Congresswoman Says She Was Not Consulted On Plan To House COVID-19 Cases At Pomona Hotel

POMONA (CBSLA) – A Southern California congresswoman says she has yet to see details about a plan to use hotel rooms in Pomona to quarantine coronavirus patients.

Rep. Norma J. Torres (CA-35) criticized the rollout of a plan to use 244 rooms at the Sheraton Fairplex Hotel who may have been exposed to someone with COVID-19.

Officials are worried that as the number of coronavirus patients grows, so will the burden on local hospitals. So they’re trying to keep hospital beds open for patients with the most critical needs.

But Torres says she had no opportunity to provide input on the plan.

“I recognize the importance for our community to have a plan for housing coronavirus patients, but I have yet to actually see the plan announced last week,” Torres said. “A state of emergency does not mean we should disregard the laws that hold elected officials accountable – the Brown Act still applies, and the people of Pomona have a right to know the details about what is happening in their city.”

A police SUV parked outside the Sheraton Fairplex Hotel. (credit: CBS)

County officials say the hotel – which is not a lockdown facility – will not be open to the general public and that patients will need to be referred to the hotel.

Torres says her primary concern is in the event someone leaves the hotel without authorization and puts neighboring facilities at risk, including a nearby senior mobile home, assisted living facilities and group homes in the area.

“There are glaring concerns for my community that the County must address,” Torres added. “We will now have a hot zone in the heart of a working-class community – what resources will they provide for preparation?”

But Pomona Fairplex spokesperson Miguel Santana says the hotel is an “important part of an infrastructure of different facilities throughout the county.”

“This could impact our fathers, our mothers, our grandparents, our children, our neighbors and friends,” he added.

All 244 rooms at the Sheraton will stay open at least through the end of April.