Senator critical of Cityʻs move to open isolation & quarantine facility in ʻEwa, Oʻahu
Senator Kurt Fevella sent a letter to Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiardi on Wednesday about the City’s decision to open a second isolation and quarantine facility at the West Loch Modular housing facility in ‘Ewa.
“I can appreciate the need for additional isolation facilities to help address the strain on our hospital facilities,” Sen. Fevella wrote, “However, what was sorely missing, and what is considered standard operating procedures, is an effort by the City to inform area-elected officials and community stakeholders of its plans to open this facility.”
Senator Fevella (District 19 – ‘Ewa Beach, Ocean Pointe, ‘Ewa by Gentry, Iroquois Point, portion of ‘Ewa Villages) said that while the residents of ‘Ewa and ‘Ewa Beach “continue to be a community who have welcomed their fair share of support facilities and services,” he said, “We are a community deserving of respectful notification even in emergency situations.”
Mayor Blangiardi announced the opening of its second isolate and quarantine facility at its West Loch Modular housing facility on Monday, Jan. 31, 2022.
He said the facility was selected “in an effort to provide a safe place to isolate and quarantine for those who otherwise do not have a place to do so, as well as help mitigate the spread of COVID-19 on O‘ahu.”
The 3-story building was the first stacked modular project in the state. Starting with 26 units for isolation and quarantine, this facility has the ability to expand to more than 50 units for isolation and quarantine.
He said the facility in ‘Ewa Beach will provide added capacity to the City’s isolation and quarantine facility currently available at Harbor Arms in ‘Aiea.
“Opening an additional isolation quarantine facility for our community on such short notice took a magnificent team effort by multiple City departments including HESD, DEM, DLM, BFS, COR and the Office of the Managing Director,” said Mayor Rick Blangiardi in a press release announcement earlier this week. “We are opening this facility out of an abundance of caution, however we remain optimistic that the Omicron variant has peaked with an anticipated decline in the need for isolation and quarantine resources in the near future. We will continue to monitor the current conditions and consult with our leaders in healthcare as we navigate the ever-changing landscape of this COVID-19 pandemic.”
Those seeking admission into the West Loch modular housing for isolation or quarantine can call the Aloha United Way at 211, which is providing screening, however patients are being prioritized by those discharged from hospitals in an effort to help free up hospital rooms.
“The City is providing an emergency response to the current high case numbers by helping to alleviate the strain that has been placed on our hospitals and healthcare facilities over the last two years,” said Director of the Honolulu Emergency Services Department, Dr. Jim Ireland. “We thank Aloha United Way, the North Shore Mental Health, and Banquet Solutions for making this possible. It’s through a strong partnership that we are able to help those requiring a place to isolate or quarantine, while also ensuring we best protect the City and County of Honolulu.”
Each unit is fully furnished and has its own kitchen and bathroom. The building was originally built as affordable housing for individuals and couples on O‘ahu at or below 50% of the area median income and is slated to open after its use as an isolation and quarantine facility.
The project had a price tag of $21 million. The ground floor includes a kitchen, dining room, laundry facility and an office for the property manager. It is located on 1.43 acres of city-owned land between Asing Community Park and the city-sponsored West Loch Elderly Village apartment complex.