ISSAQUAH, Wash. — Public health officials expect King County will need 3,000 or more beds for patients who are recovering or need to be isolated due to the coronavirus.
In response to that, the county has selected two additional quarantine and recovery sites, one in Bellevue and the other in Issaquah.
The Bellevue site is at the Eastgate parking lot (13620 Eastgate Way, Bellevue) and is a fully self-contained tent, with flooring and heat. The site will have 24/7 on-site security and health services staff.
The Issaquah Motel (1801 12th Avenue NW, Issaquah) will also be used for one of these sites. The county said, "We are currently considering site uses that include expanding medical support for vulnerable populations or isolation for people who do not require significant social support services, as well as step-down medical care for people who do not require hospitalization to maximize available space in regional medical facilities."
The county said it needs safe spaces to keep people out of hospitals unless they medically need to be there. Those who need the facilities are usually those without homes or those that have to leave a home because a relative needs to quarantine and recover from the virus.
Four emergency facilities have already been sited: two in Seattle (both in District Four), one in Kent, and one in White Center just southwest of Seattle.
The Econo Lodge motel on Central Avenue North in Kent was one of the first of these types of sites and has been at a center of debate in the city.
Kent mayor Dana Ralph and the city of Kent are waging a legal battle against the county’s plan. A judge denied the city’s request to block the county’s efforts to turn the motel into a quarantine site.
Ralph expressed concerns over the nature of the site since it's a voluntary quarantine site.
“There’s nothing that will require someone to stay until they’ve recovered from the virus or it’s been determined that they weren’t exposed,” said Ralph earlier this month.
Kent officials said their fears about King County's coronavirus quarantine site became a reality when a person awaiting test results left the facility against the advice of a security officer at the facility.
The patient also allegedly shoplifted items from a store and boarded a King County Metro bus, according to city and county officials.
KING 5 has learned that person's test results have since come back negative.