UPDATE | February 8, 2020
The Washington State Department of Health said it had identified a different Western Washington site that could serve as a potential coronavirus quarantine site – in addition to the State Fire Training Academy outside of North Bend.
[Note: this info has been updated. We initially thought this Shoreline site was instead of the FTA, but it now appears to be in addition to the FTA]
Per the DOH news release:
In response to new federal measures around controlling the spread of 2019 novel coronavirus, the Washington State Department of Health has been working to identify several suitable locations for a quarantine site, should the need arise. The purpose of quarantine is to prevent healthy people who’ve potentially been exposed to a communicable disease from spreading it to other people.
The Department of Health has identified state-owned property behind the Washington State Public Health Laboratory in Shoreline as another potential site for quarantine. The Shoreline property is spacious and secure, and while there are neighborhoods nearby, there is no risk to the public. Fully functional mobile housing units on site can comfortably house a person(s) for up to 14 days, safely and securely. People staying there would be regularly monitored by staff as part of a multi-agency partnership who would also deliver wraparound services like food, laundry, and other needs. Fencing would be established for both the privacy and safety of anyone staying inside.
On Tuesday evening, February 4, 2020, the Washington State Patrol (WSP) announced that its Fire Training Academy – located east of North Bend off I-90 exit 38 and away from population centers – has been federally designated a potential coronavirus quarantine site for travelers from the Hubei Province in China who are not able to self-quarantine at home.
WSP stated via press release that respecting the privacy rights of those in medical need is the top priority and as such will be providing only one media tour of the facility on Thursday, February 6th – and only if there are no patients already quarantined.
As of Wednesday afternoon the City of North Bend said there are currently no patients being transported to or housed at the facility. Health officials say that while the coronavirus poses a serious public health threat, the immediate health risk to the general public is low in Washington.
The City of North Bend reported the Washington State Department of Health (DOH) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are working in collaboration with federal and state agencies, local health departments and the Port of Seattle to monitor local risks to the coronavirus to ensure the safety of all community members. The agencies are providing daily updates to North Bend Mayor Rob McFarland and City staff.
McFarland commented, “The information we have received from the DOH is that the Fire Training Academy is considered a secure facility to quarantine up to 14 days (holding only, not treatment) for people who arrive at SeaTac from Wuhan province and DO NOT present symptoms. As travel from Wuhan was cut off by China some number of days ago, the window under which this applies appears to be closing quickly.”
The city said the DOH is working to identify and prepare a new location that better fits the many needs of this kind of situation.
According to the New York Times, “Four military bases in Texas, California and Colorado were preparing to house American citizens for up to two weeks as part of a highly unusual federal effort aimed at slowing the spread of the deadly coronavirus.”
As of Wednesday, February 5th, approximately 25,000 cases of the coronavirus cases had been reported worldwide, causing nearly 500 deaths. There have been 11 confirmed cases in the United States – in Washington, California, Arizona, Massachusetts and Illinois.
The fast-spreading respiratory virus originated in the Wuhan area of China. According to the World Health Organization, the first case was reported in China on December 31, 2019.
You can learn more about the coronavirus on the CDC website.