Chris Geldart, the incident command lead for the District’s Covid-19 response, spent much of ANC 3F’s April 21st meeting answering questions and responding to concerns about safety and the lack of transparency surrounding the Days Inn and the other hotels the District is using for Covid-19 quarantines.
We still had a lot of questions, as did Council member Mary Cheh and a lot of other people. The next day, the District revealed the locations of the other four sites to WAMU. A few days later, the District released information about the other four hotels. On April 23rd, the Washington City Paper reported that one patient left the Days Inn because she was receiving inadequate care.
Cheh referred to the City Paper’s coverage in her April 29th constituent newsletter. (Subscribe at marycheh.com and read the archived newsletters in the “Ward 3 Updates” section.) She also said she has been “pleased with the response and renewed operational oversight efforts by Director Geldart and his team.” And she posted answers she received from further questions she had about the Days Inn site:
Are residents required to remain in isolation by agreement with accepting to quarantine there or otherwise? Everyone residing in an isolation and quarantine site is asked to sign an agreement not to leave their room upon arrival.
Are residents getting the medical care and attention they need? Yes. Upon arrival, Medical staff perform an intake process. On a daily basis, medical staff conduct wellness checks with each resident, screening for symptoms and ensuring that any medical needs are addressed.
How many residents are there? As of 4/26, there are 125 residents at the Days Inn.
From what agency (or third party) are the staff from and how are they trained? Daily there are between 20-35 staff and contracted providers on-site from the Department of Human Services (DHS), Unity Healthcare, and contracted providers.
- DHS provides a mandatory orientation and training for staff which includes the following sections: ISAQ [isolation and quarantine] overview, customer service, roles overview, data entry, policies and procedures, PPE use, client engagement, and client de-escalation.
What PPE are they given, how is it to be discarded, and can staff leave the building wearing PPE? The types of PPE given depend on the role of staff, but at minimum, include face masks and gloves. Contracted medical staff and cleaning staff have additional PPE requirements based on duties performed. All PPE is provided by either DHS or the contracted vendor.
- All PPE should be removed and discarded in accordance with the CDC’s recommended removal process for PPE.
- Staff and contractors may, similar to the general public, wear face masks outside of the building.
More questions and answers
Forest Hills Connection had more questions about worker numbers and protection at the Days Inn. Here’s what we learned from the Department of Public Works (of which Chris Geldart is the director).
Regarding staffing over a 24-hour period: There is one medical doctor on site from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. As many as five registered nurses are on site every day – three working from 3 a.m. to 5 p.m., two on noon to 9 p.m. shifts. And there is one medical assistant from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. every day.
There are four security guards on duty throughout the day and four throughout the night. Another five to six staffers are assigned to work each twelve-hour shift. A private contractor cleans the hotel.
The boardroom is used for logistics coordination, meal prep, and staff huddles. [The District Department of Human Services] manages a table in the lobby to register incoming guests.
Regarding worker and community safety: Medical staff and site operations staff are issued PPE according to CDC guidelines. Only medical staff are provided N95 masks and goggles/eye shields. Site operations staff have surgical or cloth masks and gloves.
Staff are not tested regularly unless they become symptomatic, and then they would be tested. We have not had staff at that site who have developed symptoms.
Trash or medical waste? The waste generated by clients at the [Days Inn], regardless of COVID-19 test results, is defined as regular solid waste; regulated medical waste or hazardous waste standards do not apply. Garbage bags placed outside individual rooms are collected by the cleaning service provider daily and are aggregated in designated waste disposal areas and containerized (such as in a dumpster). The aggregated solid waste is removed from the facility premises when the designated containers become full or at least once per week.
Waste generated by deep cleaning and disinfection procedures is also defined as regular solid waste. When deep cleaning and disinfection are provided by an outside vendor, waste generated from cleaning rooms is not stored at the facility for any length of time. Instead, waste shall be transported offsite for disposal immediately following deep cleaning and disinfection activities.
Who is in charge of referring those in need of quarantine to Days Inn? Referrals to ISAQ sites come from area hospitals and shelters. Individuals are routed to specific sites based on availability.
Whom should a member of the community contact if some concerns arise around the site? If there is troubling activity, members of the public are welcome to complete an unusual incident report, which is available on the DHS website. Residents may also call the Unusual Incident Hotline at (202) 673-4464.
More questions and answers
The Department of Human Services has published a FAQ about the quarantine sites.