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Mecklenburg County to close COVID-19 isolation and quarantine hotel


Mecklenburg County will close its COVID-19 isolation and quarantine hotel on Dec. 31, county public health director Gibbie Harris told county commissioners at their meeting Tuesday night.

Harris said the hotel, which the county began leasing in March 2020 as a place for homeless residents to isolate or quarantine after potential exposure to the coronavirus, had only one person staying there as of Tuesday. Over the past week, there were several days where no one was staying there, she said.

“That hotel is costing us around $300,000 a month,” Harris told commissioners. “That includes lease, staffing, food, security, cleaning and supplies. So as you can see, it’s not terribly cost-effective.”

County officials have repeatedly declined to confirm the location of the hotel, citing privacy concerns, though in September 2020 The Charlotte Observer reportedit was the Econo Lodge near the Charlotte Douglas International Airport.

Harris said the county health department has notified local homeless shelters and hospitals about the decision to close the hotel and said those facilities should be able to accommodate the small number of people who need to be isolated or quarantined.

“We have to normalize the ability of these shelters to be able to manage communicable diseases, including COVID,” Harris said.

Copyright 2021 WFAE

Claire Donnelly is WFAE's health reporter. She previously worked at NPR member station KGOU in Oklahoma and also interned at WBEZ in Chicago and WAMU in Washington, D.C. She holds a master's degree in journalism from Northwestern University and attended college at the University of Virginia, where she majored in Comparative Literture and Spanish. Claire is originally from Richmond, Virginia. In her free time, Claire likes listening to podcasts and trying out new recipes.