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In what might become a familiar scene, Capitol Hill office building gets ‘disinfecting service’ as person becomes ill amid COVID-19 concerns — UPDATE

Thanks to a CHS reader for the picture

The scene around an E Pine office building home to classes, businesses, and nonprofits Monday evening on Capitol Hill might be one we should get use to.

People familiar with the situation tell CHS the 400 E Pine offices and classrooms were closed Monday for cleaning after a person who either worked at or was visiting the Pine Bellevue Building became ill and was being tested.

At least one worker in a hazardous material suit could be seen entering the building. This kind of “deep cleaning” could become a common sight as the number of “presumptive positive” coronavirus cases increase and testing ramps up from hundreds to thousands being monitored for illness around King County and the state.

A representative for Alliance Building Services tells CHS the company was under an non disclosure agreement and unable to comment specifically about the clean-up contract. But owner Scott Smith tells CHS just because you see a hazmat suit on a worker doing clean-up in Seattle, you should not assume it’s a COVID-19 situation. Everyone in the industry is suited up during the outbreak.

“We’ve gone to that mode. Full respirators and masks, and gowns,” Smith said.

Alliance, based in Bellevue, offers an array of services including “disinfecting services” —

Using cutting-edge Electrostatic technology, we are able to provide 360 degrees of touchless disinfecting and sanitizing coverage which reaches up to 3x more surfaces than traditional methods like buckets, rags, and wipes and is a safer and more sustainable option than bleach.

No pricing information was available.

We don’t know if the building has yet been reopened. Our attempts to reach the building’s management company has so far been unsuccessful.

We’re also waiting to hear back from health officials about whether businesses and building managers are being asked to notify authorities about these types of cleanings and whether there is more information available about the 400 E Pine response.

The 400 E Pine building — originally the Hirsch Cycle Co. — dates to 1917 and is home to a location of ELS Language Centers, business and medical offices, and the headquarters of the GSBA, the city’s “LGBTQ & Allied chamber of commerce” and umbrella organization for the Capitol Hill Business Alliance, a business group representing the neighborhood’s commercial community.

CEO Louise Chernin said the organization will keep its 400 E Pine office closed for the rest of the week. Wednesday, Mayor Jenny Durkan is scheduled to appear with GSBA and neighborhood business representatives to talk about efforts to support restaurants, cafes, shops, and other small businesses and their workers through the COVID-19 response and reports of a significant downturn in business for many.

CHS reported here on the early Capitol Hill small business impact and issues including sick leave, insurance, and federal loans. The recently approved $8.3 billion federal emergency spending package includes $1 billion in subsidies to support a $7 billion loan program for small businesses hit by the coronavirus outbreak.

More help could come from a $2 million COVID-19 Response Fund backed by a coalition of Seattle “philanthropic groups and major corporations. The fund aims “to rapidly send grants to organizations with “deep roots” within vulnerable populations, including people who lack access to health insurance or sick leave, residents with limited English proficiency, communities of color, and health care and gig economy workers,” the Seattle Times reports. Initial donors include Microsoft, Amazon, and Starbucks.

Chernin said no one on GSBA’s staff is sick and that they’ll be working from home for the week. “[The] priority is to reach out to our businesses and nonprofits to see how best we can support them,” Chernin said. “They are really hurting.”

UPDATE 2:35 PM: The latest numbers from Public Health show what officials have been warning about: the first signs of a sharp increase in identified cases now that testing efforts have been stepped up around the region. The county reported 74 new cases Tuesday, bringing the total here to 190. With two new fatal cases, the death toll now stands at 22 for King County,

Public Health – Seattle & King County is reporting the following confirmed cases and deaths due to COVID-19 through 11:59 p.m. on 3/9/20

  • 190 confirmed cases (up 74 from yesterday)
  • 22 confirmed deaths (up 2 from yesterday)

The two deaths being reported today include:

  • A woman in her 80s, a resident of Issaquah Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, was hospitalized at Swedish Issaquah, and died on 3/8/20. (This case was previously reported as a positive case on 3/7/20, in an earlier case count.)
  • A male in his 80s, a resident of Ida Culver House, was hospitalized at University of Washington Medical Center, and died on 3/9/20. (This case was previously reported as a positive case on 3/6/20, in an earlier case count.)

Of the 22 deaths reported, 19 are associated with Life Care Center.

The county also released a list of ten area long-term care facilities “where residents and/or employees have tested positive for the virus” — none of the facilities is located in the Central Seattle area.

CHS COVID-19 Coverage

  • 3/9/20: COVID-19 updates: Seattle Central joins campus closure list, Amazon and Microsoft back $2M ‘COVID-19 Response Fund,’ home testing kits coming
  • 3/7/20: COVID-19 updates: New senior facility cases, cancellations grow, strange days in Seattle include new ‘6-foot’ options for delivery apps
  • 3/6/20Despite COVID-19 shadow, Capitol Hill Farmers Market going on as scheduled for shoppers — and vendors
  • 3/5/20: COVID-19 updates: King County Novel Coronavirus Call Center, increased testing, and why Seattle Schools isn’t canceling
  • 3/5/20: ‘EMPLOYEES MUST WASH HANDS’ — Capitol Hill’s restaurant and nightlife economy grapples with COVID-19 worries
  • 3/3/20: COVID-19 updates: Seattle ‘Civil Emergency,’ city council briefing, ‘real-time outbreak response for the Seattle epidemic’ job listings
  • 3/2/20: COVID-19 updates: Weekend grocery run, county’s emergency response, patient isolation motel
  • 2/29/20With first ‘presumptive positive’ COVID-19 case in King County, here’s what officials are saying about spread and preparation — UPDATE: First U.S. death here
  • More…

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One thought on “In what might become a familiar scene, Capitol Hill office building gets ‘disinfecting service’ as person becomes ill amid COVID-19 concerns — UPDATE

  1. Good thing the state still hasn’t bothered to test the 180 staff -70 of whom are now sick – who worked at the Kirkland Lifecare facility on February 19th, the day firefighters were exposed to multiple active Covid cases. Nor the staff who continue to work with patients in a facility where more than 50 people have become so sick they’ve gone from there to the hospital, and 6 confirmed Covid cases remain in the facility. All of those staff are leaving and going out in the community each day, all without testing. What’s the point of scrubbing office buildings when 5 minutes later someone can walk in sick, because we are doing so little testing in Washington that the state virology lab is offering its services to other states. When asked why they are doing that, they said that WA doctors are just no sending them enough Covid tests to meet their capacity for testing.

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