Carlstadt mayor upset long-term care patients are being kept at Econo Lodge

A 911 call at the Econo Lodge in Carlstadt led police to discover that there were long-term care patients from the nearby St. Mary’s General Hospital being housed at the hotel – even though the borough had told the motel not to take in patients.
Administrators at the hospital say that patients were placed in the hotel so that they could have their own rooms in isolation.
"The hospital and Department of Human Services jointly agreed to move these patients to a hotel where there was more room for social distancing and individual bathrooms,” St. Mary’s marketing director Vanessa Warner said in a statement.
There are 28 long-term care patients, along with two nurses who look over them 24-7. Those patients live independently and had been sharing a community bathroom, hence the plan to move them to the Econo Lodge. None of the patients have symptoms of the coronavirus.
But the decision has upset Carlstadt Mayor Robert Zimmerman, who worried about a potential COVID-19 outbreak.
“If there should be a COVID-19 outbreak down there, we have a small volunteer ambulance corp. We have a small police department. We have a volunteer fire department. So, if any of those people needed quarantine, it could be catastrophic,” Zimmerman says.
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Econo Lodge management approached the Carlstadt Borough Council three weeks ago explaining that they could get state funding if they took on the patients. But the council denied the request and said that it is a zoning violation.
“They pretty much for all intents and purposes went behind our backs and started taking patients into the motel,” Zimmerman says.
The mayor says that he is worried that this could set a precedent and that other area hotels will begin taking in patients. Zimmerman says that if the hospital had approached the council about the idea, he would have told them no as well.
The future of the patients at the hotel is up in the air. Zimmerman says that he is now in discussion with hospital administration.