COVID Positive Test Among Homeless At Red Lion Downtowner

The GUARDIAN has confirmed that Boise City is funding sanitizing services and renting rooms for members of the homeless community at the Red Lion Downtowner.

An unofficial source told us the entire second floor and about 46 rooms were occupied by homeless residents. That source also inquired at the registration desk about the situation, but their questions were basically dodged.

A city spokesperson told us, “We are also paying for the rooms, but are submitting the incurred costs to the State for reimbursement via the CARES Act. This is a plan we’ve had in place from the beginning to provide the necessary medical care to our most vulnerable community members and ensure the safety of all residents amidst the pandemic.”

First responders were sent a city memo last Thursday advising them of at least one positive COVID test at the Downtowner and warning them to take appropriate precautions responding to calls at the hotel.

Meanwhile, we got this evasive response from the Central District Health District on Friday despite the alert sent to city first responders. “CDH is not able to confirm whether a homeless community member was ill at the Red Lion Hotel. I can tell you that to date there has not been a public exposure associated with a person living homeless in our jurisdiction.”

The message from CDH went on to say, ” However, from a public notification standpoint, if someone were to test positive for COVID and were staying at a hotel, that alone does not constitute a public exposure or need for a widespread notice. When, through contact tracing, we identify people who were exposed by someone infected with COVID-19 (we use CDC’s guidance to determine exposures), there are a number of communication channels we or an impacted business might use – a widespread public notice is typically only used when we don’t have a way to directly communicate with each person that the ill individual interacted with while infectious.”

Today the IDAHO PRESS reports 11 members of the homeless community have tested positive and none are at the Interfaith Sanctuary. We suspect they may have been at the Red Lion Downtowner, but the location of the COVID outbreak was not disclosed.


When we began investigating this story there was only a single report of a positive COVID test. We questioned hospitality and travel providers about the moral and ethical duty to inform patrons of homeless and potential health hazards. All of them said it would be wrong to not inform guests of the potential hazards. It now appears that at least 11 people have tested positive.

We don’t have any answers to the pandemic, but felt compelled to make the facts known to the public.

Comments & Discussion

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  1. It was our understanding, early on, that the city was housing some homeless folks in hotels who were tested or suspected COVID-19 positive as a way of enabling them to isolate. So, it should come as no surprise that homeless individuals at the Red Lion and/or Riverside may be testing positive.

  2. Western guy
    Jun 24, 2020, 3:56 pm

    Any word from Red Lion regarding g how their regular guests have reacted?

    Will entire hotel be disinfected and who will pay?

    EDITOR NOTE–To the best of our knowledge city is paying to sanitize 2nd floor where homeless live. They will use fed CARES money via state of Idaho. Hotel seems to be keeping it under the radar.

  3. Eamonn Harter
    Jun 24, 2020, 8:47 pm

    The hotels must be so desperate for revenue that they are willing to risk litigation and the reputation of their brands. The safety and health of their paying customers is not the primary concern.

  4. Here's Your Sign
    Jun 25, 2020, 12:11 pm

    Just a harbinger of things to come.

    I’m disappointed but not surprised by the sheer number of covidiots in Boise. Yes you! Are you in an enclosed public space without a mask on? Here’s your sign! Yes, this whole thing would have ended by now if everyone would have strictly isolated in place for a few weeks in April. Can’t believe I voted for the biggest covidiot of all. Sigh!

  5. ” would be wrong to not inform guests of the potential hazards”

    So, let’s add “previous guests MAY have had covid” to the l o o o o n g list of filth and hazards at hotels.

    Makes me wonder where the Guardian slept on the recent trip to MI???

    city responders must react as if EVERY person they ‘respond to’ might have covid- so why the city memo?

    Did the responders get the same memo for every retirement home? every + tested resident?

    Isolate at HOME?
    Great. What if you don’t have a home?

  6. My goodness! Just curious how many homeless, repressed and racially disadvantaged folks Boise’s queen laurie and her Star Chamber of human caricatures, vicious jesters and other assorted poltroons have personally taken in. (No, I don’t mean “taken in” as having scammed enough voters into electing them.)

    Many elitist career politicians, including her socialistic highness laurie, appear to live in ostentatiously large domiciles that, even without stacking in cots and bunk beds could alleviate much of Boise’s “affordable housing shortage.”

    These overpaid political elites produce no real products or added value but draw wages that are far in excess of their actual worth from those who do actually work and produce.
    Like all socialists, as long as their money is not being spent or their ox being gored in any way it is “Damn the torpedoes full speed ahead with YOUR money, not ours!”

  7. Here's Your Sign
    Jun 26, 2020, 11:49 am

    WHY? Please don’t be such a snowflake. Perhaps the editor allows it for the same reason the editor does not support the burning of books. Also, I’ve heard some of the greatest thinkers in human history were rude and brushed aside fools routinely.

    The cancel culture is in fact the very thing they claim to be fighting. The modern ‘woke’ fool has two common denominators. Total lack of accurate historical knowledge. Extreme hypocrisy.

  8. Co-habitate
    Jun 30, 2020, 7:48 pm

    This is probably a developing story. If the virus is spreading at the facility, then the health department should be on top of it.

    Of course it is spreading withing the 2nd floor, as it is everywhere else.

    Idaho is backward.

    We are this way because the politics attract individuals who are not reasonable enough to know when to conform. Vaccinate or anti?

  9. I just love the Covid “experts” that climb out of the trunk to tell us all how they had/have the perfect solution, when they don’t even possess all the facts.

    This entire show wreaks to high Heaven. The numbers are cooked (go see the Atlantic – ‘How Could the CDC Make That Mistake?’

    The authorities can’t make up their minds about policy or protocol. No one cares about the suicides, the destroyed businesses, livelihoods or super hypocrisies like protesting is immune from Covid or ‘Protesting cuts down Covid’ Colorado Sun –


    The homeless sheltering of Covid positive people brings up an interesting problem…how do you treat a homeless person compared to a renter/homeowner? With no place to shelter, under orders, the City placed themselves in the position of taking responsibility. The homeless cannot comply, because they are…homeless. So, until the Mayor stops playing Queen Covid…then she takes responsibility. Now…that means OUR taxes pay for it. So, IF…you believe in the fear of the Covid…then you had better go along with it and PAY UP. BUT…if you question the Covid in its strength, capabilities, its spread factor, how our immunity is stifling it, how many are asymptomatic, how long this is gonna last and how many lives will be ruined with these shutdowns… then we had all better run our little metal drink cups along the jail cell bars until we get some response from our “leaders.”

    This housing the homeless issue doesn’t rile me up ANYWHERE as much as the lies and deception being dished out on a daily basis by the “experts” and finger waggers. I’ve never seen so damned many SHEEP as I have in this last several months.

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