COVID-19 cases rise as Philly prepares first quarantine center

Officials are planning to turn a Center City hotel into a quarantine site for homeless people and others infected with the COVID-19 virus as the number of cases in Philadelphia now tops 250.

The Holiday Inn Express on Walnut Street near 13th Street is set to become the city’s first quarantine facility.

City Managing Director Brian Abernathy said Tuesday the city is leasing the building, which will be used to isolate homeless people and others who cannot safely quarantine at home, including domestic violence victims and those who live with people who have compromised immune systems.

A vast majority of residents exposed to the coronavirus would still be asked to self-quarantine. Officials did not say when the Holiday Inn site would open.

Meanwhile, city leaders are frustrated over talks involving another potential quarantine site, Hahnemann University Hospital, which was controversially closed last year.

Abernathy said negotiations have been challenging, and Mayor Jim Kenney accused the building’s owner, Joel Freedman, of “jacking up” his asking price in an attempt to profit off the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We’re continuing to try to negotiate and find a path forward,” Abernathy said.

Health Commissioner Thomas Farley reported 77 new coronavirus cases, bringing the city’s total

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