Trailers, hotel rooms meant for COVID-19 patients still largely unoccupied

California
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SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) — Some 1,300 trailers acquired by the state were distributed to different sites in California to house COVID-19 patients and those who have nowhere to go to self-isolate after being exposed.

They were part of Gov. Gavin Newsom’s $150 million Project Roomkey, which was designed to help homeless people who contracted the virus. 

Much of the money is being used to rent hotel rooms, with 420 of them in Sacramento County.

The trailers were set aside for cities, counties or tribal governments that requested them.

The State Department of General Services bought the trailers from various sources. The Federal Emergency Management Agency is expected to pay for 75% of the costs and Sacramento County and other entities are not being charged for their deployment or use.

But after California hospitals prepared for an influx of COVID-19 patients, a surge has not materialized.

Sixty-three travel trailers were delivered to Cal Expo. Since they arrived five weeks ago, just nine people needing quarantine and isolation have used them. As of Friday, just two of the trailers were being used.

In Elk Grove, near Highway 99, 10 26-foot travel trailers were delivered last week to the future site of the $500 million Wilton Rancheria Resort and Casino. Construction there was recently moved back by several months. 

Tribal leaders said they recognized that some tribal members are close to homelessness or have no place to quarantine after they are exposed.

Some of the trailers are expected to be used by emergency health workers who are not able to go home.

Currently, two of the 10 trailers are being used.

The numbers for Project Roomkey hotels are also declining. In Sacramento County, 450 people have used hotel rooms but as of last week, less than 80 rooms were occupied.

County health officials are now repositioning the county’s trailer resources. Eighteen continue to be set aside for quarantine and isolation needs because testing is becoming more available and widespread. More testing means the potential discovery of more cases.

Forty-one of the trailers at Cal Expo will now be used for homeless people in high-risk categories. The virus danger can still be high in outdoor camps.

Health officials said last week none of the occupants in eight homeless shelters have tested positive for COVID-19. But more than half of them, over 200 shelter residents, declined to take a virus test.

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