Omicron Surge Strains New York’s Stock of Hotel Rooms for Quarantine

Finally, Ms. Guo said, on Monday — about four days after the second roommate tested positive — one of the four was transferred to a line where a recording said there were 150 people ahead of her on hold. Three hours later, a dispatcher picked up and said the city would send someone to bring the sick roommate to a hotel.

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

Calls to the hotline on Friday were answered by a recording asking that the caller leave a message.

Monte Monteleagre, who lives in Manhattan, described a different telephone ordeal that yielded a similarly fruitless result.

After testing positive for the virus on Dec. 18 and calling to inquire about the hotel program, he was put on hold for more than 90 minutes while being forced to push a button every few minutes to keep his place on the line.

“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 get a call back within two days. It took five days for the call to come, he said. By then, he and his roommate had made other arrangements.

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

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

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