In partnership with the state’s health care unions, King County Executive Dow Constantine and King County Council Chair Claudia Balducci today announced that the County reserved a block of rooms at Hotel 116 in Bellevue for healthcare workers who need a place to stay if they are concerned about COVID-19 exposure.
Responding to concerns that healthcare works were having to choose between continuing to work and keeping their families and loved ones safe, Executive Constantine and Council Chair Claudia Balducci announced today that King County will provide no-cost rooms at Hotel 116 at 625 116th Ave NE, Bellevue.
The hotel is located near Kaiser Permanente – Bellevue Medical Center and Overlake Medical Center & Clinics.
King County is partnering with Washington State Nurses Association, SEIU Healthcare 1199NW, and UFCW 21 to inform their members about this resource. The work to secure these hotel rooms began after discussions with these three unions about the needs of their members, who face very real fears of carrying COVID-19 home to family members with underlying health conditions, who are pregnant, or who are in the over 65 age group that is more susceptible to this virus.
The block of 80 rooms will be exclusively available to health workers. King County is paying $89 per night. The rooms are set to be available through June.
“Healthcare workers on the front lines of our crisis response shouldn't have to put their families and loved ones at risk for doing their jobs. I am gratified to have the opportunity to work with healthcare unions to offer housing for caregivers during this public health emergency, so they can remain safe and care for our community,” said Executive Constantine.
King County is also working to finalize hotel space for its employees who are serving as first responders and in front line positions, and will be announcing details on these soon.
Healthcare workers on the front lines of our crisis response shouldn't have to put their families and loved ones at risk for doing their jobs. I am gratified to have the opportunity to work with healthcare unions to offer housing for caregivers during this public health emergency, so they can remain safe and care for our community.
Doctors and nurses are working day and night, at the very front lines of the battle against coronavirus. Even as we start to see some slowing in the rates of infection, they need our support to keep going. Providing a place to rest between shifts is one small way we can help and say ‘thank you’ for their work and sacrifice. I hope this resource will help keep our health care professionals safe and healthy as they work on our behalf.
From the first COVID-19 cases in Washington state arrived in our hospitals, WSNA members have expressed concerns about the safety of their loved ones at home. These free hotel rooms offer health care workers an important option to protect their loved ones, especially those who live with family members in vulnerable categories. We appreciate Executive Dow Constantine’s and Council Chair Claudia Balducci’s openness to working with us to arrive at this important solution to our members’ concerns.
Working through a pandemic without adequate protective equipment carries risk not just for a health care worker, but for their entire household as well. Health care workers in King County and across the world have faced heartbreaking decisions between caring for patients on the front lines and keeping their own families safe. Some have moved into temporary housing or isolated from family in order to protect loved ones from their high level of COVID-19 exposure. We are incredibly grateful to Executive Constantine, Council Chair Claudia Balducci, and King County for opening up this welcome new resource for caregivers so they don’t have to sacrifice their family’s safety in order to provide quality care for our community.
The nurses and healthcare workers of SEIU Healthcare 1199NW selflessly put our patients first every day, but we all worry about exposing our own loved ones to COVID-19 at the end of our shifts. It’s a very serious concern, and the ongoing lack of adequate protective personal protective equipment only makes it worse. That is why providing free hotel accommodations to healthcare workers is a necessary step toward granting us some peace of mind so we can focus all our energy on fighting the novel coronavirus and serving our communities. We extend our gratitude to Executive Constantine Dow Constantine and Council Chair Claudia Balducci for their leadership during the crisis and for answering the call to prioritize the safety and wellbeing of frontline workers and our families.
For more information, contact:
Chase Gallagher, Executive Office, 206-263-8537