SPOKANE, WA — Two out of four U.S. patients who have tested positive for COVID-19, more commonly known as a coronavirus, arrived at Spokane’s Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center on Thursday morning.
Spokane Country Health Officer Dr. Bob Lutz said the patients were transported to Sacred Heart from Travis Air Force Base in Sacramento, California.
The patients are in stable condition, health officials said.
“This is a controlled situation. There is no risk to the residents of Spokane County by bringing these individuals into our care,” Lutz said during a press conference on Thursday.
Providence Sacred Heart was chosen “because of its secured airborne infection isolation rooms,” health officials said. Sacred Heart is one of 10 hospitals in the U.S. with this specialized unit.
The other hospitals are located in Boston; New York City; Baltimore; Atlanta; Minneapolis; Galveston, Texas; Omaha, Nebraska; Denver; and Los Angeles.
The release said normal hospital operations will remain unaffected.
A spokesperson for the Spokane Regional Health District said patients will fly into Spokane International Airport, but it is unknown if they will be taken to the hospital via ambulance or an aircraft.
Lutz said healthcare workers have trained for this scenario.
“We are coordinating with local partners to safely transport these patients to Sacred Heart. This is all being done following our jointly developed infectious disease protocols that we train and prepare for. The risk to the public from this novel coronavirus remains low,” Lutz said.
The move is a joint effort between the Spokane Regional Health District, Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center and the Washington State Department of Health, according to the release.
The most recent numbers from the state Department of Health indicate that 779 people in Washington are under public health supervision due to coronavirus. These people are being monitored due to risk of having contracted coronavirus.