New quarantine locations to open on Eastside

Public Health Seattle & King County announced new quarantine sites in Issaquah and Bellevue.

Public Health Seattle & King County has announced the location of two new Eastside quarantine sites, one in Issaquah and one in Bellevue.

The Issaquah site will be located at 1801 12th Ave. NW, which is currently a Holiday Inn motel that the county is leasing. The lease is for one year at $2 million, and the county currently plans to only use it as part of the emergency response. The site can hold about 100 people, according to King County, and they have not yet finalized how many staff members will be needed on site.

The Bellevue site will be a “fully self-contained tent, with flooring and heat, (and) has been purchased for use as an isolation and recovery location,” and is located on the parking lot of an Eastgate property King County owns at 13620 Eastgate Way. The tents will likely be for the assessment and recovery of those in recovery from COVID-19 according to the county. They will also begin with an occupancy of about 100 and evaluate as needed.

According to the announcement, the Bellevue location will be staffed 24/7 with security and health services staff and is expected to open next week.

The announcement of the new quarantine site came along with a host of updates from PHSKC, including the number of confirmed cases and deaths in King County, an update on the Life Care Center and the announcement of a men’s shelter opening at the King County International Airport, for men 55 and older.

While the county is still reviewing what the motel quarantine site will best be used for, it did say that it was considering several options.

“(PHSKC is) 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,” according to the press release.

In the press release, PHSKC said it was looking at county-owned sites and potential purchases to try and relieve the burden on hospitals to bed and care for those suffering from COVID-19.

“King County will continue to identify or acquire properties in all parts of the county to ensure residents are supported appropriately through this health emergency,” according to the press release. The release also said additional work was being done on the Kent quarantine site, and that the county was committed to housing and isolating those who could not do either themselves. “At this time, no one is currently staying at the Kent Central Avenue motel location. The Aurora and White Center locations are still in site preparation.”

The mayor of Issaquah spoke positively about the quarantine facility.

“These types of medical facilities are needed throughout King County as we, as a region, respond to this public health crisis,” Mayor Mary Lou Pauly said. “We are committed to slowing the spread of COVID-19, assisting the most vulnerable and keeping beds open at our existing hospitals, such as Swedish Issaquah. We are in close contact with King County, local police and firefighters to ensure this new facility will take all necessary precautions to keep our broader community safe.”

The location of quarantine sites has caused contention for other cities, such as Kent and White Center. The mayor of Kent attempted to issue a restraining order to stop the county from putting a site in Kent, and residents of White Center raised concerns over the equity of placing a quarantine in their city.

PHSKC provided other information on the expectations for King County’s COVID-19 outbreak.

“We expect the case count to double every 5-7 days. A key Public Health goal is to minimize the number of people who get seriously ill at the same time, so that those who are at risk for severe illness are able to get the care they need,” the press release read. “If too many people get very sick all at once, this will put an unmanageable burden on our health care system. If that happens, people requiring care may not be able to get it when they need it. Every King County resident has a responsibility to each other to make sure our community collectively lessens the impact of this disease.”

Currently, the county and other health agencies are asking that those with symptoms – and their close contacts – stay home.

EDITOR’S NOTE: The physical address of the Bellevue quarantine site, 13620 Eastgate Way, has been added to the story.