The state Department of Health says it’s finalizing talks with a Centralia inn to open an isolation and quarantine facility for travelers who contract COVID-19 while in transit through Washington state.
The transition is expected to start the first week of May at Lakeview Inn, said Wayne Clifford, medical surge branch director with the Department of Health. A contract is still being negotiated, with plans to lease the entire 40-bed hotel.
The facility would also serve shipping and vessel crews, state work release inmates and provide occasional support to local municipalities.
Camp Solomon Schechter has hosted the Department of Health’s program for a few months now, Clifford said, but has recently voiced plans to reopen for the season. That led the state health department to look at other options in the area that were close to SeaTac airport.
“Hotels really provide an optimal structure for us with all the rooms and the ability to keep people apart and take care of them, and they have all the (utilities) they need inside,” Clifford told the Centralia City Council during a meeting Tuesday.
The program is completely voluntary for those workers and travelers in transit through the state who contract the viral disease. People usually stay between 10 to 14 days in the facilities, and Department of Health staff are at the site at all times.
The contract could last through the end of this year, Clifford said, with plans to look at the Maple Lane campus as a long-term solution.
“I think, over the course of that time, we’ll certainly understand if we’re going to continue to need that capability, and if it’s working out or not working out. We’re going to work closely with the city and the county as we move forward with this to make sure it’s working for everyone,” he said.
Shamsher Singh, owner of the Lakeview Inn in Centralia, said over the phone Friday that talks are still fairly preliminary between him and the Department of Health.
While they’re still waiting on final contracts, Singh said they’ve been busy cleaning the facility over the last couple days in anticipation for the Department of Health’s arrival. Gates currently line the perimeter of the property, and the parking lot is vacant.
“Up to now, by noon time, there’s no done deal yet … I haven’t gotten any paperwork or any phone calls from them yet,” Singh said. “I’m here for the (Department of) Health, doing whatever I can in this tough time.”
Singh said they have not come to an agreement yet on the leasing price of the facility, but noted he expects they will finalize the contract within the next week.
Lakeview Inn’s rooms will be outfitted and accustomed to meet the Department of Health’s specifications.