• Vaccines for pneumonia, like the pneumococcal vaccine and the Haemophilus influenza type B (Hib) vaccine, do not protect against COVID-19.

• Antibiotics are NOT effective against COVID-19. Antibiotics do not work against viruses, only bacteria.

• There is NO evidence of COVID-19 transmission associated with food. Coronaviruses are generally spread from person-to-person through respiratory droplets.

For more information on COVID-19, visit, call the Detroit Health Department at 313-876-4000 or email

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