Houston City Council approved two three-month lease agreements with hotels for use as quaratine sites. Mayor Sylvester Turner clarified that one hotel is reserved for first responders and municipals workers and one is reserved for homeless residents. The hotel leased for first responders will serve as overflow for a hotel that is already being used by them downtown.
Original post: March 31. 8:00 a.m.
The city of Houston is considering an agreement with two hotels to lease rooms to use as quarantine sites for those who have tested positive for the coronavirus or are awaiting results.
“They will be for city employees, first responders and homeless individuals, in other words, those who may not be able to quarantine themselves at home,” Mayor Sylvester Turner said.
Of the two sites, 126 rooms will be available at a Red Roof Inn at 9902 Gulf Freeway, Houston, and 60 rooms will be available at a Best Western at 11611 Northwest Freeway, Houston.
The proposed lease agreements show the city of Houston paying up to $196,000 per month at the Red Roof Inn, or $51 per room per night, and $109,000 per month, or $61 per room per night, for the Best Western.
The proposals came as case counts topped 280 in Houston and 240 in Harris County and more frontline workers and members of Houston’s homeless population find themselves at risk of exposure to the virus.
Through the crisis, both first responders and medical workers have struggled to maintain adequate supplies of protective equipment and risk getting infected or spreading the virus to others.
As of March 30, the Houston Professional Firefighters Association reported seven firefighters had tested positive for the coronavirus and 136 were quarantined. Over 20 of the quarantined firefighters are being accommodated in a different Houston hotel, HPFA President Marty Lancton said.
"First responders should be kept together. It makes it easier for us to get resources to them," Lancton said.
City Council will consider the proposal April 1.