KING COUNTY -- King County is adding temporary housing options for people -- particularly people experiencing homelessness or other vulnerable residents -- who may need to quarantine or isolate amid the coronavirus outbreak.
County officials say the vast majority of people will isolate and recover in their own homes. These sites are for people who don't have that option.
The county will re-purpose the following three properties:
- King County International Airport: The Arrivals Hall at the King County International Airport (7277 Perimeter Road South) is being used to provide shelter for the men, typically older adults, who usually shelter at St. Martin De Porres in Seattle. This service began on 3/13/20, and sheltered 80 men, 55 years or older. Housing these men at this site will reduce the number of men staying at the St. Martin shelter and help achieve the recommended social distancing guidelines.
- Eastgate Parking Lot: A fully self-contained tent, with flooring and heat, has been purchased for use as an isolation and recovery location and will be placed on the county-owned parking lot located at 13620 Eastgate Way in Bellevue. The location will have 24/7 onsite security and health services staff. The site will be available in about a week.
- Issaquah Motel (new acquisition): King County Facilities Management Division has finalized a lease of a motel located at 1801 12th Avenue NW in Issaquah. The county hasn't decided what services will be housed here, but it could include expanding medical support for vulnerable populations or isolation for people who do not require significant social support services. It could also serve as a step-down medical care for people who do not require hospitalization to maximize available space in regional medical facilities.
These new sites are in addition to the sites King County has already identified. The Econo Lodge in Kent, which the county purchased as a quarantine site, will continue to serve as a quarantine and isolation facility, but it will only house people "with lower level service needs," and the county will build a fence around the motel.
The city of Kent has filed a lawsuit against the county to stop the county from using the Econo Lodge as a quarantine site. City leaders say they were blindsided by the move, and to prove their points, one of the two people who have accepted a room there ignored instructions to remain on site, reportedly stole from a nearby convenience store, then boarded a Metro bus just hours after arriving at the motel.
There's no one currently residing at the Kent motel, and people experiencing homelessness will no longer be housed there.
Temporary housing units going up in White Center and in the Aurora neighborhood of Seattle are still in the works, the county said.
As of Sunday afternoon, there were 769 confirmed cases and 42 deaths in Washington state. Of the more than 10,200 tests administered so far in Washington, 9,451 were negative.
The two new deaths on Sunday -- a woman in her 60s and a woman in her 70s -- were both residents of Life Care Center of Kirkland, the center of the state's outbreak. Public health officials said 29 of the 42 deaths are linked to the Kirkland nursing home.
There are 37 deaths in King County, four deaths in Snohomish County and one reported in Grant County as of Sunday afternoon.