Center City Philadelphia Holiday Inn turned COVID-19 quarantine site opens

Maggie Kent Image
Monday, April 6, 2020
Center City Philadelphia Holiday Inn turned COVID-19 quarantine site opens
The squad car lights started flashing shortly before 4:30 a.m. as Philadelphia Police made it official: Walnut Street at 13th Street is closed and will stay that way indefinitely.

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- The 13 floors and approximately 150 rooms at the Holiday Inn Express at 1305 Walnut Street in Center City Philadelphia are no longer serving travelers and tourists.

The hotel is now a quarantine center for those who are infected with COVID-19 and not in need of hospitalization.

Walnut Street from 13th to Juniper blocked by police cars.

The rooms will serve as a place to stay for those who can't otherwise quarantine in their own home. The site is also available to the homeless population.

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"There is a protocol now in place through our hospitals. The hospitals will then contact our health department and will then be able to place the people into this facility here," says Councilman Mark Squilla, the hotel is in his district.

This is the first quarantine center for Philadelphia but likely not it's last. The city's goal is to have 750 available quarantine rooms.

Officials are in contract talks with other hotels now.

"The food will be delivered from the city, to the rooms individually. They'll have wrap-around social services and they'll have sanitation items placed in the rooms," said Squilla.

Further south, the Citizens Bank Park COVID-19 testing center run by FEMA will be isassembled on Friday.

"The federal government is ending its participation as of Friday. We could have continued that site, but we felt it was better to use the assets we have and distribute them throughout the other sites in Philadelphia," said Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley.

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The change won't affect any other testing sites throughout the city. Those are staffed by city and hospital workers.

The city health commissioner says out of all Philadephia testing sites, the Citizens Bank Park testing site had the least number of people show up on Sunday.