Maintaining a COVID-19 isolation facility is an expensive endeavor.
On Wednesday, July 29, the Marion County Board of Commissioners authorized $550,000 for the Marion County Sheriff's Office that provides additional staffing and services at the Woodburn Super 8 Motel through March 31, 2021, the location of the county's pandemic isolation center.
The funding affords a partnership between the sheriff's office and Marion County Health and Human Services, which took over operations of the facility on July 1.
"This really came about when we began operation of the Super 8 Hotel in Woodburn," said Marion County Health and Human Services Administrator Ryan Matthews. "We had to make sure we had enough supports around that project, and that ranges from food delivery to personal laundry to deep cleaning and sanitizing rooms in between use. And one of the most critical, of course, is security services at the location."
The previous week the county also augmented the standing contract it has the Advanced Security, Inc. by $275,000, $75,000 of which is allotted to bolster security at the Super 8. Between ASI and MCSO, the isolation facility has onsite security around the clock.
"It seems like this is absurd amount of money, but it is what we need to do to guarantee safety of the area," Commissioner Sam Brentano said. "This is what it takes to guarantee the safety of all involved, especially the citizens of Woodburn."
Commissioner Colm Willis noted that since the isolation facility is a state mandate, the county receives state funding to cover costs.
Matthews underscored the importance of having 24/7 security.
"I think it really helps to reinforce the rules at the hotel for the guests who are there; seeing someone in uniform from the sheriff's office adds a lot of credibility to that (quarantine) program and making sure that people adhere to the rules of the project," Matthews said. "It helps keep our staff and the hotel staff safe, and really the community at large … to make sure that nobody deviates from the protocols of the hotel that are set and designed to keep everybody safe and mitigate the spread of COVID-19 in our community."
MCSO Undersheriff Jeff Wood said the partnership, in part, serves to address concerns expressed about people staying at the hotel who are released from the department of corrections for post-prison supervision. To date there have been none.
The sheriff's office identified about five inmates who could be eligible for release and parole in the coming months and may be eligible to quarantine at the Super 8.
"As with a lot of cases, circumstances change; families will take members back in or a more suitable placement will be found," Wood said. "But that said, the (security) presence is important. We will have a steady presence within the facility."
Commissioner Kevin Cameron noted that the contract reads that the services are being provided when there are people at the Super 8.
"Right now there is nobody in the hotel?" Cameron posed.
"We do have staffing at the hotel pretty much around the clock, in part because you never know when somebody is going to have to be placed there, and you don't want to scramble (to set up)," Matthews said.
Matthews explained that usage of the quarantine facility is expected to be sporadic; often nobody is staying there, but there could also be a time when there is a wave of several people needing to isolate there.
During its July 22 board of commissioners meeting, the county also approved $225,000 for CleanNet USA to provide commercial janitorial services at the Super 8 through March 31, 2021.
"This contract is there to support the room rental agreement we have there with Super 8 hotel up in Woodburn," Matthews said. "As part of that room-rental agreement, one of the responsibilities for the county was to provide the deep cleaning and sanitation of the rooms in between use."
Matthews added that hotel staff do their normal cleaning for the common areas and provide items such as linens and towels. But Center for Disease Control and Prevention requirements call for deep cleaning and sanitation after vacating a room where a COVID-19 positive individual stayed.
"It is a higher level cleaning than what motel staff are accustomed to handling," he said, pointing out that CleanNet has an e-mist, electrostatic disinfection system that uses "an electronic gun where they go in and spray and get every nook and cranny of the hotel room."
After a quarantined guest leaves a room, there is a period of 48 to 72 hours when it remains unoccupied before CleanNet staff sanitation services are deployed.
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