Field hospital recently built in Seattle will be dismantled and taken elsewhere

Seattle, Wash., March 30, 2020 – Soldiers transport supplies from a shipping container to their location in the hospital. Soldiers from the 627th Army Hospital based in Fort Carson, Colo., worked to set up a field hospital in the Centurylink Field Events Center. This hospital will serve as overflow for Puget Sound area hospitals and will only treat patients who do not have COVID-19. Photo by Jeff Markham/FEMA

In another sign Washington may have made it through the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic, the field hospital set up at the Century Link Field Event Center in Seattle will be dismantled and deployed to another state.

Still, Gov. Jay Inslee said the state is not out of the woods yet.

“We have to keep our guard up and continue to stay home unless conducting essential activities to keep everyone healthy,” Inslee said. “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.”

The field hospital, which was set up to handle non-coronavirus patients, will be returned to the Federal Emergency Management Agency for deployment elsewhere.

It was staffed by personnel from the 627th Hospital Center out of Fort Carson in Colorado.

Inslee also said the state has finalized a lease to use the former Astria Regional Medical Center in Yakima to serve 250 non-Covid-19 patients from Central Washington, if needed.

Yakima County has had the most diagnosed coronavirus cases east of the Cascades with 400 and 17 deaths as of Wednesday.

The Seattle area experienced the first confirmed case of COVID-19 and for weeks led the nation is both confirmed cases and deaths from the virus.

But since then, other states have been much harder hit, especially New York and New Jersey.

While Washington has had 8,682 cases and 394 deaths as of Tuesday, New York state had 138,863 positive tests and 5,489 deaths as of Wednesday.

The dismantling of the field hospital follows Inslee’s decision last weekend to return 400 ventilators to the federal government for use elsewhere.

At the same time, Inslee said the state and local governments continue to bolster resources in the event there is a surge in cases. There are 1,000 hospital beds on order and more than 900 ventilators, he said.