TACOMA, Wash. — A new temporary care center will open in Tacoma Wednesday as Pierce County leaders continue their efforts to stop the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) and flatten the curve.
The facility, a vacant motel off South 84th and Hosmer streets, will temporarily house people who have been exposed to or contracted COVID-19 and cannot self-quarantine or isolate themselves in their own homes.
Guests must also meet further requirements. They must be able to perform daily activities without assistance; be deemed stable; and need a referral form from a physician, the health department, or first responders.
In a Facebook video released by Pierce County, health department staff said the center will not be a medical facility.
"These people probably don't need hospital care, we just need a place for them to recover and get better," said Dr. Anthony Chen, the director of health for the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department. "We have an obligation to provide appropriate facilities so that those who are ill do not spread the disease to others in the community."
The Pierce County Sheriff's Department will provide 24-hour security to keep guests, staff, and nearby neighbors safe. The facility is fenced, and security guards will be at the only entrance.
If a guest wants to leave before their quarantine is over, security hopes to try and convince them to stay but cannot hold anyone against their will.
Pierce Transit loaned the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department a vehicle for guests to use as transport to the facility. A spokesperson said the vehicle will be driven by someone designated by the health department and not a Pierce Transit employee. The vehicle will be disinfected before being returned to Pierce Transit.
Once in the door, guests will be checked in, their vitals will be taken, and they will be shown to their rooms.