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A view of Louisville from the Ohio River. (WDRB Photo)

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – Hotel rooms will be part of Louisville’s plan to keep some COVID-19 patients and people exposed to the illness isolated from others.

The city’s public health and wellness department is seeking bids from hotel operators to provide at least 10 rooms per day, or 100 “room nights” per month, for people who don’t have the ability to self-isolate at home. A request for proposals says more rooms could be added.

The program targets those in crowded living arrangements and the homeless, said Dave Langdon, a health department spokesman.

“Basically as we do this expanded and coordinated testing and the expanded contact tracing, there are going to be instances when people will not be able to isolate where they live,” he said.

The city’s contact tracing program started last week. It aims to keep tabs on those who have tested positive for COVID-19 and anyone who those patients have had close contact with and possibly infected, advising them to quarantine.

Metro government plans to award a contract “as soon as we possibly can,” Langdon said. The health department will evaluate the proposals based on criteria that emphasize cost, followed by location and layout, amenities, cleaning services and previous health inspections.

Hotels have until Wednesday to bid on the work. Among those that have downloaded documents from the city’s procurement website are the Courtyard by Marriott Louisville Airport, Hilton Garden Inn Louisville Downtown and SpringHill Suites.

Louisville Tourism sent the request for proposals to more than 50 hotel operators in the organization's database, president and CEO Karen Williams said. 

Gov. Andy Beshear allowed hotels in Kentucky to remain open during the pandemic as long as they maintained social distancing requirements. But some closed altogether, reacting to the outbreak and the cancellation of major events such as the Kentucky Derby in May.

In March, Louisville Tourism predicted that hotel tax revenue could fall by up to 85 percent during the pandemic because of the loss of conventions and other major events in the city.

Some hotels have begun making plans to resume parts of their operations. The Omni Louisville has scheduled an August 1 reopening, while Louisville’s 21c Museum Hotel is set to reopen July 1 with limited hours and operations.

Besides just providing rooms as part of the “isolation program,” hotels must submit plans that require a contact-free exchange of linens and ensure that rooms have a microwave, a small refrigerator, a coffee maker and other amenities.

The funding source for the work hasn’t been determined, according to the city’s procurement website.

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