Indianapolis’ first COVID-19 patient overflow site established on west side

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind.– The Crowne Plaza Indianapolis Airport Hotel in the 2500 block of South High Road is the first off-site location for COVID-19 patients and potential patients awaiting test results in Marion County.

Sources indicate the first handful of guests was checked into the hotel last Sunday.

The plan to house Indianapolis homeless persons affected by the coronavirus was first announced last week by Indiana Family and Social Services Secretary Dr. Jennifer Sullivan during a statehouse briefing alongside Governor Eric Holcomb.

Dr. Sullivan indicated the Indiana State Department of Health would take on the administration of the location while Eskenazi  Health would staff the site and the Indiana National Guard would provide security.

As of today there is little visible evidence outside the hotel of its new role in response to the COVID-19 virus crisis though a security officer is restricting visitors to the hotel where an Eskenazi official identified himself to Fox 59 News and indicated ISDH would be the lead agency to issue a statement regarding the location.

ISDH did not respond to a request for comment.

In making the announcement last week, Dr. Sullivan said, “Those experiencing homelessness are some of our most vulnerable during the current COVID-19 pandemic. They lack a place for quarantine and because they already have other medical conditions they are at higher risk if they get the disease. Furthermore, with many people close together in existing shelters, a general spread of COVID-19 within this population quickly becomes a health emergency and an additional burden on our health care system.

“From an early time in our response we knew therefore we needed to do everything we could to avoid such a public health emergency and protect this vulnerable population. To address this issue we have collaborated with an established Indiana partner, organizations already serving those experiencing homelessness and the Marion County Public Health Department.

“Today we can announce that we have secured a location to allow for quarantine and self-care for those in this population affected by COVID-19. This will allow for safe accommodations for recovery and free emergency department beds across the city for additional patients needing care.”

According to its website, the Crowne Plaza Indianapolis Airport Hotel covers 22,000 square feet, 271 guest rooms and 16 meeting rooms that could be reconfigured for additional space and food service capabilities.

Dr. Sullivan indicated an unencumbered grant from the Lilly Endowment funded the Indianapolis off-site location and would fund other similar locations across the state.

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