WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Representatives Anthony Gonzalez (OH-16), Dave Joyce (OH-14), Tim Ryan (OH-13), Vicente Gonzalez (TX-15), and Josh Gottheimer (NJ-05) partnered to introduce the Isolate COVID-19 Act. This legislation will establish a federal program where states can receive funding to lease hotel properties for the purpose of temporarily housing individuals with COVID-19 who lack the ability to isolate or quarantine in their own homes and wish to voluntarily isolate themselves.
Research into the spread of COVID-19 indicates that transmission of the virus often occurs between household members and co-workers in close contact with each other. These transmissions fall hardest on low-income Americans, who are more likely to work in tight quarters and live in small, multi-generational households. The Isolate COVID-19 Act would help to reduce the number of COVID-19 transmissions by ensuring states have the necessary funding to lease hotel properties and provide a safe space for individuals to voluntarily isolate themselves from their loved ones.
“Opening up hotels for voluntary isolation will help protect our families who need it the most, especially low-income Americans, wage workers, and minorities who are unable to effectively self-isolate in their homes,” said Congressman Anthony Gonzalez. “Until we can widely administer a vaccine for COVID-19, we need every tool at our disposal to help suppress the spread of the virus, including improving our ability to voluntarily isolate infected individuals,”
“This virus is a two-headed monster, having created both a health crisis and an economic one,” said Rep. Dave Joyce. “I’m proud to join my colleagues in introducing this bipartisan bill that will not only help slow the spread of COVID-19, but also provide a lifeline for some of Ohio’s hardest hit businesses. To date, Ohio has had more than 69,311 reported cases of COVID-19 and more than 100,000 workers have lost their hotel-related jobs. By isolating individuals who have been infected away from their homes, we can dramatically reduce COVID-19 transmission in our communities and create much-needed revenue for struggling hotels and those they employ. I look forward to working with Reps. Gonzalez (OH), Ryan (OH), Gonzalez (TX) and Gottheimer (NJ) to get this bill across the finish line so that we can protect Buckeye families and their jobs.”
“With nearly 80% of states seeing an increase in COVID-19 cases, we have to be thinking critically about how we’re going to decrease transmission. Because most transmissions occur between household members, this legislation is a key step in overcoming the spread of the virus. It also has the added benefit of giving a boost to local hotels who have been among the hardest-hit businesses during this pandemic” said Congressman Tim Ryan. “To beat this crisis, economic measures and health measures have to work hand-in-hand. If we don’t get transmission of the virus under control, we will not only continue to lose precious lives, but we’ll continue to prolong the economic downturn that has already hurt so many working class families.”
“The 15th District of Texas is a majority-minority district with a high Latino population. Our culture is to spend time with loved ones and family, which in normal circumstances is a blessing, but during a pandemic it’s detrimental to those we mean to protect,” said Congressman Vicente Gonzalez. “As we’ve seen from recent CDC data, Latinos are more likely to contract, spread and die because of the coronavirus. This legislation provides for those individuals who do not want to risk the health and wellbeing of their families to isolate in participating hotels in our communities while at the same time boost our suffering travel industry. We need to lay every option on the table to beat this deadly virus.”
“This bipartisan bill will help provide safe places for those infected to self-isolate during the coronavirus pandemic, especially those who aren’t able to quarantine in their own homes,” said Congressman Josh Gottheimer. “Measures like these can help stop the spread and protect our communities.”
“We are encouraged by Congressman Gonzalez’s proposal, as it presents an opportunity for individuals to have an accessible and safe place to self-isolate during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. At Summa Health, we have served more than 500 patients year-to-date with positive cases of COVID-19. Hotel access for members of the community will aid in curbing COVID-19 cases and support positive outcomes for prevention and treatment,” said Dr. Cliff Deveny, President and CEO of Summa Health.
“Health care disparities caused by poverty and structural racism are a public health crisis. University Hospitals commends the bill sponsors and joins in support of the Isolate COVID-19 Act that provides compassionate support and will help reduce the spread of the COVID-19 virus and improve health equity,” said Heidi Garland, University Hospitals Vice President of Government & Community Relations.
The Isolate COVID-19 Act seeks to build on successes seen in other countries who have implemented similar programs by utilizing partnerships between state, local health officials and the hotel industry to provide a means of voluntary isolation in hotel facilities to significantly reduce the risk of another wave of infections and protect those, like low-income Americans, wage workers and minorities, who may have a more difficult time self-isolating in their homes. This legislation provides important protections to make sure that states have in place plans for hotels to have proper workplace safety standards and cleaning protocols for rooms and facilities as well as having at least one health care professional on site or on call at all times to monitor the health of individuals being housed at the hotels.
Read the full text of the bill here.