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Coronavirus Latest: Center City Holiday Inn Express To Be Quarantine Site For Homeless People With COVID-19

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- Philadelphia leaders are developing a site to quarantine homeless people as well as anyone who cannot quarantine at their own homes during the coronavirus pandemic. The city confirms the site will be at the Holiday Inn Express at 13th and Walnut Streets in Center City.

The hotel will essentially become a makeshift treatment center.

"People who are housing insecure have to be one of the top priorities," Philadelphia City Councilwoman Helen Gym said.

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Reports say a limited number of people who test positive for COVID-19, who are either homeless or can't self-isolate in their own homes, will be able to isolate at the hotel and also be given treatment. Officials say those showing symptoms will also be quarantined at the hotel.

"And we don't want them to get sick and spread it because they are highly mobile," Gym said. "So they can move throughout the city and what we want is to get them a safe, comfortable, warm place."

This all requires a lot of staff, which the city is working on. Crews were seen going in and out of the hotel all day.

"To be clear, it will be for anyone who can't quarantine at home, not just for those who are experiencing homelessness," said Eva Gladstein, with Philadelphia's Health and Human Services.


State leaders are looking to transform buildings like hotels in other communities into quarantine sites as well.

"We are making those plans as we speak, especially in the hardest hit areas," Pennsylvania Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine said.

As for those people who are homeless in Philadelphia and tested positive but refuse treatment, city leaders say they may force them.

"I certainly hope we don't have to go there, but if it's to stop the spread of the disease, we may have to get there," Philadelphia Managing Director Brian Abernathy said.

There is no word yet on when the site will open. Officials say they're looking at additional sites to transform into quarantine facilities.

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