King County and Public Health have turned a former Econo Lodge motel into an emergency isolation/quarantine facility on Central Avenue in Kent. File photo

King County and Public Health have turned a former Econo Lodge motel into an emergency isolation/quarantine facility on Central Avenue in Kent. File photo

King County reports 27 coronavirus cases in homeless shelters

County has provided 60 motel vouchers so far for quarantining homeless individuals.

King County health officials report 27 positive COVID-19 virus cases among the homeless population amid ongoing efforts to serve people with no place to self-isolate or quarantine.

During a media conference call April 8, officials with Public Health — Seattle & King County said the 27 positive cases came from homeless people who were tested in 12 shelters. Of those positive cases, 12 came from the Lazarus Center in Seattle and six cases came from a shelter space at Boeing Field (King County International Airport), officials said.

The county also has three sites for isolation and quarantine so far to serve the homeless, including motels in Kent and Issaquah as well as modular buildings in North Seattle. A site in White Center is still in development, and Harborview Medical Center is in the process of opening an isolation center in Seattle, according to health officials.

TJ Cosgrove, division director of the county’s Community Health Services Division, said “strike teams” are doing on-site assessments at homeless shelters when there’s a positive COVID-19 diagnosis. Testing supplies have been prioritized to serve this segment of the population in shelters along witha walk-up clinic in downtown Seattle and mobile walk-up testing, he said during the conference call.

In addition to creating 6 feet of distance between bed occupants at shelters, the county has also offered an initial round of 60 motel vouchers in an attempt to get vulnerable homeless individuals with health problems into safe bedding before they become ill, said Leo Flor, director of the county’s Department of Community and Human Services.

The county also reports an increased spread in hepatitis A among the homeless population — a condition that has been attributed to limited bathroom access and unsanitary conditions.

“There’s no substitute for keeping people healthy in the first place,” Flor said during Wednesday’s conference call.

Flor said he expects the homeless population will require this type of assistance for months. The cost for these operations entail round-the-clock medical treatment, behavioral health assistance, security and more.

“We do not think we’ve reached the peak of this,” Flor said Wednesday, noting that the total cost will likely exceed the county’s recent appropriation of about $18 million to serve the homeless population during the coronavirus crisis. “We don’t know how long the response will go.”




Talk to us

Please share your story tips by emailing editor@auburn-reporter.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.auburn-reporter.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) Please keep letters to 300 words or less.

More in News

King County could be in Phase 2 in two weeks

The county is also hoping the state lets them reopen several businesses by Friday.

File photo
Misbehaving woman banned from Auburn gas station | Police blotter

Following is a sample from the Auburn police log.

Screenshot from a YouTube video posted Monday by the City of Auburn with a message from Mayor Nancy Backus and other city officials.
Looting hits Auburn mall and nearby stores; mayor imposes 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew

Auburn is among the King County cities seeing protests over the death… Continue reading

Screenshot of the city’s Facebook page.
Auburn enacts curfew in response to protests and looting

Mayor Nancy Backus declared a state of emergency for the city of… Continue reading

Looters break into 26 Tukwila businesses Sunday night; 9 arrests made

‘What happened in Tukwila was not a protest, it was coordinated looting,’ police say

South King County area police respond to Seattle protests

The responding officers are members of the multi-agency Valley Civil Disturbance Unit, officials say.

Kabal Gill, owner of East India Grill in Federal Way, wears gloves to hand over take-out orders at his restaurant on March 23. File photo
New guidelines for Phase 2 reopenings in King County

All workers will need to wear masks as restaurants, retail shops and other businesses reopen.

This undated file photo provided by U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows CDC’s laboratory test kit for the new coronavirus. Courtesy photo
Inslee wants nursing home residents and staff tested by June 12

Governor says state will pay for test kits and personal protective equipment.

Stock image
Campgrounds to reopen in 22 Washington counties

Campgrounds in counties actively in Phase 2 of the reopening plan will begin to welcome visitors June 1, state says.

Most Read