Hillsborough Responds to Rumors About COVID-19 Patients in Hotels

TAMPA -- Late Monday afternoon, Hillsborough County emergency management issued a news release to answer what it called "rumors" about sites being used for quarantine and isolation related to coronavirus.

The county says it leased rooms at two hotels to shelter those testing positive for COVID-19 and those who have been exposed to the virus. The locations are the Quality Inn on East Fowler Avenue near USF, and the West Wing Hotel a couple of blocks away.

The sites are for people who can care for themselves but can't stay in their own home. The rooms are free and the county provides three meals a day. To qualify, individuals must be positive for COVID-19 or high risk contact of a COVID-19 case, as determined by the health department, which will contact anyone who may qualify. Guests cannot walk off the property without losing their room. They must use a mask and gloves if they open the door.

The county says the Florida Department of Health was notified that the Norwegian Cruise Line's Insignia put its crew off the ship here, to be taken to a private plane in Miami and be flown home, in coordination with the CDC.

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