King County works to prevent spread of coronavirus among homeless

Mar 27, 2020, 10:24 AM | Updated: 12:19 pm

Homeless coronavirus...

King County has been working to keep its homeless population safe from coronavirus. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

(AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

There is a sizable concern about King County’s vulnerable homeless population being exposed to coronavirus.

How King County is looking to keep homeless safe from coronavirus

So, what can be done to keep that from happening?

The CDC actually has guidance on what to do, but the number one solution just isn’t realistic, according to King County executive Dow Constantine.

That first solution is to put every homeless person in an isolated, personal housing unit.

“We would love, of course, to have all 10,000 to 11,000 homeless people in individual units across the county and provided the services to keep them from becoming infected or infecting others,” Constantine said. “It’s not logistically possible right now.”

The second option is leaving existing homeless camps in place. That means not breaking them up to avoid moving residents around.

“Rather than dispersing people, we’re trying to keep people situated and get them the sanitation and other assistance they need to try  and slow the spread of the virus,” Constantine said.

A stay-at-home PSA: Stop flushing garbage down the toilet

That’s been the focus so far for those who are unhoused and living outside. As for those in shelters, Constantine said they are trying to put as much room between beds or cots as they can.

They have also started moving some people to new places to provide more distancing.

“We have recently moved a lot of folks in the high-risk population from downtown Seattle shelters to a space in Boeing Field that’s much more spread out,” he said. “It’s not a place we can permanently shelter people, but for this emergency we can.”

Constantine said he is also looking at finding more hotels or other locations to house the homeless community.

MyNorthwest News

Image: Dave Reichert, left, and Semi Bird are running in 2024 to be Washington's governor....

Matt Markovich

Washington Republicans face internal feud over endorsements ahead of elections

Washington Republicans are in the midst of an experiment, leading to a political family feud over the most "electable" candidates.

43 minutes ago

Image: Young Fresh Fellows' co-founder Scott McCaughey (left) and drummer John Perrin stand in the ...

Feliks Banel

Young Fresh Fellows celebrate 40 years since ‘Fabulous’ vinyl debut

The Young Fresh Fellows are marking the 40th anniversary, and new remix reissue, of their album "Fabulous Sounds of the Pacific Northwest."

13 hours ago

jewelry scam...

Charlie Harger

Nationwide fake jewelry scam affects local residents

Police around the country are warning about a scam where people are selling counterfeit jewelry in parking lots, a crime spree that is occurring locally.

18 hours ago

yelm standoff...

Frank Sumrall

Two people dead in Yelm standoff involving SWAT, bomb squad

A long police standoff in Yelm ended with two people dead Tuesday night, with law enforcement a death investigation nearby could be related.

20 hours ago

king county scam...

Sam Campbell

King County Sheriff: Watch for scam phone calls pretending to be law enforcement

Have you gotten a call from someone claiming they're a cop with an arrest warrant for you? Then you may have been targeted in a local scam.

21 hours ago

bothell couple ammo boxes...

Louie Tran, KIRO 7 News

Bothell couple says neighbor threatened them by leaving empty ammo boxes outside of their home

A Bothell couple said their neighbor has been threatening them for more than half a year, allegedly leaving empty boxes of ammo outside of their home.

22 hours ago

King County works to prevent spread of coronavirus among homeless