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Serving Northern St. Louis County, Minnesota

Ely part of county isolation plan

St. Louis County to provide motel rooms for safe isolation

Keith Vandervort
Posted 4/9/20

 

 

ELY – At least two motel rooms here are reserved for local residents who test positive for coronavirus and need a safe place to shelter away from family.

St. Louis County …

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Ely part of county isolation plan

St. Louis County to provide motel rooms for safe isolation

Posted

 

ELY – At least two motel rooms here are reserved for local residents who test positive for coronavirus and need a safe place to shelter away from family.

St. Louis County Public Health, partnering with the Arrowhead Economic Opportunity Agency (AEOA) and other agencies, is prepared to spend up to $500,000 on hotel rooms at various locations around the county for people who need to quarantine because of COVID-19 pandemic.

Four establisments would be used at various locations throughout St. Louis County – one each in Duluth, Hibbing, Virginia, and Ely., according to officials.

Social media blew up Wednesday with concerns that COVID-19 could be brought to the Ely community.

"The rooms that are being contracted in Ely are for the purpose of being available in case someone here tests positive,” Ely Mayor Chuck Novak said Thursday. “They are not planning to send people from anywhere else here at this point. The intent is if someone here tests positive, it would be a respite for them. Say a person at home with a family tests positive (for the coronavirus), and the rest of the family does not test positive, they need to get away from the rest of the family and this will make that possible,” he said.

The name of the local lodging establishment taking part in the program was not identified by Novak. According to the city of Duluth, lodging spaces in that city are provided by ZMC Hotels.

The county has contracted for up to 90 rooms to be used if needed, according to reports. The services would only be provided to those who have a positive lab-confirmed case of COVID-19, and have no place to safely isolate, according to St. Louis County officials.

“It’s really out of an abundance of caution, and just from a planning perspective, we need to be ready,” Linnea Mirsch, director of St. Louis County Public Health and Human Services told a Duluth media outlet. “It’s really hard to know how many beds we will need especially in northern parts of St. Louis County.”

County taxpayers are funding the operation for the immediate future, but county officials are seeking state and federal reimbursements that would likely be approved by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

“Early on in our planning, St. Louis County sent letters to all lodging establishments in the area and we were overwhelmed and encouraged with the response,” Mirsch said.

The measure is in place right now for at least 45 days, but county officials will be able to extend the service if residents continue to need further isolation in a safe space.

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