A temporary medical care site that will be set up at the former Astria Regional Medical Center in Yakima could serve up to 250 patients, local and state officials said Wednesday.
A team from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' Seattle District determined the site was suitable after completing an assessment Wednesday at the request of the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the state Department of Health, the Yakima Health District said in a news release.
The hospital will take patients who don't have COVID-19 as part of the state's overall response, said Karina Shagren, a spokeswoman for the Washington Military Department, which has been involved with the planning and building of care facilities.
The Astria Regional facility would free up space in other hospitals treating people with serious coronavirus infections, she said. The Regional site will not offer walk-in care for the general public.
The former hospital at at 110 S. Ninth Ave. was selected because it could be quickly mobilized, the health district said. Officials gave no start date. Shagren said how soon the hospital would be ready for operation "will depend on what’s still working, whether things need to be fixed and what supplies/equipment are needed."
The facility will be operated by 80 staff from the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps. Representatives from the corps were at the hospital Wednesday to determine what is needed to get the hospital back up and running, Shagren said.
Astria Health closed Astria Regional in mid-January, citing financial challenges. The closure came several months after the organization filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and left Yakima with just one hospital — Virginia Mason Memorial. Astria Health continues to operate hospitals in Sunnyside and Toppenish.
U.S. Bankruptcy Court approved Astria Health's lease of Astria Regional to the state on Tuesday. The proposal outlined a six-month lease — through Sept. 30 — for $1.5 million a month.
By reopening Astria Regional, there should be enough capacity in South Central Washington. Still, if patient demand increases, other sites could be set up to increase capacity for the region, Shagren said.
Other places that have been identified as possible care sites include the Yakima Valley SunDome on South Fair Avenue, the former Marine Corps Armory on South 16th Avenue and the National Guard Armory on South Third Street, all in Yakima, and the former Selah Convalescent nursing home on West Naches Avenue in Selah.