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Field hospital at Seattle’s CenturyLink Field Event Center to open this week

Around 500 military medical personnel are assigned to a field hospital set up at the CenturyLink Field Event Center. The facility is expected to open this week.

SEATTLE — The Army field hospital being set up at the CenturyLink Field Event Center in Seattle is expected to open this week, according to a report from the Department of Defense.

The 250-bed field hospital is meant to help treat non-coronavirus (COVID-19) patients and free up beds at area hospitals.

Around 500 military medical personnel from multiple units are assigned to the facility.

"We have an important mission," said Army Col. Hope Williamson-Younce. "We are expeditionary, we're agile, and we're responsive. We have medical doctors, nurses and support staff from all over the world. They mobilized in a moment's notice to support the American people."

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Army Lt. Col. Jason Hughes, commander of the 10th Field Hospital, said the facility will include 48 intensive care unit beds, an emergency room, operating suites, a lab, a microbiology unit, blood banking capability, X-ray capability and services for mental and spiritual health.

Credit: AP Photo/Ted S. Warren
Soldiers take part in a ventilator training session at the site of a military field hospital, Sunday, April 5, 2020, at the CenturyLink Field Event Center in Seattle. Officials said the facility, which will be used for people with medical issues that are not related to the coronavirus outbreak, has more than 200 beds and is ready to receive patients.

Hughes said some of the personnel assigned to the field hospital are working with local officials to develop plans to determine what patients will come to the facility and how they will arrive.

Since the CenturyLink field hospital is intended for patients who test negative for COVID-19, patients will be screened for the virus at the referring hospital and again at the event center before being treated.

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Normally field hospitals are used during wartime and beds are set up close together. Hughes said the beds at the event center field hospital will have barriers between them to help protect the patient’s privacy.

It is currently unknown how many patients will be seen at the hospital or when they will start to arrive.

"Whether the hospitals offload patients to us immediately, that remains to be seen," said Hughes. "But we'll be ready, whether they come or not. We'll see what the local network can handle. But we'll be ready to go."

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