Amid a record-breaking coronavirus case surge, San Diego County's network of hotel rooms reserved for COVID-19 patients who can’t isolate might be more necessary now than when it was started last spring.
The county has reserved 1,600 hotel rooms for COVID-19 patients like Eli Sanchez, who have been stricken by the deadly disease and have no where safe to wait until it passes.
Sanchez's situation is unique. He was working as a magician and comedy show scheduler until the entertainment industry was paused by purple tier restrictions. Until last Tuesday when he tested positive for COVID-19, Sanchez was living and working at a hostel.
"It's just logistically going to be too tough for me to be there,” Sanchez explained. “My temperature was 101, I slept very poorly, night sweats, chills."
Sanchez said he was pleasantly surprised with this temporary housing at a county-operated hotel. It includes three meals a day and a private balcony.
“My expectations going in were like this is going to be depressing and weird and this is gonna have almost like a nuclear fallout shelter feel, but it is quite the opposite,” he said.
There are dozens more living in isolation at the hotel, according to Sanchez, but they’re hardly neighbors.
“To be eating that with no real people to share it with, it was just kind of dull. It wasn't sad, just kind of, I guess this is what it is now,” he described.
Sanchez is trying not to complain. He had no place else to isolate and his hotel is every bit the kind of hotel he would book for a vacation.
Sanchez said his fever broke Thursday and he was hoping he was on a track toward improvement.
“It pains me to report that I no longer taste or smell,” Sanchez said Friday. "It is very unsettling and it was just weird.”
Sanchez will have his room until at least Dec. 4, and then his situation will be reassessed.