Patients hospitalized with the coronavirus could be discharged and sent directly to a room in New York’s empty hotels to recuperate, the city’s public hospital chief said.
“We think in the end it’s going to be hotel rooms in New York City,” Dr. Mitchell Katz, president and CEO of Health + Hospitals, which oversees the Big Apple’s network of 11 public hospitals, said during an interview Monday posted by the Journal of the American Medical Association.
“We think that hotel rooms will work great for minimizing the risk of transmission for people in the convalescent period. It’s likely there will be less infection … . We think hotels will provide us enough space,” Katz said.
Katz noted that the hotel industry has “almost collapsed” because of the COVID-19 pandemic, with tourist travel for business and pleasure ground to a halt.
“The supply of hotel rooms is large,” Katz said. ”We’ll send people to those places.”
Katz also said there aren’t many nursing home beds available.
Mayor Bill de Blasio announced on Saturday that 6,000 homeless New Yorkers are being offered space in the city’s vacant hotels to help stem the spread of COVID-19.
The coronavirus has ravaged the city’s homeless and shelter system, where social distancing is difficult, if not impossible.
Katz said the hotels could be reformatted to convert a room on each floor to isolate a recovering COVID-19 patient, with nurses and other workers assigned to provide care care.
There has been a debate globally about the drawback of sending recuperating coronavirus patients back home, where there is risk of infections for other family members.
Hotels in Madrid and elsewhere have converted hotels into medical facilities to house and treat mildly sick COVID-19 patients. Hotels also have been used for lodging for health care workers or to quarantine foreign travelers.
More than 10,000 people in New York State have died from the coronavirus, Gov. Andrew Cuomo reported Monday.