The King County Council on Tuesday approved a suite of legislation to aid in the county’s response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, including putting millions of dollars into a Kent motel that will serve as an isolation/quarantine facility.
The King County government has already moved to respond rapidly to the needs of the community since the first cases of COVID-19 were confirmed in the county on Feb. 29, including activating the King County Emergency Operations Center.
Tuesday’s legislation funds measures already underway and takes more action to help the continued response.
The package includes four key components:
1. $28.2 million in funding for COVID-19 response:
• $15 million: Purchase and improvements for Kent motel to be used as isolation/quarantine facility. Also funds installation of modular isolation/quarantine units at several sites in King County, including White Center and Seattle.
• $4.5 million: Temporary staffing to manage the Kent motel.
• $6.13 million: Public Health funding for coordinating a regional and community response to COVID-19, compiling and distributing guidance, staffing facilities, etc.
• $1.6 million: Ensure homeless shelters have ability to provide isolation, staff and other needs to people with symptoms of COVID-19.
• $1 million: Provide funding for the Office of Equity and Social Justice to provide information and resources to populations with language access needs.
2. A motion that extends the deadlines for proviso and other reports from the Executive so that staff can concentrate on responding to the emergency.
3. A motion that extends the proclamation of emergency until the end of the emergency, allowing emergency procurement protocols to remain in effect and avoid delays in necessary spending. This also extends the authorization for overtime for county employees as needed.
4. A change to county code that allows King County to accept large donations without prior approval by council. This will allow the county to quickly apply any donated funding toward its continued response to the COVID-19 outbreak.
Questions about implementation should be directed to Public Health at email@example.com or 206-477-9000.
“We are experiencing in real time a new and unprecedented crisis,” said Councilmember Jeanne Kohl-Welles, chair of Budget and Fiscal Management Committee and sponsor of the emergency appropriations ordinance. “During a crisis, we must utilize every resource available in a responsible way to ensure our government agencies are in the best position possible to respond accordingly and to ensure the safety of our entire community.”
Added Council Chair Claudia Balducci: “The expansive package of legislation just passed by the King County Council provides new and critical tools for our highly skilled public health and social service professionals who are working round-the-clock to respond to COVID-19. As each one of us in the community continues to take individual measures to reduce the spread and severity of the outbreak, the County Council is doing its part to ensure our government has the resources needed to continue and enhance its responsive capabilities.”