With two people in King County dying of COVID-19 this weekend, Public Health Officials in King County have announced that they are planning to create an isolation community for those infected, as well as modular housing to help get homeless persons off the streets.
This news comes after Gov. Jay Inslee issued a statewide emergency declaration on Saturday after the first reported coronavirus-linked death of a Kirkland man in his 50s.
In King County, there is currently a total of fourteen coronavirus cases, ranging from non-severe to critical. EvergreenHealth doctors announced during a press conference on March 2 that six patients have died due to coronavirus, with 29 additional cases currently pending investigation.
In the same press conference, it was revealed that the University of Washington will start testing for COVID-19 on March 2 or 3.
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According to King County Public Health, the most critical cases of coronavirus in Washington are being discovered in senior citizens with underlying health conditions. The four newest cases from this past weekend were all discovered in Kirkland.
James Apa, Public Information Officer for King County, announced during the press conference that the county is in final negotiations to purchase a motel for those in need of isolation. The county will provide additional information on the location later. The facility should be available for patients by the end of this week.
The city is also hoping to build modular housing around the county in various cities including Seattle. Purchased modular housing is currently being brought in from Texas and will be set up to house the homeless. Sites of these modular houses will be disclosed later today.
Director Patty Hayes of King County mentioned that the vast majority of coronavirus cases will be mild to moderate. “Although a number of cases will be increasing in the next days and weeks, the vast majority of those infected will not need hospitalizations.”
The city healthcare professionals are not recommending school closures; however, they are urging the public to practice pandemic preparedness and to avoid large social settings. They are also asking the public to save masks for healthcare workers. “We need assets for our healthcare frontline workers and also for those who may be needing them … or those who culturally use them,” said Hayes.
King County officials are urging the public to not go to the emergency room unless it is essential. If you have symptoms like cough, fever, or other respiratory problems, contact your regular doctor first. According to Health Officer Jedd Duchin, the most important steps an individual can take are basic hand hygiene: more hand washing, less face touching, and don’t go to work or school until you’re well.
Try to avoid those who are ill, especially if you are 60 or older or have underlying health conditions.