SEATTLE -- Just days after hundreds of soldiers built a massive makeshift hospital at CenturyLink Field Event Center, the hospital is coming down.
The Army field hospital, set up to treat non-coronavirus cases and to relieve hospitals that were overburdened with Covid-19 patients, will be returned to FEMA and potentially moved to another state that needs it more, Gov. Jay Inslee announced Wednesday.
Nearly 300 soldiers from the 627th Hospital Center spent several days building this massive make-shift care center – enough for roughly 250 people.
“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. "We requested this resource before our physical distancing strategies were fully implemented and we had considerable concerns that our hospitals would be overloaded with Covid-19 cases. But we haven’t beat this virus yet, and until we do, it has the potential to spread rapidly if we don’t continue the measures we’ve put in place."
Inslee said the state has 1,000 hospital beds and more than 900 ventilators ready to go if the state experiences another surge in Covid-19 cases. The state also has leased the former Astria Regional Medical Center in Yakima to support an additional 250 non-Covid patients if needed.
"I’m incredibly appreciative of the men and women from the 627th Hospital Center out of Fort Carson in Colorado. These soldiers uprooted their lives to help Washingtonians when we needed them most," Inslee said. "Since then, it’s become apparent that other states need them more than we do. It’s only right that we release this capability so those states have the tools necessary to help end this nation-wide fight that we are all battling together.”
King County still has a 140-bed facility set up on county-owned soccer fields in Shoreline for people to recover from and isolate after COVID-19 diagnoses if they're not able to recover at home.
As of Tuesday afternoon, there were 8,682 confirmed cases of the virus in Washington state, with at least 394 deaths.