As the number of confirmed cases of Covid-19 surges in Florida, Miami-Dade County is on the hunt for empty hotels it can lease to isolate patients.
The county has already secured two hotels to house those who need to self-isolate but don’t have anywhere else to go, said Maurice Kemp, deputy mayor of Miami-Dade. It’s looking for additional properties near Covid-19 hotspots.
Areas with a high number of cases include Allapattah, Brownsville, Little Havana, Cutler Bay and Homestead, the Miami Herald reported.
Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez said on Thursday during a virtual press conference that the county is working with the Florida Department of Health to move patients to a limited number of hotel rooms. Hospitals are expected to refer people to the health department who have no other way to isolate, especially those who have been tested, have symptoms, but haven’t gotten their test results yet, Gimenez said.
Miami-Dade is paying $117,600 per month for a 100-room hotel in Doral for those who need to be isolated, and $210,000 a month for a 212-room hotel near Miami International Airport for the homeless population, Kemp said. The county signed agreements in April for the two properties.
The payment breaks down to about $40 per night, per room for the Doral Inn and Suites and about $33 a night for the Red Roof Inn Miami Airport. Baywood Hotels owns the Red Roof Inn, and the Doral Inn and Suites is tied to investor Alex Nahabetian.
The Doral hotel was initially secured by the county to house first responders and health care workers who needed to isolate themselves, but only a handful of rooms are being used at one time, Kemp said.
Yet, the need for self-isolation may be greater now more than ever. On Wednesday, the health department reported a record 5,508 newly confirmed cases of Covid-19 in Florida, and on Thursday, an additional 5,004 cases were reported. So far, the state has more than 114,000 confirmed cases and 3,327 deaths.
Kemp said the county, hospitals and the department of health are working together to determine the criteria that would direct people to the hotel rooms.
On Wednesday, Gimenez said the county’s phased reopening plan was on pause due to the rising number of cases.