Keep your patients safe

Guidance for healthcare providers who have positive COVID-19 patients and need isolation help.

What to do

Recognize when a patient must follow the city’s isolation requirement. Inform your patient of their responsibility to follow the rules. Identify if your patient can isolate. Remind them they should wear a face covering.

Can your patient isolate?

The patient should be able to stay in a separate room from others. This includes a bathroom and kitchen they can use without being around others. If they must share a bathroom or kitchen, they should be able to disinfect the area after each time they use it.

People living in semi-congregate settings, like single room occupancy hotels, treatment programs and other dense environments, can often isolate and disinfect areas with proper guidance. Individuals living in congregate settings, such as homeless shelters with open dorms, may need isolation at the shelter overflow site. 

There are limited Isolation and Quarantine (I&Q) hotel rooms. Contact the COVID Resource Center at (628) 652-2700 for details on exclusion criteria.

Transportation to place of isolation

Confirm if your patient can walk or travel in their own vehicle to their place of isolation. The patient should not take public transit, taxi, or rideshare to their place of isolation.

More support needed while isolating

If your patient needs help getting food, medication, pet care, cleaning supplies, or other means, here is a list of resources:

  • For food delivery, fill out a referral form. To follow up on an existing referral, contact Meals on Wheels at (628) 652-6018 or IQFoodProgram@mowsf.org.
  • For medication delivery for older people or people with disabilities, consider using the following pharmacies: Walgreens, CVS, Kaiser, or Alto.
  • For pet care, call Animal care & control at (415) 554-9400, who can bring pets to an animal shelter but only for hospitalized persons.
  • For questions on COVID-19 therapeutics or vaccine and testing questions, please reach out to the COVID Information Warmline at (628) 652-2700.
  • For financial support, contact the Office of Economic and Workforce Development at (415) 701-4817.
  • For all other inquiries, call 311.

When a patient cannot isolate

There are a limited number of hotel rooms available for San Francisco residents who qualify to complete their isolation for free. There are ADA accommodations. Complete this referral form.

After submitting the referral, your patient will be screened for eligibility and processed by the referral coordinator. You do not need to call to follow up. During business hours, a referral nurse will be in contact with you and/or the patient within two hours at most. Bed availability is dependent on supply and the safety of the patient referred to stay at the site. If you have any questions about eligibility or the referral process, contact the COVID Information Warmline at (628) 652-2700. If it is after hours, leave a message to receive a callback.

Eligibility for isolation housing

Patients must be  medically stable, able to manage their own medications and activities of daily living, willing to come to the site, and able to understand the need to stay inside the room. Patients cannot be on psychiatric hold or expressing active suicidal ideation/homicidal ideation, and must be independent with all activities of daily living and medication management. Families, including pediatric patients, are eligible. If you have questions about your patient’s eligibility, call the COVID Information Warmline at (628) 652-2700.

City provided isolation housing is a scarce community resource and should only be used for patients who need it and cannot do so. Patients should not be referred if their only need is shelter.

Housing is provided to the following groups in order of descending priority:

  • People who reside in a congregate setting (e.g. shelter, residential rehab), where onsite cohorting cannot be achieved and individuals cannot isolate away from others.
  • People who reside in a household with an unvaccinated individual(s) who are at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19 and cannot isolate themselves away from others (this includes vehicle and couch surfing).
  • People who are experiencing unsheltered homelessness (e.g. street, encampment) and cannot isolate themselves from others.

What to expect at an isolation site

Isolation sites are supported by a health worker who can assist with discharges and general questions. Healthcare staff will not be onsite for patient care or general assessment. Clients will need to arrive with all medications in hand or arrange for delivery. Clients need to be able to manage their own activities for daily living and not be at risk for substance use/abuse or alcohol withdrawal. Clients on methadone will be considered, but must be willing to be compliant with masking guidelines and clinics must agree to provide dosing for the client based on their COVID-19 protocols.

Your patient will be required to stay at the site for the duration of their isolation. Patients will have access to phones and television. They can receive outside deliveries during their stay. Telephone translation services are used if language-concordant staff are not available.

Last updated July 11, 2022