Washington state will close a coronavirus field hospital

As confidence grows that the state may be nearing its peak of new coronavirus cases, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee announced Wednesday they are giving back a military field hospital that was intended to deal with a surge of patients.

The hospital – set up at an event center adjacent to the CenturyLink Field sports stadium in Seattle – will be available to FEMA to be redeployed to another state.

“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,” Inslee said in a statement.

The decision to return it was made with the approval of the leaders of the Seattle and King County governments. Inslee said the state still has the ability to increase its hospital capacity by 1,000 beds quickly in case of a surge, even without the military hospital.

The decision comes three days after Inslee returned more than 400 ventilators the state received from the Strategic National Stockpile back to the federal government. At the time, Inslee said Washington had a sufficient supply of ventilators on its own, while states like New York faced a bigger immediate need.

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