Laguna Hills officials announced Thursday they have dismissed their lawsuit seeking to block the county from using a state and federal program to house transients infected with COVID-19 at a hotel in the city.
The dismissal of the lawsuit came on the day officials were scheduled to argue for a preliminary injunction. Orange County Superior Court Judge Thomas Delaney on April 20 rejected the city’s temporary restraining order request to block the use of the 76-bed Laguna Hills Inn at 23061 Avenida de la Carlota as part of Project Roomkey.
City officials said they decided to drop the lawsuit after receiving correspondence from Orange County Supervisor Lisa Bartlett and county CEO Frank Kim that offered “specific assurances” about the project.
Officials said they were assured it would only be temporary and will close within 60 days of Gov. Gavin Newsom’s “safer at home” order ending.
Officials were also assured about “security protocols and medical staffing.”
Kim said only one transient was staying at the hotel as of Thursday.
There are 139 transients housed in hotels as part of Project Roomkey in Orange County, officials said. Of those, 122 are considered at a high risk of contracting a severe case of COVID-19 due to age or underlying health issues, and 17 are infected.
Officials were using the hotels to safely quarantine transients infected with the virus because they cannot properly socially distance in the county’s shelters or while living on the streets.
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