SAN ANTONIO – A recent Facebook post incorrectly claimed that city officials have forced people into quarantine centers amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
In a neighborhood Facebook group, a woman asked if anyone knew someone who was “forced” into a quarantine detention center after testing positive for COVID-19.
“This is not a joke, I couldn’t believe it myself,” The post read. “How is this legal?”
The city’s Department of Human Services offers hotel rooms to people who have tested positive for COVID-19, but have no way of safely isolating, according to the Roland Martinez, the department’s public relations manager.
“The hotel is not mandatory at all,” Martinez said in an email to KSAT 12 News. “Clients entering the hotel facility are under no obligation to remain there.”
Martinez said most of the hotel rooms are for clients referred from homeless shelters, though Metro Health has also established an eligibility protocol for other residents too.
Guests are asked to stay in their rooms for roughly 10 days, when they are no longer contagious. People are allowed to leave the hotel early, but not allowed to re-enter, Martinez said.
The city’s use of hotel rooms is not new. Last year, the city had up to 840 available hotel rooms for people who were infected by the virus.
San Antonio has seen a surge in COVID-19 cases since July amid the spread of the Delta variant. As of Friday, Bexar County was reporting a 7-day average of 1,126 new cases a day. Hospitals reported 1,365 patients with COVID-19, 394 who are in the ICU and 257 who are on ventilators. The county’s death toll stands at 3,817. Seventy-one of those deaths have been reported in the past week.