A look inside Harborview Hall, a recovery site for coronavirus patients

SEATTLE — King County is converting the nearly 90-year-old Harborview Hall into a recovery center for a wave of people recuperating from the coronavirus.

The space, across from Harborview Medical Center, brings the number of recovery centers in King County to four.

County officials say this won’t be the last of these centers.

Harborview Hall is expected to house a maximum of 45 patients recovering from the virus.

But county officials had to remove the homeless shelter being run by the Salvation Army.

This 1930s art deco structure is being pressed into service as part of King County’s fight against the coronavirus.

Harborview Hall, where some of the nation’s best nurses were once trained, is returning to its glorious past as a center to recover from the coronavirus.

“The county needed the space at Harborview Hall and so asked us to move into a temporary space,” said Salvation Army Capt. Jonathan Harvey.

He says the Salvation Army enhanced homeless shelter at Harborview Hall was temporarily evicted to make room for the new recovery center. It moved a half-mile away to a former county records building, complete with portable toilets and showers.

The agency has been in disaster mode, says Harvey, from the start of the epidemic.

"We're anticipating at least a 30% increase in the amount of people that will be coming to us in the weeks ahead for food assistance and utilities and rent assistance, those types of things," said Harvey. "So those programs will be gearing up in the weeks ahead."

“Since day one, we have been very intent on making decisions based on the data and the science,” said Gov. Jay Inslee on Friday.

He stressed the need for more resources to be available for those whose personal and economic lives are being upended by this pandemic.

“Regardless of your industry,” he said, “whether it’s industrial or warehouse, in an office or a retail store, you have a moral and legal obligation to make this work for your employees.”

Besides Harborview Hall, recovery centers being created in King County are in Shoreline, Bellevue and Seattle’s Interbay neighborhood.

There is room between them for more than 400 patients, but officials insist that’s not enough.

The search continues to find more places to accommodate those who will need them.