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Field hospital at Seattle's CenturyLink Field Event Center could open by next week

The field hospital at CenturyLink Field Event Center in Seattle will be one of 8 in Washington state to help hospitals facing an overflow of coronavirus patients.

SEATTLE — The Army field hospital under construction at CenturyLink Field event center could open as soon as next week, officials say. 

The facility will treat non-coronavirus patients, to relieve pressure on brick and mortar hospitals. 

Lt. Colonel Jason Hughes, commander of the 10th Field Hospital, said he hopes it provides relief for the region's healthcare workers. 

“So the idea is once the medical system is overwhelmed that they’re able to offload patients here that we can take care of, while they focus on the COVID patients,” Hughes said. 

RELATED: Washington getting 8 field hospitals to help with coronavirus fight

CenturyLink was going to be one of two 148-bed field hospitals, state officials said Monday, along with six smaller 40-bed facilities across the state. 

Tuesday, they updated the plan to only include the CenturyLink field hospital and a “surge hospital” in Yakima. 

Hughes said his teams are adapting from their usual intended purpose— deploying to a warzone, but rising to the challenge. 

They have not set a hard date to open but expect it to be sometime next week. 

“It’s conditions-based,” Hughes said. “So normally a field hospital is set out in a war theatre, so some of the things you would see in a normal hospital we don’t bring inherently, so we’re relying on contracts to provide that to us.”

He said patients will receive the same care as they would at civilian hospitals. The unit stands up operating facilities, labs, blood bank, microbiology— all the trappings of a modern medical facility. 48 beds are for intensive care and 100 intermediate care wards. 

“So we’re really supplementing the entire 250-bed package going into the CenturyLink Events Center,” Hughes said. 

Hughes said he hopes it gives people hope to know they’re standing by. The unit came from Colorado, but he’s originally from Washington, and still has family here. 

“This is why we raised our right hand to serve the nation,” he said. “We are here to support the American people, whether that’s abroad or in our hometown ... I’m just glad we’re here to support the people of Washington.”

RELATED: Real-time coronavirus updates

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