POMONA (CBSLA) — A Pomona city councilmember says the state did not consult with local leaders about opening a coronavirus patient center at the L.A. County Fairgrounds.
The Sheraton Fairplex Hotel in Pomona will transform from checking in guests to treating patients. The county has leased the hotel from March 23 through May 31.
City councilmember Robert Torres of District 6 said he wasn’t notified that the 244 rooms at the hotel were being converted into a quarantine center until shortly before Friday’s announcement. Torres said he’s not confident there are plans in place to ensure that the community will remain safe.
“We want to help but we want to be included in the process,” he said.
Torres said the L.A. County Department of Public Health has kept him in the dark regarding day-to-day operations at the Sheraton Fairplex, and that if it continues, he’ll file a complaint.
“Right now, more than ever, the government has to be honest with the people about what’s taking place.”
The hotel’s executive leadership offered some news about community safety as the property is being used for patients.
“People who are going to be quarantined here must stay inside their rooms,” said Pomona Fairplex CEO Miguel Santana. “They cannot even leave their rooms or walk through the hallways.”
Santana also said the county’s public health team has a plan in place to control who is entering and leaving the quarantine center, medically clearing all patients before they can leave the property, and ensuring there is no trace of the virus in the hotel before it’s reopened to guests.
“They put a plan together that’s going to protect the community, not put the community at risk.”
According to Santana, the first wave of patients at the hotel will likely be first responders who became infected on the job.