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PREVENTING CARBON MONOXIDE POISONING
• Service all heating systems and all gas-, oil- or coal-burning appliances by a technician annually.
• Install a battery-operated and electric-powered carbon monoxide detector in your home and check or replace the battery when you change the time on your clocks each spring and fall. If the detector sounds, leave your home immediately and call 911.
• Contact a doctor if you believe you have carbon monoxide poisoning.
• Do not use gas-powered devices such as a generator, grill or stove inside your home, basement or near a near a window or door. Generators should be operated more than 15 feet from the home.
• Do not run any gas-powered motor inside a closed structure, such as a garage.
About 94,000 people live in Livonia, and more than 40% of those people are over the age of 55. On top of that, Livonia has 15 long-term care facilities as well as a number of senior living facilities, memory care facilities and occupational therapy facilities where, according to Brosnan, more than 3,000 people are cared for.
"Our emergency operations team, our firefighters, our police officers are making more runs on a regular basis, on a daily basis, to those types of facilities," she said. "We've seen those numbers increase as proof that, again, we just have an aging population. That's what's driving this."
Brosnan said the city's spread could also be linked to a shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE) in those facilities.
"The people who are managing the care of our senior residents in those skilled nursing centers don't have nearly enough of the personal protective equipment that they need," she said. "What that does, unfortunately, is that means the people who are working there are exposed and then they're going home."
Wayne County hasn't given city officials the location of each COVID-19 case and has just started giving ages of the deceased, so Brosnan doesn't know the median age of every resident who's died. But she does know the Livonia Fire Department used to go on two or three calls related to senior facilities a day. Now, it's between 10 and 14 calls a day.
At the state level, the average age of the deceased is 72. People aged 20 to 107 are among the 1,076 in Michigan who've died as of April 9.
City officials knew the large senior population would be in danger, which is why Brosnan said the city closed its senior center, recreation center and library before Gov. Gretchen Whitmer issued the stay home order.
Livonia has also closed most city buildings, including city hall. Brosnan even works from home these days.
"I go into the office maybe a couple times a week to sign papers for a couple of minutes," she said. "But yeah, just about everybody is working from home."
As weather starts to warm and cabin fever sets it, Brosnan encouraged residents to stay the course and stay home to help lower the number of new coronavirus cases.
"This really is the time to remain vigilant," she said. "You know as the weather begins to break and as the holiday hits this weekend, I know people are getting tired and worn down. But if we're really going to mitigate the damage of this disease, we are going to have to remain more vigilant than ever."
Contact reporter Shelby Tankersley at firstname.lastname@example.org or 248-305-0448. Follow her on Twitter @shelby_tankk.