By Martha Bellisle / Associated Press
SEATTLE — Workers were building a field hospital on a soccer field in Shoreline on Thursday for people who become ill with the new coronavirus.
King County officials plans to erect these hospitals in several sites around the county to help with the growing number of positive cases and possible pressure on the health care facilities in the region.
Washington state leads the nation in COVID-19 deaths, with 67 by Thursday, and more than 1,100 people across the state have tested positive for the disease.
“We believe it is critical that Shoreline do its part to help address this global crisis and provide for the health needs of those in the Shoreline community and those in the broader Puget Sound Region,” Shoreline officials said in a statement.
The Shoreline field hospital is expected to provide up to 200 beds. King County, the hardest hit region in the state, anticipates needing an additional 3,000 medical beds.
“These actions are designed to help curb the spread of the disease, support people who have nowhere else to go, and, most importantly, preserve our local hospital beds for the most acutely ill in our communities.”
U.S. Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy and Gen. James McConville, Army chief of staff, said Thursday that one Army combat support hospital and one field hospital will soon be deployed. The combat hospital normally has 248 beds, including 48 for intensive care with ventilators, and the field hospital has 32 beds, but can be increased by another 60 beds. Of those, there could be as many as 24 intensive care beds with ventilators.
The two units going are a combat hospital from Joint Base Lewis McCord in Washington and the 586th Field Hospital from Fort Campbell, Kentucky.
They said they do not yet have approved orders for where the units will go, but they will be ready to deploy in the “next couple days”.
According to a defense official, the likely two locations at this point are New York City and Seattle.
Associated Press reporter Lolita Baldor in Washington D.C. contributed to this story.