As an outgrowth of the convening of the Network’s Western MA COVID-19 Task Force, last Friday, November 20, Western MA Mayors and Town Managers and city and town staff met with Secretary Mary Lou Sudders, MEMA Director Samantha Phillips and Linn Torto, Executive Director of the MA Interagency Council on Housing and Homelessness, to discuss the need for an Isolation and Quarantine hotel in the Western region.
The meeting included: North Adams Mayor Thomas Bernard, Northampton Mayor David Narkewicz, Pittsfield Mayor Linda Tyer, Chicopee Mayor John Vieau, Greenfield Mayor Roxann Wedegartner, Amherst Town Manager Paul Bockelman, City of Springfield Housing Director Gerry McCafferty and city and town staff from the various mayors’ and managers’ offices.
In summary, after our Mayors and Manager presented compelling information on the need for Isolation and Quarantine (I&Q) space in Western MA, we learned from Secretary Sudders that a request for bids* to open an I&Q site in Western MA (and 4 other locations statewide) was issued on November 9 and as soon as a bid is accepted, a hotel will open here, presumably in the next couple of weeks.
The Secretary also reported that MEMA will begin administering rapid COVID tests at all shelters statewide (similar to the tests being distributed at schools). But since then DHCD has reported they will only be doing this test for people who are symptomatic, so some additional clarification is needed.
The Secretary made clear she was happy for this opportunity to talk and encouraged continuing dialogue when any concerns and needs arise.
We will all stay tuned as a Western MA hotel is identified and as testing details become clear.
Thanks to our Western MA leaders for this effort!
* If you want to access the hotel bid, please follow these steps:https://www.commbuys.com/bso/view/login/login.xhtml
Click the above link
Click Contract and Bid search at the lower left
Click on radio button for bids (and wait to populate)
Choose 1013 from Organization drop down
Look for Hotel Bid link.