Spokane County Fairgrounds Eyed As Possible Coronavirus Health Care Facility

Mar 26, 2020

The Spokane County Fair and Expo Center is under consideration as a temporary isolation unit and alternative health care facility during the coronavirus outbreak.
Credit Spokane County

Spokane emergency management officials are working through the details of creating an emergency health care facility at the Fairgrounds.

County health officer Bob Lutz says one of the goals is to find a safe place to house patients with non-urgent conditions so that hospital beds can be saved for a potential surge in coronavirus cases.

“We are going to have individuals who, for whatever reason, have infection but, maybe, cannot be at home. Maybe they live with a roommate and the roommate is concerned about not wanting to get infected himself or herself. Maybe it’s somebody who is homeless. We’re going to have a variety of individuals across our community who, for whatever reason, need to be in isolation," Lutz said.

That may include someone who doesn’t test positive for the coronavirus, but who was exposed to someone with it.

The Fairgrounds is not a medical facility and it would require a massive influx of equipment and people to turn it into one.

“I’ve got the space and that’s been mapped out as to what it would look like, but then it’s identifying all those stuffs and the appropriate staff to provide support for those individuals," Lutz said. "It’s a lot of planning and a lot of work, but again, we certainly envision the need to have something like this up in the foreseeable future.”

The Washington Department of Health reports Spokane County had 54 confirmed coronavirus cases as of yesterday [Wednesday]. Lutz says that number is closer to the mid to upper 60s this afternoon [Thursday].