Omicron Surge is straining New York City hotel room stock for quarantine

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Finally, Ms. Guo said that on Monday – about four days after the second roommate tested positive – one of the four was transferred to a line where a recording showed there were 150 people in front of her waiting. Three hours later, a dispatcher came over and said the city would send someone to bring the sick roommate to a hotel.

“They still haven’t come,” Ms. Guo said on Friday morning.

On Friday, calls to the hotline were answered with a recording asking the caller to leave a message.

Monte Monteleagre, who lives in Manhattan, described a different telephone ordeal that yielded an equally unsuccessful result.

After testing positive for the virus on December 18 and called to inquire about the hotel’s schedule, he was put on hold for over 90 minutes while being forced to press a button every few minutes to keep its place online.

“I missed the prompt once and had to start over from the back of the line,” he said.

When Mr Monteleagre, 26, finally spoke to someone, he was told he would receive a callback within two days. It took five days for the call to arrive, he said. By then, he and his roommate had made other arrangements.

Violetta Barberis, 47, who said she tested positive for the virus on December 20 and whose husband has a severely compromised immune system, wanted a hotel room immediately after learning of her result. She said she was told she would have to wait 48 hours.

“We paid out of pocket which is super boring but we had to do it,” said Ms. Barberis, who lives in Lower Manhattan. “I can imagine that for people who had less financial flexibility, that would be impossible.”

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