Kitsap County moves closer to opening isolation and quarantine sites

A clearer picture has begun to form as to what Kitsap County’s emergency isolation and quarantine sites would look like, which county officials are hoping to have up and running early next week.

In an update sent out Friday afternoon by the Kitsap County Emergency Operations Center, health officials are currently in the process of finalizing preparations for quarantine and isolation sites that could house individuals who have been infected with the coronavirus (COVID-19) as well quarantine those suspected of having been exposed to the virus. The sites would serve anyone in the community, including first responders and health care workers who are in need of such specialized temporary housing.

According to the statement, admittance to the isolation and quarantine sites would be voluntary and would require a referral from a health care agency, health care professional, public health provider or first responder. Once admitted, residents would be medically monitored and restricted from leaving the site until they met specific release requirements. If an individual were to leave before being cleared, they will not be admitted back into the facility and security staff would alert 911 dispatchers to the individual’s departure.

“Our primary goal is to limit the disease’s spread in order limit the impact on our health care system, which will help save lives” said Elizabeth Klute, Director of Kitsap County’s Department of Emergency Management.

So far, the Emergency Operations Center has identified the Seabeck Conference Center and Port Orchard’s Pilgrim Firs Camp and Conference Center as the county’s first locations for isolation and quarantine sites.

The key difference between isolation and quarantine sites is that individuals placed in isolation would be confirmed to have been infected with COVID-19, whereas those placed in quarantine would be suspected of being exposed to the virus, but have yet to show any symptoms.

“We know social distancing measures are disruptive to people’s lives and livelihoods, but we also know these measures will slow the spread of this illness if we remain diligent in our efforts. We appreciate every Kitsap resident who is doing their part by staying home, and we are grateful to the health care workers and first responders putting their own health at risk each day to protect our community,” said Dr. Susan Turner of the Kitsap Public Health District.

“This is an uncertain and scary time for many. Please continue to be kind and helpful to your neighbors as we work together to overcome these challenges.”