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Local hotels could give up rooms to help hospitals if necessary

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GRANGER, Ind. - Local hotels could be called on to help house patients and health care workers.

The Indiana Restaurant and Lodging Association (INRLA) has a list of available hotels. It’s worth noting that even if a hotel is on the list, it does not mean they have to be open should hospitals need that extra space.

That being said, officials at INRLA tell ABC57 there are two hotels in the area on the list. Although they couldn’t say the hotel names, one is in Granger and the other is in Goshen.

“We’ve been helping coordinate with those key essential supply chains in terms of ok yeah these hotels are open because we do have hotels that unfortunately had to close during this time as well,” Patrick Tamm, the President & CEO at INRLA said. “So hotels and those we’re really continued the need to fill that void for those in need of assistance and that comes in a lot of different forms.”

If this happens, hotels would be completely taken over meaning no one else can book a room.

But it’s not just hotels that can be used, Tamm said officials are also looking into dorms.

He said that at this point virtually every college has been reached out to in some way shape or form.

It’s all in an effort to make sure a safe environment is utilized when hospitals overflow or patients don’t have a proper place to stay.

“Through the federal and also really health care entities were really leading that charge so folks are planning as you want them to for potential outcomes that may never occur but if they do occur they want to have these resources ready and available,” Tamm said. “In some cases, it is purely being utilized for their staff, they're just worn out, exhausted and tired already but more importantly it's also developed if this occurs we have a plan in place.”

This isn’t just happening in Indiana. States like New York have opened up hotels to coronavirus patients and emergency personnel. But in Indiana, no plans are set in stone just yet.

“In the state of Indiana at this time, I can't answer that I don't know. I do know that they are in other states,” Tamm said.

As for the requirements needed for a hotel to be able to do this, he says in some cases it comes down to which options are available.

Everything from interior hallways, HVAC systems, plumbing, and accessibility also have to be considered.

And Tamm says steps have to be taken to combat contamination.

“The army core of engineers has drawings, mechanical drawings,” he said. “That can take a hotel or a dorm room for example and have been able to create negative air pressure, negative airflow which is very critical in intensive care units so that person that is sick, all the air oxygen what have you in that room is self-contained it doesn't go out into a hallway doesn't go into other patients or gas rooms.”

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