A coronavirus field hospital that was quickly constructed by the U.S. military in Seattle last month is being dismantled after failing to receive a single patent.
Washington Gov. Jay Inslee announced he had consulted with national health authorities to return the hospital to FEMA so it can be relocated to a spot where it might be needed.
Inslee also issued a warning that the removal of the hospital did not signal that the danger posed by the coronavirus has subsided.
“Don’t let this decision give you the impression that we are out of the woods. We have to keep our guard up and continue to stay home unless conducting essential activities to keep everyone healthy,” Inslee said in a statement.
“We requested this resource before our physical distancing strategies were fully implemented and we had considerable concerns that our hospitals would be overloaded with Covid-19 cases. But we haven’t beat this virus yet, and until we do, it has the potential to spread rapidly if we don’t continue the measures we’ve put in place.”
According to Fox News, the hospital, which was set up inside Seattle’s CenturyLink Field Event Center, was quickly constructed by 300 soldiers from Fort Carson, Colorado, and Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington.
Defense Secretary Mark Esper predicted at the time the hospital was deployed that it would only be needed temporarily.
“We only have so many field hospitals,” Esper said, according to The News Tribune. “I see us playing this role where we are the gap filler for a period of weeks with our capabilities. We can then pull out and go to the next city.”
On April 4, the Army shared images of soldiers working to set up the medical facility.
Learn more: https://t.co/soiJmFQAfS
— U.S. Army (@USArmy) April 5, 2020
Thankfully, the hospital was never needed.
Inslee praised his state’s mitigation efforts for playing a role in the hospital remaining empty.
“Our community mitigation measures, combined with the amazing work of our hospitals and health care providers throughout the region, as well as our procurement of various hospital supplies, lends us to believe that at this point, our hospitals should have enough capacity to support a surge in patients,” Inslee said.
“With that said, I’m incredibly appreciative of the men and women from the 627th Hospital Center out of Fort Carson in Colorado. These soldiers uprooted their lives to help Washingtonians when we needed them most,” he continued.
“Since then, it’s become apparent that other states need them more than we do. It’s only right that we release this capability so those states have the tools necessary to help end this nation-wide fight that we are all battling together,” Inslee added.
Fox News Pentagon reporter Lucas Tomlinson tweeted that the Department of Defense said the mobile ICU was “able to deploy to another area” away from Seattle, but it did not specify where that might be.
U.S. Army field hospital in Seattle is packing up and leaving. The Army ICU now “able to deploy to another area,” to battle coronavirus, Pentagon says
— Lucas Tomlinson (@LucasFoxNews) April 10, 2020
Washington state was the site of the first coronavirus hotspot in the United States.
A nursing home in Kirkland, Washington, was hit hard by the virus as cases began to pile up in early March.
Business Insider reported that by March 21, 35 people linked to The Life Care Center of Kirkland had died after contracting the virus.
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