Hundreds of callers request information on hotel quarantine rooms


HONOLULU (KHON2) — The Hawaii State Department of Health has screened about 350 to 400 calls a day from people asking about the hotel quarantine rooms for people who tested positive with COVID-19 or have been in close contact.

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One official said those calls are steadily climbing.

The process begins with a phone call to the Hawaii CARES hotline at 832-3100.

The Behavioral Health Deputy Director Eddie Mersereau said the hotel rooms are meant for those who cannot safely separate from others at home.

“There’s no separate room and bathroom that you can utilize to quarantine and isolate you should call that number,” Mersereau said. “If you have people in your household that are some of those high-risk populations that we all have been talking about. ”  

So far, about 500 people have isolated in participating hotel rooms, 126 out of the 293 rooms are occupied.

Transportation to the hotel is provided if needed, and once the person arrives a case management team will take over.

Mersereau said, “They are doing three quality checks per day. They do things like check their temperature, ask them what their symptoms are, trouble breathing that kind of stuff just a very light medical evaluation.” 

The team checks-in on guests to make sure they are staying inside their rooms. Meals are sponsored by the program and are dropped-off regularly. In some cases, hotel staff will do a “knock and drop” to prevent interactions with the guests.

The length of stay varies case by case, and rooms go through deep cleaning after every checkout.

“The rooms are left to stand for a period of time,” Mersereau said. “Once that period of time passes the crew goes in with full PPE to clean and sanitize the entire room.”  

The hotels participating in the program requested not to be named in the agreement, but Mersereau said there is no risk to neighbors from people in quarantine.

The isolation facilities were initially meant for the homeless but have expanded to all residents as the number of cases grows.

Mersereau said, “The mayor’s target is to bring on a minimum of 250 or so units to have on hand in case we have an increase of positives, especially in the course of the next couple of weeks when we’re doing surge testing.”   

In some cases family members are situated together if it is epidemiologically appropriate.

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