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Everett arena transformed into quarantine site

Usually full of hockey fans and concert goers, Everett’s Angel of the Winds Arena is now being used as a quarantine and isolation facility to help Snohomish County through the coronavirus outbreak.

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“This meets a need that we think is critically important,” said Snohomish County Emergency Management Director Jason Biermann during a tour of the facility Tuesday.

“We know we have folks who may either contract COVID or be in close proximity to folks who have COVID, and we wanted to be able to make sure we had a space for anyone, be it someone who can’t quarantine at home because of extenuating circumstances like having a loved one at home who is immune-compromised, someone who couldn’t afford to get their own hotel room or has nowhere else to stay, or an unsheltered population who don’t have a home to actually go into,” he added.

Two ice rinks on the arena floor have now been transformed into makeshift isolation and quarantine areas.

Each area has rows of individual, white curtain draped pod-like sections that come with a cot, linens, a table and a lamp. Separate from the individual isolation rooms are larger ones with red curtains for meetings and to serve as offices for those working at the quarantine facility.

There are also two common areas with comfortable chairs spread around – at least 6 feet apart for social distancing – along with Honey Buckets, hand-washing, and drinking water stations.

Food will also be provided. Biermann said they’re working to have tablets and phones on hand to help people find ways to pass the time and stay connected while they’re at the facility for anywhere from a few days to a couple of weeks.

The idea is to offer enough space, privacy, and amenities that those the health officer sends there will be willing to stay. While it is a secure site that will be staffed by Snohomish County Sheriff’s deputies, that does not mean people can’t leave, and if they do, it’s bad for everybody.

Those in the facility will also be monitored following CDC and Washington State Department of Health guidelines.

“There will be staff in here, both medical staff, support staff, and security,” Biermann said.

The Snohomish County Health District also said there will be wrap-around services for anyone who needs it, including behavioral health and other resources. Methadone and Suboxone will be supplied for anyone already in treatment, and they’re working to be able to initiate that treatment for opioid users at the facility as well.

The quarantine side will be for people suspected of having COVID-19 who are awaiting test results. The isolation side is for those who have tested positive for the virus.

On Tuesday, Snohomish County Health Officer Dr. Chris Spitters issued two new health orders. One follows King County’s lead and makes it mandatory for people with symptoms awaiting test results to quarantine and for those with a positive test to isolate.

For quarantine, you need to stay home and away from others. If you get a negative test result, you can go back to regular social distancing once any symptoms or fever are gone.

For isolation: “Try to stay in separate rooms away from others until seven days have passed since the beginning of your illness, or until three full days have passed since your fever stopped and cough began to improve, whatever is longer,” Spitters said.

The second order extends the county ban on large gatherings indefinitely.

As of Tuesday, Snohomish County has 1,286 confirmed or probable cases, including 33 deaths, for a death rate of 2.5 percent, Spitters said, adding there are nearly 600 other potential cases under investigation.

One of the county’s big concerns is the spread in long-term care facilities. On Friday, there were confirmed cases in seven long-term care facilities. By Tuesday, that had grown to cases confirmed in a resident, staff member, or both at more than two dozen long-term care facilities in the county.

The state health department says there are outbreaks in 108 long-term care facilities statewide.

Follow Hanna Scott on Twitter or email her

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