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Maricopa County's hotel for homeless COVID-19 patients is set to close

COVID-19 cases in Arizona are  still rising, but as of this weekend, the Phoenix hotel where  homeless individuals with the virus have been quarantining will no longer take new patients. 

Early in the pandemic, Maricopa County started using federal relief funds to lease a hotel where people experiencing homelessness could quarantine. The nonprofit Circle the City has provided medical care at the hotel. 

“We have been notified by Maricopa County that the COVID hotel will be closing on June 30," said Marty Hames, spokesperson for Circle the City. "So we will stop admitting patients starting on June 19."  

The organization runs a pair of outpatient clinics for homeless patients, as well as two medical respite centers and mobile medical units. Hames said Circle the City is still working on a plan for where it will direct COVID-19-positive patients when the quarantine hotel closes.

“Our medical teams are meeting right now to come up with that strategy," Hames said. "Our COVID case count has definitely been lower, but we still want to have a game plan in mind if someone comes in and tests positive.”

More than 2,600 people experiencing homelessness have quarantined at Maricopa County's quarantine hotel over the past two years.

“During the height of the pandemic, having that quarantine space was definitely key for us," Hames said. "It's been really integral to helping us mitigate the spread amongst the homeless population.” 

→  Maricopa County's hotel for homeless COVID-19 patients has sheltered thousands

Katherine Davis-Young is a senior field correspondent reporting on a variety of issues, including public health and climate change.