The Envision Hotel in Everett will be temporarily used as an isolation facility for homeless people recuperating from COVID-19, local officials said Tuesday.
The hotel on the Revere Beach Parkway becomes the fifth regional center set up to serve homeless residents in Massachusetts.
Patients from Everett will be given priority consideration to be housed at the facility that will be run by Beth Israel Lahey Health, according to a statement issued by the office of Everett Mayor Carlo DeMaria.
Medical staff will screen each person admitted to the facility. Meals will be provided, the statement said.
DeMaria said he was “grateful to have an isolation facility right in Everett.”
“Our residents have been greatly affected by the pandemic and I’m grateful that the Governor and his Administration recognized the need to keep our residents safe and stop the spread,” DeMaria said in the statement. “Together, we will get through this.”
Everett lies right next to Chelsea, a community that has been hit harder by the novel coronavirus than any other Massachusetts city or town. And while Everett’s infection rate is roughly half that of Chelsea, according to state data, it remains in the 10 highest rates statewide.
In an interview last week, DeMaria said Everett is suffering because it is a city of workers, many of whom can’t stay safe at home and do their jobs virtually.
“We’re all working. My dad was a mason, he was a bricklayer. He went to work every day. My mother was a seamstress. . . . Those are the type of people who are vulnerable,” DeMaria said. He added later that blue-collar workers are forced to take risks that make them “more susceptible to getting sick, and they can’t afford to get sick. They can’t afford to not be working.”
The temporary recovery centers in Everett, Lexington, Northampton, Pittsfield, and Taunton have a total capacity of 550 beds “for people experiencing homelessness that need a safe place to isolate and recover after testing positive for COVID-19,” the state said last week.
Patients are transported to the hotel by the Hampden County Sheriff’s Department, and a security guard is stationed on each floor, officials said. There are also Everett police on site at all times.
The facility is equipped with a defibrillator and the opioid overdose reversal drug Narcan “to ensure that the safety and welfare of the guests is paramount,” officials said.
State Senator Sal DiDomenico, an Everett Democrat, said he had spoken several times with Governor Charlie Baker, the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency, and the state’s COVID-19 Command Center about Everett’s needs amid the pandemic.
“I am grateful that the Governor and his team have, once again, responded by opening the Envision Hotel and providing all the necessary staffing, supplies and food for patients,” DiDomenico said in the statement. “This will allow our residents at home to stay healthy and for members of our community to have a place to recover from this virus.”
State Representative Joseph W. McGonagle Jr., a Democrat whose district consists entirely of Everett, said it’s important during this crisis for the city to use all its resources to protect residents and help slow the virus’s spread.
“I’m very grateful to the Envision Hotel for allowing its building to perform such a crucial service,” McGonagle said in the statement. “Moments like this prove Everett is strong, united and continuing to fight this disease.”