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Coronavirus In Seattle
caption: A temporary 200 bed field hospital is constructed on Thursday, March 19, 2020, on a soccer field in Shoreline. 
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A temporary 200 bed field hospital is constructed on Thursday, March 19, 2020, on a soccer field in Shoreline.
Credit: KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

Field hospital being built on Shoreline soccer field as King County preps for more COVID-19 cases

A soccer field in the Seattle suburb of Shoreline is becoming a temporary field hospital for people who fall sick during the coronavirus outbreak or are exposed and have nowhere else to go.

On Wednesday afternoon, a construction crew of about 10 men erected a massive tent covering nearly half of a fenced-off soccer field. Meanwhile, a similar number of adults and children on the neighboring field kicked soccer balls and tossed softballs in the sun.

King County is preparing quarantine centers around the county to house people as they self-isolate or recover from the COVID-19 disease.

“Honestly, the first thing we thought was zombie apocalypse movie. That’s the only time you see a field hospital,” said Tyler Sison of Shoreline, who was there kicking a soccer ball with a friend.

Inside a newly erected chain-link fence around Shoreline B Soccer Field, construction workers carried metal beams on their shoulders across the penalty area and used heavy-lift equipment to put up a giant tent on the turf.

“It’s going up real quick,” Sison said. “Surprising.”

People from the neighborhood wandered over to watch the historic transformation from playfield to hospital.

“These actions are designed to help curb the spread of the disease, support people who have nowhere else to go, and, most importantly, preserve our local hospital beds for the most acutely ill in our communities,” state signs attached to the chain-link fence.

The field hospital will have up to 200 beds, according to the City of Shoreline website, part of the King County’s effort to add 3,000 medical beds.

“We believe it is critical that Shoreline do its part to help address this global crisis,” the city website states.

King County already has a motel in Kent that it’s using as a quarantine center and this weekend said it was preparing an Issaquah motel and a parking lot at the Eastgate Transit Center in Bellevue for similar use.

Two men who turned curious onlookers away from the fenced-off construction site referred all questions to Public Health – Seattle & King County, which did not respond to an interview request.