How Shoreline field hospital will handle overflow of coronavirus patients
The temporary field hospital being set-up in Shoreline will never be mistaken for a front-line emergency room, but it does have all it needs to handle any overflow of patients.
Inside the two tents on the Shoreline soccer fields, the facility is what you would expect. Very bare bones. Simple cots, lock boxes and open air units for patients. Some walled-off exam rooms for a little more privacy. The bathrooms and showers are outside in portable trailers.
King County executive Dow Constantine called it an assessment and recovery center, with a mission to take pressure off emergency rooms and normal hospitals.
“A recovery site like this, of course, also gives hospitals the option if they need to move someone out of a hospital bed who doesn’t really need to be there into a site where they can receive the appropriate level of care — this site can be available for that purpose,” he said.
The county’s director of community and human services Leo Flor said ideally this facility would handle cases from homeless shelters or other at-risk groups.
“This is where you could bring, not one or two people, but a group of twenty people from a shelter, from an emergency room or from a community,” he said. “They could come here and get assessed on site.”
Reporters pushed Flor on the security at the field hospital, considering a patient walked out of quarantine at a Kent motel early on in the COVID-19 response. There will be security guards at this facility, inside the gates, and off-duty officers and deputies outside the gates to question anyone who tries to walk away.
“To identify when somebody is leaving the facility against public health guidance and then follow them so we can maintain contact, attempt to re-engage them in isolation, [and] re-engage them in recovery and treatment,” he said. “That might also be an opportunity, if the person doesn’t voluntarily comply after we attempt to do that, to escalate the enforcement.”
It sounds like King County will detain people who refuse to comply, but Flor said he’s hopeful people at the facility will stay on their own until cleared to leave.
Volunteer nurses from Kaiser Permanente will be staffing this hospital. Kaiser’s Chief Nursing Executive Jennifer Graves said her nurses jumped at the chance to work at the facility, since many of them have seen their hours cut.
“We’ve had people that are working with their supervisors to maybe do this in lieu of their regular hours because they haven’t had their regular hours, and there’s other people who are really passionate about it and have said ‘we want to do this’ in additional to their regular hours,” she said. “They’re offering nights and weekend hours and other things too.”
Graves plans to take shifts at the hospital as well.
This particular field hospital in Shoreline will also have behavioral health staff to handle any patients with other underlying issues, as well as treatment for opioid patients, if that becomes necessary.