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Hotel backs out of contract to quarantine Butler County homeless

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

COVID-19 cases could be 10 times higher than reports say, CDC estimates

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

A Sharonville hotel reneged on a deal with the Butler County Commission to temporarily house homeless residents needing to be quarantined during the novel coronavirus pandemic.

“The board approved a contract with Holiday Inn Express on behalf of the Butler County General Health District to provide temporary housing for (the county’s) vulnerable population while under quarantine while affected by COVID-19, and that quarantine is ordered by the General Health District commissioner. Since that time the administration was made aware the hotel has rescinded its availability,” said Butler County Administrator Judi Boyko.

Butler County commissioners and Holiday Inn Express & Suites in Sharonville in northern Hamilton County entered into a contract for up to $25,000 in which the county would pay the hotel a $50 daily room rate for a minimum of seven days for people to stay in quarantine if they contracted COVID-19.

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The Butler County Emergency Management Agency and General Health District are soliciting other hoteliers for the vulnerable population and homeless while quarantine, Boyko said.

“Public health and emergency management planning from the onset of COVID-19 have looked at a myriad of options, understanding the need (when they come) may be unique,” said Butler County EMA Director Matt Haverkos. “Luckily the county has not had to provide housing nor execute any contracts.”

Haverkos previously told the Journal-News finding a place willing to take the risk of housing those infected with COVID-19 has been challenging, saying they’ve “probably talked to every hotel in the region.”

Health Commissioner Jennifer Bailer approached the commission about the idea in April, telling the commissioners earlier this month, “this is not an infirmary, this is not a step-down hospital in any way.”

Butler County General Health District officials declined to comment on Holiday Inn Express backing out of the contract.

The health district initially wanted to contract with an Oxford hotel, but a corporate commitment has not yet been confirmed. Bailer told commissioners the hotel would require the county to rent the entire hotel, so the lodging cost would be $73,000 for 65 rooms. The county would expend an additional $108,000 for the county to provided staffing, security, cleaning, food and other incidentals.

In Butler County, there have been more than 1,400 COVID-19 cases, and 39 confirmed deaths as of June 24. The first Butler County case was reported on March 11, according to the county health district. The most number of cases — 27.4 percent — are from the Fairfield zip code, 45014.

White residents are contracting the virus at a higher rate than other racial and ethnic populations last week, with Hispanic residents second, according to the latest Butler County epidemiology report on June 24.

People between 20 and 49 years old have been contracting the virus more than people in older and younger age groups, according to the report.

POP-UP TESTING SITE

The Butler County General Health District will conduct tests for the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, today. It’s being offered by Primary Health Solutions.

Where: Aldi, 5065 Pleasant Ave. (corner of Pleasant Avenue and Patterson Boulevard)

When: 9 a.m to 4 p.m. today

Cost: No cost but individuals must bring driver's license or ID and an insurance card, though uninsured patients are welcome.

Appointments: No appointments necessary as walk-ups are welcomed

More info: For questions, call 513-454-1111 or visit health.bcohio.us.