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 A worker at McLaren Macomb hospital in Mount Clemens conducts medical screening March 17. The drive-thru line of cars waiting to be tested at the outdoor coronavirus tent was about 40 vehicles long in the afternoon.

A worker at McLaren Macomb hospital in Mount Clemens conducts medical screening March 17. The drive-thru line of cars waiting to be tested at the outdoor coronavirus tent was about 40 vehicles long in the afternoon.

Photo by Alex Szwarc


Mount Clemens responds to COVID-19

McLaren operating coronavirus screening tent

By: Alex Szwarc | Mount Clemens - Clinton - Harrison Journal | Published March 20, 2020

MOUNT CLEMENS — Mount Clemens City Manager Don Johnson originally thought City Hall wouldn’t have to close.

That was March 16, but due to the fast-evolving coronavirus situation, Mount Clemens officials had to make the decision to shut down City Hall.

Effective March 17, all Mount Clemens city buildings, including City Hall, are closed to the public. City employees will still report to work, and they are available via email and/or phone.

COVID-19, which stands for coronavirus disease 2019, is caused by a virus named SARS-CoV-2. It first appeared in late 2019 in Wuhan, China.

A message on the city’s website states that it anticipates the restrictions being in place until April 5.

“During this time, city inspectors and water and sewer employees will not be entering private residences,” the message states.

There will be no water shut-offs and bills can be paid online, through the mail, via telephone or at two drop boxes at City Hall, located at 1 Crocker Blvd.

As of March 18, the state of Michigan reported that there were 65 cases of COVID-19 in Michigan, with eight in Macomb County.

On March 13, city officials made the decision to close the Mount Clemens Ice Arena, the Mount Clemens Recreation Center and the Wilson Gym indefinitely.

Johnson said the city is looking at what it might have to do if the situation worsens. Within city facilities, he said, the level of sanitation has increased over the last couple of weeks.

The ice arena posted on its website that a date has not been selected for when it will reopen.

“We will be monitoring things on a daily basis and making decisions at that time,” the online message states. “Thank you to all of our patrons for your support and patience during these trying times.”

It was also announced that the Mount Clemens Public Library will be closed until April 5. A message on the library website states that the decision was made in an effort to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

“All library materials will have their due dates extended during this time period, and as always, there will be no library fines,” the statement reads. “Please keep all materials at home, and please do not return them to other Suburban Library Cooperative libraries at this time.”

Soon after a state of emergency was declared in Macomb County, McLaren Macomb Hospital in Mount Clemens opened an outdoor coronavirus screening tent. It is open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily.

A sign posted outside the tent reads that screening is only for people experiencing severe respiratory infection symptoms, including fever, cough and shortness of breath. Only those experiencing these symptoms require testing.

“They’ll use the results of that to rule out coronavirus,” Johnson said.

Around 40 cars were lined up on Harrington Street the afternoon of March 17 with people waiting to be seen.

In his time in government, dating back to the 1970s, Johnson said he can’t recall a time that such extensive measures have been put in place as a society regarding a health crisis.

“I can remember one health scare in the ’70s, the swine flu, but we weren’t shutting down buildings, but we did have a big immunization problem,” he said. “But there was a vaccine for it.”

Johnson reminded residents to take precautions and to not panic, adding that many preventative measures are being taken.