By Meghan Hall
As the coronavirus pandemic continues, King County has worked to add clinics and testing sites to its arsenal. According to public documents, King County recently closed on a deal to purchase another site, a 1952 medical office building, located downtown. The County paid $15.5 million, or $581 per square foot for the Downtown Public Health Center. The seller was an entity associated with Lady White Investments, LLC, based in Greenwich, Conn.
The health center is located at 2124 4th Ave. in Seattle’s Belltown neighborhood and totals about 26,670 square feet. For the past several months, the clinic has been operating as a COVID-19 testing site but also offers an array of other services, from adult health care to dental to maternity support. Other services, such as needle exchange, are also available.
The site is near the heart of downtown Seattle, within walking distance of Pike Place Market and the Amazon spheres. Numerous shops and restaurants are also in the immediate vicinity, and the 4th Ave. and Lenora Street bus station is also located just outside the building.
Thus far, the City of Seattle has spent $233 million on COVID-19 relief initiatives, and last week Mayor Jenny Durkan, Council President M. Lorena González, Council Member Teresa Mosqueda and Councilmember Tammy Morales announced another COVID-19 relief package. The proposal will create and extend $45 million in COVID-19 relief programs through this year and into next.
Since testing began in June, the City of Seattle has administered more than 128,000 tests and has nine of ten highest per capita testing areas in King County. Testing is free at City of Seattle testing sites and patients are not billed, regardless of health insurance status.
“It is extremely important for the community to be able to access testing at the first signs of symptoms to prevent COVID-19 from spreading to friends, family, and the community. While most people can, and should, access testing through their regular health care provider, community sites are important for those who may not have that option. I am grateful to the City of Seattle for the partnership to expand testing,” said Patty Hayes, Director of Public Health for Seattle & King County in a statement after the opening of a testing site in the Westwood neighborhood of Seattle.
The acquisition of the clinic is just one of a number of steps the City is taking to stymie the impacts of COVID-19, including the creation of 600 permanent homes, rental assistance and temporary eviction moratoriums for residents and small or non-profit businesses.