One person has died amid a coronavirus outbreak at a hotel in Renton where more than 200 homeless are sheltered, according to a blog post from King County. A post-mortem coronavirus test indicated that the person was positive, according to the King County Medical Examiner.
There have only been four deaths of COVID-19 among people staying in shelters, according to a King County online dashboard: A spokesperson didn’t say by press time whether this death was the fourth or the fifth.
The Renton Red Lion experienced an outbreak of 35 cases last month among its homeless guests and housed staff, in the middle of a spike in cases at homeless shelters, housing facilities and day programs across the county. It’s the most seen since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic at any of the hotels the county is using to reduce the transmission of COVID-19 among homeless people. The Red Lion Hotel in Renton was opened by the county to keep them out of crowded bunk-bed or mats-on-the-ground shelters where officials feared COVID-19 could spread like wildfire.
Also in December, the hotel residents — who were moved from a shelter in downtown Seattle, and whose stay near downtown Renton has been vehemently opposed by businesses and some city leaders — were ordered to leave over the course of 2021, with half gone by June.
Guests testing positive or who were exposed to those who tested positive were “immediately” taken to a county isolation and quarantine site, the blog post said. The last positive case was identified on Dec. 28.