Gov. Jay Inslee today announced that after consultation with local, state and federal leaders, the Department of Defense field hospital currently stationed at the Century Link Field Event Center will be returned to the Federal Emergency Management Agency so it can be deployed to another state facing a more significant need.
“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."
Though this one field hospital is being returned, state and local leaders continue to bolster resources throughout the state’s hospital and medical systems. The state has purchased equipment to support hospitals in the event Washington experiences a surge in positive Covid-19 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 surge capacity in Central Washington, which can support an additional 250 non-Covid patients if needed.
“Our community mitigation measures, combined with the amazing work of our hospitals and health care providers throughout the region, as well as our procurement of various hospital supplies, lends us to believe that at this point, our hospitals should have enough capacity to support a surge in patients,” Inslee added. “With that said, 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. 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.”
“Understanding that our hospitals in our region have capacity, including ICU beds and ventilators, we are making the right decision to allow other cities to have these resources and capacity. While Seattle fought hard for these resources, it's clear other communities are in desperate need of this high-quality medical facility and personnel," said Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan. "This virus knows no borders, and we must care for the sick and vulnerable, regardless of any city, county, or state line. While these resources are going to a community in more dire need, the virus is still here. It’s continuing to spread all across the state, including to our most vulnerable, seniors, essential workers, and first responders. And if we take this moment to gather in parks, host BBQs or ignore the governor’s "Stay Home, Stay Healthy" order, we will be putting our community at risk of an exponential increase.”
“When I met with the soldiers and engineers building the hospital and heard about the hometowns and families they left behind, I could think of no greater example of all of us banding together to defeat the outbreak of this virus, and how grateful I was for their efforts on behalf of our community,” said King County Executive Dow Constantine. “All of King County is thankful for their service and sacrifice away from their families to help us prepare for whatever the virus could bring. We wish them well as their work continues in other communities across the country in greater need. We’ll continue our work - ensuring our hospitals and recovery sites have the resources to battle the outbreak, and we will continue to show the way for the nation by maintaining the commitment to 'flattening the curve' and saving lives.”