by Luke Putvin
As of April 1, Snohomish County has opened a COVID-19 isolation and quarantine site at the Angel of the Winds Arena in downtown Everett.
The facility will have the capacity to hold up to 100 people, and it has the capability to be expanded if necessary. It will hold unsheltered individuals who have been ordered by a health officer to go to the facility.
In addition to being unsheltered, two specific conditions apply to those able to go to the facility. The first condition is if someone has come in contact with an individual who has tested positive or if that person has symptoms of COVID-19. The second condition is if the individual has tested positive for COVID-19. There will be two separate areas at the facility, one for those in quarantine and one for those in isolation.
At a virtual March 31 press conference, Executive Dave Somers, Dr. Chris Spitters and Dr. Gary Goldbaum provided details and answered questions submitted by members of the press.
Somers said that he appreciated the partnerships that allowed this facility to happen including those with the Snohomish Health District, the City of Everett, local healthcare providers, law enforcement and others. He also mentioned that the facility will be closed when it is no longer needed for this purpose, and at the moment, there is no official closing date.
The facility will offer wraparound services to those who are in isolation or quarantine; these services are included but not limited to behavioral health care and medical care. Though medical services are available, they are not the focus; the facility is for those that do not need a hospital but instead need quarantine and have no shelter in which to do so.
The facility will have private security on the inside. Additionally, law enforcement on the exterior will be provided by both the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office and the Everett Police Department.
Spitters shared his appreciation of Somers and others for creating this facility saying that this will help combat the spread of the virus. He also offered the information that, as of 8:30 a.m. on March 31, Snohomish County had almost 1,300 reports of COVID-19. Of those, over 500 have completed their isolation period and recovered and 33 have died, making the fatality rate of current reported cases about 2.5%.
Goldbaum reinforced that this is not a lockdown facility. Additionally, it is not a medical facility. Rather, this is made to be a “home away from home,” as he called it. There will be meals provided as well as phones and tablets to remain in touch with friends and family. Meals will be sourced locally in efforts to provide an economic boost.
“We hope the facility to be sufficiently attractive so [those in isolation or quarantine] will want to remain on site,” Goldbaum said.
That being said, if someone tries to leave, the internal staff will try to persuade the individual to remain. If that fails and the person exits, law enforcement will try to engage the individual about the benefits and legal obligation to remain.
Spitters said physical engagement and putting someone in jail is a last resort, both for law enforcement safety and in trying to prevent introducing the virus to jails. If law enforcement doesn’t feel there is an imminent threat, the person would be allowed to walk away, and further considerations on actions would be taken.
For current updates on COVID-19, visit the Snohomish Health District’s website at www.snohd.org.