GALLUP, N.M. (AP) — A western New Mexico hotel that once hosted John Wayne and future U.S. President Ronald Reagan will use one of its buildings to house homeless respiratory patients.
The Gallup Independent reported that El Rancho Hotel agreed this week to offer its space if health care workers needed places for critical patients affected by COVID-19.
El Rancho Hotel officials said patients will be placed in a separate building across the parking lot from the central hotel. The building has enough space for up to 20 homeless people.
The hotel agreed to lend space after it was called by New Mexico’s governor’s office.
State officials are working to locate additional space to accommodate a potential surge in COVID-19 patients needing hospital care.
Located on Route 66 near the Arizona state line, El Rancho Hotel hosted to actors Reagan, Wayne, Katherine Hepburn, and Spencer Tracy.
For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia and death.
New Mexico has more than 400 cases, with dozens of people hospitalized. The state also has reported seven deaths related to the virus.
The New Mexico Department of Transportation and the Archiocese of Santa Fe on Friday urged Catholics to stay home during Holy Week and to refrain from participating in annual pilgrimages that have been canceled b a because of a public health order prohibiting gatherings of five or more people.
“In unity with all Christians, we call on the faithful to make home the holy place for the sake of all families during the COVID-19 pandemic. It is imperative we heed the advice of our global scientists, medical and public health experts,” Archbishop John Wester said. “Stay home. By practicing social distancing, together we can save lives.”