As states wrestle with slowing the spread of the novel coronavirus, many solutions rely on suppressing the number of new cases. New York City is offering hotel rooms to residents with mild symptoms of covid-19 so they can isolate to avoid spreading the virus to members of their household.

While they’re in isolation, patients will be provided with food, access to a pharmacy and laundry service, according to Mark Levine, chair of the New York City Council’s Health Committee. In addition, each isolation site will have clinical staff on hand for daily checkups and EMTs ready to respond in the event of an emergency.

For patient privacy, the names and locations of participating hotels cannot be disclosed, according to the mayor’s office.

“As we move into this next phase of this crisis and as hospitalizations hopefully continue to decrease, hotels remain a key component of our test and trace plan,” the mayor’s office said in a statement to The Washington Post. “Our isolation hotel program currently provides for a range of needs, from supporting health-care workers on the front lines to individuals from congregate settings.”

According to the mayor’s office, the program — originally set up to provide health-care workers with rooms to isolate in after treating covid-19 patients — has 20,000 additional rooms set up for those recovering from covid-19 but don’t want to spread the disease to others. There are plans to expand the number of hotel rooms dedicated to recovery and isolation, along with non-hotel locations, including the Billie Jean King tennis stadium, which has been converted into a field hospital for quarantining and isolating covid-19 patients, the mayor’s office said in an email to The Washington Post.

Rooms can be reserved for up to 28 days, and the program is still available for health-care workers and volunteers who want to reduce the possibility of transmission of the disease at home. To be eligible for the program, patients have to be referred by health-care providers that have partnered with the health department in each of the five boroughs.

New York state has been hit hard by the coronavirus outbreak, leading the country in number of tests reported, confirmed cases, total deaths and deaths per 100,000 residents, according to reporting from The Washington Post. Overall, the state has seen at least 327,000 confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus and has reported at least 26,000 deaths since March 14.

A group of measures introduced in late April through a covid-19 relief package also includes protections and hotel accommodations for the city’s homeless population, as officials seek to control the spread of the virus among vulnerable populations.

“We are in the midst of an unprecedented crisis for our city, and mourning the loss of so many neighbors, friends and fellow New Yorkers,” City Council Speaker Corey Johnson said when introducing the relief package. “But even in this dark time, we must be laser-focused on helping New York City emerge from this crisis while prioritizing our public health.”

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