SEATTLE (AP) — Gov. Jay Inslee said Wednesday a Department of Defense field hospital that had been set up by the football field where the Seattle Seahawks play due to the coronavirus outbreak will be returned to the Federal Emergency Management Agency so it can be deployed to another state facing more of a crisis.
Late last month Inslee announced 300 hundred soldiers from the 627th Army Hospital at Fort Carson, Colorado, had deployed to Seattle to staff the hospital along with soldiers from Joint Base Lewis-McChord. The facility was expected to create at least 250 hospital beds for non-COVID-19 cases. The facility was located at Century Link Field Event Center just south of downtown Seattle.
Inslee said the decision to send the field hospital elsewhere was made after consulting with local, state and federal leaders. The Seattle area saw the country’s first coronavirus outbreak, and so far there are more than 9,000 confirmed cases and nearly 421 deaths in Washington. But Inslee and others have said they now don’t expect the state’s hospitals to be overwhelmed.
“Don’t let this decision give you the impression that we are out of the woods. We have to keep our guard up and continue to stay home unless conducting essential activities to keep everyone healthy,” Inslee said in a statement. “We requested this resource before our physical distancing strategies were fully implemented and we had considerable concerns that our hospitals would be overloaded."
The state continues to beef up resources throughout the state’s hospital and medical systems, the governor said.
Washington bought equipment to support hospitals in the event the state experiences a surge in COVID019 cases, including 1,000 hospital beds and more than 900 ventilators. The state last week also finalized a lease to use the former Astria Regional Medical Center in Yakima to bolster capacity in central Washington, which can support an additional 250 non-virus patients if needed.
Most people with the virus experience mild or moderate fever and coughing for two to three weeks. Some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, can face severe illness including pneumonia and death.