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King County quarantine sites shift standards after patient flees facility

An EconoLodge in Kent being used as a coronavirus isolation site. (KIRO 7)

King County will be shifting how it uses its coronavirus isolation sites, after a patient at its Kent quarantine site left against the advice of on-site security.

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A homeless patient checked into what used to be an EconoLodge motel in Kent on Thursday, that was recently purchased by King County to use as a quarantine site. The patient entered the facility as a voluntary response to an offer for services while he awaited coronavirus test results.

Shortly after, he reportedly “disregarded the instructions of an onsite guard and left the motel.” He then entered a convenience store, “where he allegedly shoplifted items,” before getting on a northbound Route 153 King County Metro bus.

Metro reports that the bus has been immediately taken out of service for cleaning and sanitization.

“My fears for this facility have come true,” said Kent Mayor Dana Ralph, who had originally opposed the isolation site’s presence in the city.

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Because of this incident, King County’s isolation sites will only be used to house those “who not need supportive social services or additional supports.” It will also look to identify and staff separate sites for those with behavioral health needs in the days ahead.

These new standards will also apply to a coronavirus quarantine site currently operating in White Center.

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