State of Alaska is exploring options for housing people quarantined for coronavirus

(Illustration by Alissa Eckert and Dan Higgins/CDC)

The State of Alaska put out a request this week “seeking information from interested parties for providing housing units that are quarantined to allow for monitoring for COVID-19.”

“The State wishes to identify companies that are capable of providing the housing units and gain an understanding of the potential project cost for budgeting purposes,” the request said.

The state is seeking “motel rooms, apartments, trailers, or other suitable dwellings,” the request said. The units must be located so the general public can avoid interaction with those being quarantined, it said. Apartments or hotels may not be suitable if there is a common hallway, for example.

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Outside of Alaska, many communities with a large number of patients in quarantine have repurposed buildings to provide temporary space. King County in Washington, which is a center of the West Coast coronavirus outbreak, for example, is in the process of purchasing an EconoLodge in the suburban community of Kent to house patients, a move that has been controversial with some of its neighbors.

The state’s Chief Medical Officer Anne Zink said that the housing wouldn’t necessarily be in one place, but there may be a variety of options that it could be used for including people who are homeless, people who need to disembark from cruise ships, people who can’t be isolated in their homes or people traveling through the state for some other reason.

Follow our continuing coverage of the coronavirus in Alaska.

“We want to make sure we are nimble,” she said.

Gov. Mike Dunleavy said the state is assessing all potential resources.

Reporter Nathaniel Herz in Anchorage contributed to this report.