King County, Washington, is still finalizing its purchase of a motel in Kent to serve as an isolation facility for coronavirus patients.
The exact timetable for bringing in patients was not clear this afternoon, as a CNN journalist saw private customers still being checked in at the 85-room Econo Lodge.
“As you can see, it’s still operating, and we’re going to be working on that within the next few days,” county spokesperson Chase Gallagher said.
Gallagher said the primary benefit to the facility the county is buying is that the rooms have their own individual heating and air systems which would avoid contamination across rooms that could be caused by a shared climate control unit. Additionally, there are no shared hallways, as all rooms open to the outside, Gallagher said.
The county is still working out what will happen to the staff currently at the Econo Lodge, although leaders say they hope to find funding to hire up to 11 of the current employees.
Along with improvements to the motel and taking over a property lease, the total cost of operating it as an isolation facility could be $5.5 million dollars, according to a release from King County. The money is expected to come from the county’s contingency fund.
In addition to the motel, County Executive Dow Constantine announced today they will be using temporary modular units set up in three communities around Seattle for coronavirus quarantine.