As new guidance and updates continue to be released, I am committed to keeping our community aware. As you know, this is a rapidly evolving situation. King County has been taking action to create and support a range of temporary housing options for people exposed to, at risk of exposure, or becoming ill with COVID-19. As of today, the Public Health department has informed us that there are now a total of 388 confirmed cases in King County, with 35 confirmed deaths.
The majority of our residents will isolate and recover in their own homes. But the county is also creating quarantine, isolation, and recovery sites at multiple locations throughout the county for those who cannot safely remain in their own homes without compromising the health of other family members, or do not have a home.
These actions are critical to help blunt the spread of this virus and most importantly preserve our local hospital beds for the most acutely ill in our region. Earlier today, it was announced the county is re-purposing and dedicating the following three county properties to help achieve this goal as we work together to fight the novel coronavirus.
• King County International Airport: In a continuing effort to lower the number of people in our larger shelter locations and achieve the recommended social distancing guidelines (six feel apart), 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 S Martin De Porres in Seattle. This service began on 3/13/20, and last night sheltered 80 men, 55 years or older. This action will help prevent people from becoming ill in the first place.
• 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. Public health officials 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.
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. We are continuing to work tirelessly to help those in our community afflicted with this virus, and also prevent the spread of it across King County.
With best wishes,
Pete von Reichbauer
King County Councilmember