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News >  Pacific NW

Death at Renton homeless hotel was positive for COVID-19

UPDATED: Fri., Jan. 8, 2021

Associated Press

Associated Press

RENTON – One person has died in the midst of a coronavirus outbreak at a hotel in Renton where more than 200 homeless are sheltered, according to King County officials.

A post-mortem coronavirus test found that the person was positive, according to the King County Medical Examiner, the Seattle Times reported.

There have only been four deaths of COVID-19 among people staying in shelters, according to a King County online dashboard.

The hotel, which was formerly a Red Lion property, experienced an outbreak of 35 cases last month among its homeless guests and housed staff, in the middle of a spike in cases at homeless shelters, housing facilities and day programs across the county.

It’s the most seen since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic at any of the hotels the county is using to reduce the transmission of COVID-19 among homeless people. The Red Lion Hotel in Renton was opened by the county to keep them out of crowded bunk-bed or mats-on-the-ground shelters where officials feared COVID-19 could spread like wildfire.

Also in December, the hotel residents – who were moved from a shelter in downtown Seattle, and whose stay near downtown Renton has been vehemently opposed by businesses and some city leaders – were ordered to leave over the course of 2021, with half gone by June.

Guests testing positive or who were exposed to those who tested positive were “immediately” taken to a county isolation and quarantine site, the county said. The last positive case was on Dec. 28.

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