First look inside Shoreline field hospitals to be staffed by Kaiser Permanente nurses

SHORELINE, Wash. — Two field hospital tents in Shoreline are just about ready for COVID-19 patients. The tents are on top of a soccer field and cost more than a million dollars each.

The hospital tents were built in about two weeks and have walls, a HVAC system, exam rooms, and areas where medical staff can work. Patients are separated from each other with dividers. Restrooms and showers are located outside inside trailers.

“Having a place for assessment and recovery -- that's what this place in Shoreline is all about,” said King County Executive Dow Constantine.

Each patient’s area is separated by dividers on three sides. There's a cot, chair, and table in each space. The exam rooms have hard walls, and there is flooring.

King County said the field hospitals are ideal for a sudden surge in patients.

“This is where you could bring not one or two people, but a group of 20 people from a shelter, from an emergency room, from a community,” Leo Flor, director of King County’s Department of Community and Human Services (DCHS).

The facility is not for walk-in services, but people who are sick with nowhere else to go, employers, or social service providers can call the King County Novel Coronavirus Call Center (206-477-3977) to see if the field hospital is the best place for them.

“Say we have a large potential cluster in a place where we live or work, what should we do? And rather than identifying individuals, we can arrange to have those groups of people brought here,” Flor said.

Public Health Seattle-King County said the CDC helped design the airflow of the tent so patients still being assessed and patients who've tested positive can be in the same tent, on opposite ends.

“It’s high enough in the way it (the air) flows so that you won't have a problem with a droplet flying from one place to another,” said Patty Hayes, the director of Public Health Seattle-King County.

Just one tent will be used at first to conserve staff but with enough need, one tent will be used for assessment and another for recovering COVID-19 patients.

Nurses from Kaiser Permanente have signed up to care for patients who come here, including Jennifer Graves, the regional chief nursing executive for Kaiser Permanente.

“We had more than 100 people respond in just a few days who said I'm happy to help. Some will do this in addition to their regular hours,” Graves said.

Security will be on site both inside and outside for both the safety of patients and the public.

“To identify when someone is leaving a facility against public health guidance and then to follow them so we can maintain contact, attempt to reengage them in isolation,” Flor said.

A similar set up with two tents is about a week from being done in Bellevue's Eastgate neighborhood.

Isolation and quarantine sites with individual rooms, like the motels in Kent and Issaquah, plus the modular units in North Seattle are already being used.

King County said the Shoreline field hospitals will be ready for patients by the end of the week.