City’s new affordable housing project will temporarily serve as a quarantine facility
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Although the number of new COVID cases in Hawaii is declining, Honolulu Emergency Services Director Dr. Jim Ireland says the need for quarantine facilities remains.
That’s why Ewa’s newest affordable housing project will temporarily house COVID patients who have nowhere else to go. Ireland said the units will also help take some strain off Hawaii hospitals.
The housing project, West Loch Modular, officially opened its doors Monday morning.
“It’s brand new. It’s open. It’s empty,” Ireland said, of the project located off Renton Road. “We are using the first and second floor for quarantine. We’re going to be providing 24 to 28 units here.”
It’s the third isolation facility to open on Oahu this month.
On Dec. 31, state contracts for quarantine hotel rooms expired so now it’s up to the counties to find and maintain their own sites.
Last Monday, the state’s largest homeless service provider set up three large tents on Sand Island to house some shelter guests who test positive.
Institute for Human Services spokesperson Jill Wright confirmed as of Monday morning six people were isolating there.
Harbor Arms Hotel in Aiea is also being used as a quarantine facility. It has 30 units and all are full.
Ireland says a driving factor behind opening West Loch was to take some of the strain off of hospitals, many of which remain at or near capacity.
He says one of the reasons facilities are so full is because of waitlisted patients: People who are well enough to be released but can’t get a bed in a long-term care facility or have no other place to isolate.
“If someone is discharged from the hospital, they will bring them from the hospital to here,” Ireland said. “If someone is at a UH dorm and they are COVID positive and can no longer stay there, they will bring them from the dorm to here.”
The rooms come at no cost to the patient. Private contractors provide transportation, three meals a day and oversee the site.
“After the person leaves for their stay. It’s completely disinfected,” said Ireland.
People in need of a room should call Aloha United Way at 211.
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