FOLLOWUP: Preparations continue at planned Top Hat coronavirus quarantine/isolation site

(WCN photo, Sunday)

Tomorrow marks one week since King County announced it planned to use the former Wilderness Technology Alliance site at 206 SW 112th in Top Hat as a COVID-19 quarantine/isolation site. No patients there yet, but preparation work continues, we confirmed with the King County Executive’s Office today. We asked a few questions today since we hadn’t seen the promised followup to last Friday’s telephone meeting yet; spokesperson Alex Fryer said that’s still in the works and likely will be sent to community members tomorrow.

Though no patients are there yet, Fryer said, they are on track to be ready as soon as Thursday; the second modular unit has been delivered, and the sewer line was installed Sunday. The old WTA building will be demolished by the middle of next week, he said (that would potentially clear the way for additional modular units).

During Friday’s call, county officials said they were still shaping the criteria for who this facility would house. We asked Fryer what they’d decided on. His reply:

Criteria would include those who have been exposed to the virus, who are not ill, and need a place separate from others; those who are symptomatic but not critical and in need of housing; and those recovering … examples include:

i. College students living in dorm housing

ii. People who have traveled to the region and don’t have a home to self-quarantine

iii. First responders who have been exposed or are exhibiting symptoms who can’t self-quarantine at home

iv. People experiencing homelessness

v. People who can’t self-quarantine at home because they have a family member who is at a high risk of contracting the virus

The King County Council is scheduled to consider emergency funding tomorrow related to the outbreak response; here’s the agenda and packet (PDF) for the 1 pm Tuesday meeting, with the emergency-funding response on page 239. The documents call for allocating $10 million to placement of the modular facilities, which so far have been announced for two Seattle sites (Interbay and North Seattle) as well as the Top Hat location.

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11 Responses to “FOLLOWUP: Preparations continue at planned Top Hat coronavirus quarantine/isolation site”

  1. Johny be good Says:

    So…. no word on if the people are allowed to leave on their own? No word on why this site was chosen over a different site like can be found at Terminal 5, or over in Kirkland where the center of the outbreak is? I think White Center needs to file a Cease and Desist letter to the county.

  2. Jonathan B Woodard Says:

    I’m with you, it is absolutely absurd to House people there. It is surrounded by apartment buildings. There is probably literally as high of a population density as can be found in the whole area. What are they thinking!?! We need to fight this thing!

  3. It’s clear now. Covid-19 was the excuse – King County got their low barrier homeless encampment in White Center afterall.

  4. Jonathan B Woodard Says:

    What a disaster! Why in the world would you put sick people in the middle of all those apartment buildings?

  5. Jonathan B Woodard Says:

    The White Center site needs to be rethought. There is literally as high a population density there as anywhere else in this area! That area is encircled by apartment buildings! Please everyone fight this happening. It is an absolutely absurd idea. Very unsafe. King County is a huge County. There are lots of unpopulated areas. Why in the world would we put sick people in the middle of a densely populated area?!

  6. Kimberly Valadez Says:

    Because theyve known all along this virus is widespread….theyve chosen strategic spots. Expect more to come

  7. Michelle Shira - Williams Says:

    Protect yourselves, they are going to do it anyway, once it goes aerosol stay inside, replace filters in your ac now,hepas filter out particles. Boost your immune system, zinc,take with food or makes you sick to stomach. Love from Spokane, your frightened neighbor.

  8. Jonathan b Woodard you must not understand how this spreads. You have to be with in 6 feet of a person who has it. So if these places get used . The people who are sick stay in there room or don’t come with in 6 feet of the public. Then it’s fine .

    Also are regular flu season has killed more people than this virus do you get this paranoid about a neighbor having the flu .

    For most people this is just another form of the flu . If you don’t have a weekend immune system.

    Also a side note why do so many people that have such hatred for king county officials choose to live in king county .

  9. Hi Jimmy,

    The discussions aren’t about what’s legal or not legal. While the article is interesting, I don’t find it relates to the politics or the health crisis as stated by international, national, and local health authorities.

    King County has wanted to put in a low barrier men’s shelter for some time in White Center. A “quarantine/isolation” area with no medical staff, minimal to no security focused on housing those that are ill or potentially ill that generally have no where else to be suggests the placement of a homeless encampment. Instead of having to go through process and committee meetings etc. with the residents of White Center, it’s much easier to push an agenda through during a crisis as a mandate. If the site were meant to be a true isolation area, it wouldn’t be in such a populated area. That just doesn’t make sense. If one wants to try and keep something from spreading, one might try and keep it away from highly populated areas and not leave it open for people to come and go indiscriminately. And there is no end game for this encampment once the crisis has passed. This site itself suggests more that it is designed as a homeless shelter than an isolation area.

    It’s the politics of it all that’s bothersome. Homeless shelters are necessary to try and help those that need it, but the circumstances surrounding this particular site aren’t demonstrating it as beneficial to anyone – the people eventually inside the camp without any or limited medical resources if there is illness within, or the surrounding community.

  10. King county has their would be at one security guard and medical staff visits twice a day . They would add more if needed .This is not just for people that are homeless . Also if look at how this virus spread as I mentioned to Jonathan . You have tobe with in 6 feet of someone who has it .

    Now the link I posted explain why king county has to put in shelters and homes to help the homeless. Now these homes where bought to be turn in to homes for the homeless. So yes the county could use them for that . But that doesn’t mean it’s going to be a low barrier camp . That idea was already pushed away . Even if does happen don’t you think it’s better these people have a roof over their head. Instead of wondering around town all night . With no option for a rest room except someone’s drive way . Or out car prowling or metal scrapping stolen items from drive ways or unlocked garages.