South Bay leaders unveil plans to expand quarantine shelter program

County and city leaders in the South Bay on Monday discussed plans to expand Santa Clara County's quarantine shelter program.

It has been providing hotel and motel rooms for hundreds of people exposed to the coronavirus who otherwise would have remained on the streets or in homes where isolation is challenging or impossible, possibly exposing others. 

Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors President Cindy Chavez said about 500 people have taken advantage of the program so far, with the majority of those being people from overcrowded homes or people who are homeless. 

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So far, San Jose, Milpitas, Morgan Hill, Gilroy, Saratoga, Campbell, Los Altos and Los Altos Hills have opted in. The program is expected to cost a little over $13 million and will be paid for by community development block grant money, CARES Act money and other resources, Chavez said. The program is planned through December 31.

"We're going to do as much as we can for as long as we can," said Chavez. 

Folks seeking a place to isolate can contact the county directly, though Chavez said a lot of participants were discovered through the county's contact tracing process. For example, if the county records a positive test for the virus they contact those close to the person who tested positive and find out what assistance they need--potentially getting into a place to quarantine. 

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The expansion plan is expected to go before the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors Tuesday.