Mayor Carlo DeMaria said the City has begun looking at all public building assets that could possibly be used for shelters and quarantine locations, and that immediately they have entered into an agreement with Revere and Chelsea to use a hotel in Revere for potential COVID-19 recovery beds.
He also said the state has been talking with Encore Boston Harbor about being helpful in many ways, but the using the empty hotel tower is not yet in that conversation – as others have suggested.
“We are now looking at a hotel in Revere (Quality Inn on Rt. 1) that Mayor Brian Arrigo has secured with Chelsea City Manager Tom Ambrosino,” he said. “We have set aside 100 rooms for the three communities. We would get the money reimbursed to us by FEMA. That would be a place for someone to recover after they are discharged from the hospital and maybe they have nowhere else to go…It’s a better situation than a large facility because there are private bathrooms and rooms.”
DeMaria said there are a lot of people in Everett and surrounding communities that were affected by the ongoing housing crisis and had no secure place to live. In Chelsea, Ambrosino was hit with a situation whereby a person was living with a family and tested positive for COVID-19. When that person was treated at the hospital and then released, the family didn’t want them to return to the home. That left the person out in the cold, and Chelsea began to look for other options. That led to the effort whereby all three communities began to plan for similar situations that could come up.
“If we had someone come back and they couldn’t return to where they were living, we could be in the same situation,” he said. “It’s an option for us and it’s a better option.”
The City has also been surveying all of its assets over the last two weeks as well.
Mayor DeMaria said in a conversation with officials at CHA Everett, he learned that some health care workers were conflicted about returning to their homes – or perhaps couldn’t logistically get home between shifts. The issue had already led to a few nurses quitting their jobs.
To help give a temporary place for health care workers at the hospital, DeMaria and the Fire Department decided to coordinate on setting up a shelter for such workers.
“We thought about using Pope John (High School), but it would have been too difficult,” he said. “The Fire Chief said part of the FEMA disaster plan called for the Keverian to the be used as a shelter. They toured it with the superintendent and it was perfect. It’s been empty so far, but it’s in place for those workers if they need it.”
In addition to that, they are looking at all of the school buildings as a last-resort shelter or quarantine facility. They would need to identify one location to house those who are in isolation after a positive diagnosis, and they would need a second location to quarantine those exposed but not showing symptoms.
“We have school buildings that are empty now,” he said. “If we have residents that need services we will provide them. We’ll make sure when this is over the buildings would be cleaned and disinfected and safe for children. No one should have any concerns about that.” In any case, such a scenario is still far off, and only a contingency plan if things spiral out of control. At the moment, Mayor DeMaria said the homeless population in Everett hasn’t had any problems, and the City has been partnering with Cambridge to provide that population services in Cambridge.
Due to incorrect information from the City, a previous version of this story indicated the hotel to be used was the Comfort Inn & Suites in Revere. That hotel is in fact the Quality Inn on Rt. 1 North in Revere.