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California Taking Over Some Hotels, Motels To Treat, Isolate Coronavirus Patients

Dave Royse

The state of California has secured the use of a small number of hotel rooms in at least three locations where it can house coronavirus patients who aren’t sick enough to be hospitalized but need to be quarantined, including some of the state's homeless. 

Newsom Order Allows Use of Hotels

Gov. Gavin Newsom said last week that he’d signed an executive order allowing the use of hotel rooms, and said then that some patients already had been moved to a 120-room hotel in San Carlos, in San Mateo County between San Francisco and San Jose.

“We’re not going to fill that up today, but the reason we want 120 beds is (in case) we need it,” Newsom said during a press conference last week.

Newsom said the state has more than 100,000 homeless people who may need to be isolated, and that hotel and motel rooms could be used for some of those people. 

County In Washington Using Motel

California is at least the second state where motels are being used in the coronavirus response. Officials in King County, Washington, which includes Seattle, bought an 85-bed former Econo Lodge in the town of Kent, Washington to house people who need to be isolated during the outbreak. 

Officials in Newsom’s office said some patients at the San Carlos hotel were people who had been aboard the Grand Princess cruise ship that docked near San Francisco. It’s not clear if the people quarantined at the hotel were residents of California, or from somewhere else.

Newsom said the state also has access to an unspecified number of hotel rooms in Monterey County, also in northern California.

The governor said hotels used to house quarantined patients have no other guests and would be “100 percent segregated from the general public.”

Newsom also said officials were planning to use 450 trailers around the state to house homeless people to keep them from congregating in large groups on the streets and in homeless camps in an effort to help reduce the spread of the disease. 

As of Sunday afternoon, California had 335 verified cases of COVID-19 and six deaths.

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