Several hotels throughout St. Louis County are finalizing agreements to temporarily house people who need to be quarantined during the COVID-19 pandemic but do not have a safe place to do so — primarily people experiencing homelessness.

“We are very appreciative to these hospitality industry partners for stepping up to help us provide this essential service,” Amy Westbrook, St. Louis County Public Health division director, said. “Each of the hotels offered us significantly reduced rates because they recognize the need and want to do their part to serve our community. Having a safe place to isolate these vulnerable citizens protects not just the people needing shelter, but our entire community.”

Locations of the sites are not being released at this time, to ensure the privacy of the people who need to use the facilities.

At this point, the county said it was expecting to contract with four hotels for a total of more than 90 rooms, along with several other businesses for services such as meals, maintenance, laundry, security and transportation.

"Providing shelter to a person in isolation or quarantine is among the essential services that St. Louis County Public Health is mandated to offer if needed," a county statement said. "This applies to people who have a positive lab-confirmed test for COVID-19 or individuals who have been identified as close contacts of someone with a positive lab-confirmed test."

Additionally, St. Louis County is contracting with CHUM and Arrowhead Economic Opportunity Agency for supervision and coordination of services relating to mental health, substance use disorder, and prescription management needs.

The contracts currently call for services through May 15, though they may be extended.

Total costs are expected to be in the range of $450,000-$500,000 depending on how many people ultimately need to be quarantined. Many of these costs are expected to be reimbursable through federal and state COVID-19 emergency funds.

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