The use of an Oahu hotel to quarantine people will cost hundreds of thousands of dollars in federal coronavirus recovery funds each month, officials said.
The cost could run into millions of dollars for the partnership between the 130-room Pearl Hotel Waikiki and the state Department of Health, which manages the hotel quarantine and isolation program, The Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported Monday.
The 30-day contract cost the city $379,375 for exclusive use of the hotel and includes a minimum of four hotel workers to support the health department, Honolulu spokesman Alex Zannes said.
The city will pay for the hotel services from the nearly $400 million allotted by the federal government under the coronavirus recovery program.
The city’s contract with the hotel equals about $97 per night per room, whether the space is occupied or not.
The nightly room cost at the property is free to those in quarantine or isolation.
The health department may cover the cost of their food, which is ordered from the hotel or delivered by Medical Reserve Corps volunteers who buy groceries from an approved list.
The funds will also cover towels, linens and toiletries and room cleaning at the end of each stay.
“The city has an option to renew for every 30 days or commit to renting the property until Dec 30, 2020,” Zannes said. “There is a substantial discount by renting the whole property versus the per-room rates."
The city plans to make deals with more hotels as part of a commitment to help reduce the spread of COVID-19 on Oahu.
For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some — especially older adults and people with existing health problems — it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia, and death.
The number of infections is thought to be far higher because many people have not been tested, and studies suggest people can be infected with the virus without feeling sick.