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10 Tips to Battle COVID-19 if You Live in Detoit

detroit community health

The novel coronavirus, or COVID-19, has swept the world since it was first seen in Wuhan, China back in November, 2019. The virus is reported to have been a product of wet markets in Wuhan, and is a new strain of a previously known coronavirus. This new, highly contagious strain of virus is said to have crossed from animals into humans, and little is still known about the virus and the full extent of its effect on humans. What is known is that this new strain attacks the respiratory system, and causes death in primarily the elderly, but also even in healthy adult populations and children.

Symptoms of COVID-19 include a dry cough, fever, trouble breathing, and even more recently, lack of blood flow to body parts such as toes.

Is COVID-19 in Detroit?

COVID-19 has since infected hundreds of thousands of people in China, Korea, Italy, and the United States. Those living in major cities such as New York, Los Angeles, and San Francisco have been hit hard. Unfortunately, one of the most affected places in Michigan has been the city of Detroit.

Currently, the population of the city of Detroit is almost 670,000. Of those living in Detroit, 9,566 have been infected with COVID-19, according to the Michigan government website. Sadly, 1,147 deaths have also been reported since early May. This growing number of cases and fatalities has led more and more people to become more aware of their health. It has also caused cities to shut down businesses, schools, and parks in order to prevent the spread of the contagious virus.

Staying healthy in Detroit

It’s important now, more than ever, to realize that your best defense against the virus is not just social distancing, but also having a healthy immune system and body that can fight back against infections. It’s important to develop new health, fitness, and diet plans to maximize your body’s ability to recover from such a virus.

detroit community health

In addition, caring for your mental health during these times of isolation, and seeking resources for help during the pandemic are all important. Detroit community health centers are still open and ready to treat those infected by COVID-19, as well as give free resources for mental health among others. Here are 10 tips to follow if you are living in Detroit, need assistance for COVID-19, and are looking for Detroit community health centers and programs to help you and your loved ones battle the pandemic.

1. Know where to seek help

Various programs, such as Detroit Community Health Connection, the Michigan Department of Health, and HUDA are all great sources to seek information for various hospitals and resources. However, during these times, it’s important to know what level of care to seek beforehand. It has been widely recommended by the CDC that if one has symptoms of COVID-19, to not seek emergency care or urgent care unless symptoms are life-threatening. This prevents the overcrowding of hospitals and lab equipment for patients with mild illnesses, and reduces the risk of exposure to the virus.

Make sure to call ahead before you make an appointment with your primary care provider to get properly tested. It’s always a good idea to check in with your primary service provider, and let them know as well if you’ve been in contact with anyone who has tested positive for COVID-19. Your doctor can set up an appointment for you to be tested, and in the meantime give recommendations on whether or not to quarantine, take over-the-counter medications, and other self-care advice. Always remember, if you have life-threatening symptoms and cannot wait to be seen by your PCP, seek emergency help right away.

2. Choose healthy, affordable options for food

One of the biggest struggles Detroit faces with COVID-19 is how the virus affects those communities that are poverty-stricken, according to Dr. Abdul El-Sayed, Detroit’s former executive director of the Detroit Health Department. Detroit is one of the most poverty-stricken cities in America and felt the brunt of the great recession in 2008.

detroit community health

But being in Detroit is not an automatic death sentence simply because one is living in low-wage conditions. Healthier foods such as microgreens like wheatgrass, root vegetables, organic foods, and foods that can help fight diabetes and obesity can easily be incorporated into any diet on a budget.

Choosing fruit instead of fried foods for snacks, swapping water or sugar-free tea for soda, and a myriad of other common sense, cheap tricks can help someone trying to be healthier on a budget. This is extremely important, as poverty and low-wage have been linked to increases in obesity and diabetes. Sadly, obesity has been seen to worsen the effects of COVID-19. Now, more than ever, it’s important to start eating healthier.

3. Choose affordable medical plans

Detroit has some of the best hospitals in Michigan, including DMC Harper University Hospital, coming in at the fifth-best hospital in Michigan as reported by Patch. For Detroit residents, looking at programs offered by various Detroit community health centers, making time to compare medicare advantage plans, and ensuring your employer has the benefits to support you in case you fall ill can all contribute to better health. In these times of COVID-19, sick time up to 80 hours (two weeks) is now guaranteed by the Families First Coronavirus Response Act. Still, it’s important to have backup plans, reserves, and know what to do if you or a loved one has to be off work, hospitalized, or quarantined for an extended period of time.

4. Social distance as much as possible

Though Detroit is much smaller than cities like New York and Los Angeles, it is still abiding by stay-at-home orders issued by Mayor Mike Duggan after being one of the hardest-hit cities in Michigan. Luckily, numbers have shown just how successful social distancing in Detroit has been, as Duggan said Wednesday, May 6, that the weekly rate of deaths dropped over the past month.

