The Quality Inn quarantine regional hotel effort has been quite an expensive affair for Chelsea and Revere, but so far it hasn’t had too many guests.
Needless to say, City Manager Tom Ambrosino said it was a service that is critical no matter what the cost.
“People are reluctant to leave the places they are comfortable in,” he said. “It is hard to convince people to go there. It’s slowly getting filled.”
As of Tuesday, there were 37 people there with 100 rooms available. Only 18 of them were Chelsea residents. Meanwhile, the costs of the facility have already eclipsed $1 million for operations through the month of May.
This week, Lynn and Somerville have joined the effort and are sending patients there to quarantine – and will likely be paying some of the costs too. Revere kicked off the payments this month with a $470,000 payment to the hotel for its use. Chelsea has been paying for security and operations and other incidentals. Ambrosino said he expected the cost to Chelsea to be around $600,000 for use of the hotel when all is said and done. Some of that will be reimbursed by FEMA, and the state has also promised to help.
The medical care has been provided by MGH, and the state MEMA has provided food, but most of the rest of the costs are borne by the cities – with hopes of reimbursement in the future.
Nonetheless, Ambrosino said it was critical even if for a small number.
The reason he started the effort was because people who were sick and in precarious living conditions were returning to the hospital and being turned away from their living arrangements. That left the possibility that it could happen to many more people as Chelsea does have a number of difficult living arrangements.
“Over time, it will get a good use and availability and was the right decision,” he said. “There are 18 people from Chelsea that now would be without a place to go if not for that hotel.”
The quarantine hotel has been open for two weeks now.