DETROIT (AP) — Hospitalizations in Detroit due to COVID-19 are rising as the city, and the rest of Michigan struggle to cope with one of the country’s highest infection rates.

Mayor Mike Duggan told reporters that 256 Detroit residents were hospitalized with the virus as of Tuesday, which was more than twice as many as two to three weeks ago.

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“It if doubles again in the next three weeks, we’re going to see the most serious problem we’ve had since the spring of 2020,” he said, adding that the spike isn’t a surprise because people are spending more time indoors due to colder weather.

“Statewide, this is the highest rate of infection we have had,” he said. “In the city of Detroit, not quite to our peak, but I would suspect in a week or two, Detroit will exceed that, as well.”

According to the city’s health department, Detroit has had more than 67,500 confirmed cases and 2,504 COVID-19 deaths since the start of the pandemic.

Daily COVID-19 cases have been rising since late summer, with 51 reported on Aug. 1 and 408 reported on Nov. 15.

Statewide, a daily average of about 5,669 new confirmed cases were reported Saturday through Monday.

Michigan has had more than 1.25 million confirmed COVID-19 cases and more than 23,300 deaths from the disease since the start of the pandemic.

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About 70% of state residents ages 16 and older have received at least one vaccine dose, according to Michigan’s Department of Health and Human Services.

Detroit is urging residents to get vaccinated or get booster shots, which are being offered at city-run centers.

“We’ll come out to the nursing homes,” Duggan said. “We’ll come out to the homeless shelters. We’ll come out to your house if you’re homebound.”

Duggan also said he is exploring a vaccine mandate for appointees working in his office.

“We still have in the city of Detroit a very low vaccination rate,” he said. “And one of the things that I want to do in the next week or two, if this continues to go the wrong direction, is I think the mayor’s office ought to establish a leadership role. That we’re talking about the appointees in my office, which is a pretty large executive office, all being vaccinated.”

In addition to this, he also explained that while he is exploring the idea of a mandate for appointees, he isn’t currently considering a vaccine mandate for city employees.

“There is absolutely no conversation about vaccines for unions or civil service employees,” Duggan said. “I made an absolute promise to the union leaders in this city for the last year and a half that anything we did we would do together, sitting down and talking, and there’s been no conversation about that all and no plan for it.”

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