As much as we would like to visit family or loved ones, some of the most vulnerable to COVID-19 is the elderly population. Visiting family at Detroit community health centers such as assisted living homes is virtually impossible right now, unless to provide elderly care as a CNA or other caregiver. Some families are resorting to greeting each other through windows, or simply through Facetime or phone calls. It’s important to not expose loved ones to the virus, and maintain appropriate isolation protocols.

5. Keep up with mental health

Because of the quarantine and isolation that we must experience during the pandemic, prioritizing mental health care is just as important as prioritizing physical health. Stress, anxiety, and depression can all have serious negative effects on the physical body. Detroit community health centers are available not only for urgent and emergency care, but also to provide mental health care. The Detroit Wayne Integrated Health Network, HUDA clinic, and other Detroit Community Health centers are all great starting places for those seeking help to maintain stress-free.

6. Keep up with regular health appointments if necessary

Detroit’s TCF field hospital finally closed May 7 after opening up extra beds in preparation for a surge of COVID-19 patients. Still, Detroit is not in the clear as is the rest of America. A resurgence of the virus could occur later on in the year in the winter, and until there is a vaccine available, it’s important for residents to not clog the already struggling healthcare system.

detroit community health

Make sure you are doing your best in keeping up with your care, and avoiding future trips to the hospital. Though many elective surgeries are now being put on hold, as your doctor for the best advice on keeping up with your personal health. For example, if you have an appointment with the oral surgeon for an abscessed tooth, and have been assured proper protection will be provided and the surgery is not elective, don’t wait until your tooth is rotten with an infection and take up a valuable bed in the emergency room. Now, more than ever, everyone must to their part in staying healthy.

7. Get regular exercise

Though stay-at-home orders have prevented large gatherings over 10 people, have closed down Detroit community health gyms and the YMCA, and even parks and beaches in some states, exercise is still very much doable. Exercise can help your body fight diabetes, obesity, and strengthen your natural immunity. Taking a walk around your neighborhood, or even searching low-impact, apartment-friendly exercise videos on Youtube can all help in getting you moving towards a better, stronger you. Some Detroit community health centers can also provide you with nutritionists, exercise, and best-practice tips during the pandemic.

Keep in mind, however, that some exercises done indoors might require more flexibility due to tight spaces. Visit your primary care provider, chiropractor, or a medical health professional to ensure your body is fit enough to start an exercise routine if you feel it is safe to do so.

8. Stay up-to-date on News

Though some states like Georgia, Texas, and now California have phases and a plan to reopen, Michigan and Detroit have their own plans to reopen. Duggan said that some 200 city workers will be returning to work to maintain parks on April 28, and so a re-opening of the city might be sooner than expected. However, things will remain different, with masks, frequent hand-washing, and social distancing still in effect. It’s important to check for updates on the status of your city, and abide by those rules in order to continue slowing the spread of COVID-19.

9. Stay focused on womens health

Unfortunately, the shutdown and isolating at home is proving to be more difficult for some more than others. Pregnant women are now suffering from effects of the coronavirus, as some are missing essential obstetrics procedures and must risk their lives entering hospitals to give birth. Womens health is truly more important than ever in the time of COVID-19. Detroit community health center Wayne State University is among many other health centers still focusing on giving women the help they need during COVID-19 by offering pregnant women resources. If you, or someone you know is pregnant, and currently worrying about their health and that of their baby, worried they do not have a partner to help, or anything else, make sure to follow-up with them and seek as many resources as possible during these times.

10. Stay as positive as possible

COVID-19 was an unexpected pandemic, and no one could have predicted that it would affect the world as much as it did. Shutdowns, loss of businesses, bankruptcy, and infection and death rates are just some of the drastic effects the virus has had on residents of Detroit. However, as mentioned before, numbers seem to be going down, and the curve continues to flatten, showing hope that the virus is on its way out. Every day we grow closer to having a vaccine, and freeing up space in hospitals to treat those who desperately need it.

detroit community health

In addition, most people who have COVID-19 will only have a mild case of the virus, and thus need only follow proper at-home care while the virus runs its course. Though there are many aspects of the virus we cannot control, what we can do is stay positive, abide by social distancing and sanitation guidelines, and remember that this too shall pass.

Moving from COVID-19

Detroit community health centers continue to provide care for those infected with the virus, and those that want to seek help for mental health issues that are arising with the pandemic. It’s important to monitor oneself for symptoms, try your best to stay healthy, and remain optimistic about COVID-19. If you want a sign that Detroit is getting better, just look at one of Detroit’s most powerful symbols of strength and prosperity: its automotive industry.

United Auto Workers are on board with Fiat Chrysler CEO Mike Manley to start reopening auto plants as early as May 18. Though the stay-at-home orders in Detroit are in effect until May 15, the flattening of the curve has given the auto industry hope that it can open just a couple days after the stay-at-home orders lift. Detroit is known for being a strong, bustling center of auto innovation and manufacturing, filled with strong people, and the UAW returning to work should, if anything, show a glimmer of hope, normality, and healing.

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