The Washington State Department of Health is recruiting applicants for a new unit called the "Isolation and Quarantine Strike Team," which would pay a salary of between $3,294-4,286 per month. This is an indication that Covid-inspired quarantine facilities are likely coming to Washington state.
The job post reads: "These I & Q Strike Team Member Program Specialist 2s (PS2) are responsible for participating in program planning and evaluation of health service delivery products and identifying needs for personnel, supplies, and activities to support community and state response activities. These positions will staff the State Isolation and Quarantine Facility and provide for the needs of travelers that stay at the facility.
"I & Q Strike Team members are responsible charge of the I & Q Facility during their shift and are tasked with responding to emergencies, training contractors and new staff, and providing guest support as needed. When we are successful, these efforts will directly support the mission of the DOH, which is to protect and improve the health of people in Washington."
Ginny Streeter from the Washington State Department of Health told The Post Millennial that, the "People who utilize the state Isolation and Quarantine facility would be those who do not necessarily reside in a specific county." Those would include travelers as well as "people on vessels that have outbreaks on their ships who berth on the Washington Coast."
This would also include "International and interstate travelers who test positive at SeaTac airport may also stay at this facility."
Streeter also said that "This could also include DOC (Department of Corrections) work release individuals and those who reside in Farmworker Housing" and added that "Because we do house work release individuals, there are DOC on site 24 hours per day."
Streeter said the team "will also provide occasional support to local government" and that any individuals who fit into those categories may be transported to this facility. According to Streeter, the program was authorized by Secretary of Health Umair A Shah.
It is unclear if "travelers" and "guests" would maintain the ability to come and go as they pleased under the new Strike Team program. Streeter said that any decision concerning mandatory isolation and quarantine for travelers would be made by Washington State Democrat Governor Jay Inslee, and not the Department of Health.
When asked if the Strike Team or the facility would be enforcing vaccine mandates Streeter said, "At this time, any enforcement for vaccine mandates would be handled at the local level" and that the Strike Team would not be "responsible for any type of enforcement."
More than 90 plaintiffs including employees from the Washington State Patrol, the Department of Corrections, the state ferry system, firefighters, and health care workers, recently filed suit against Inslee's vaccine mandates for state employees.
Mike Faulk, Press Secretary for Inslee told The Post Millennial that "There are no such plans for travelers," before deferring other questions back to the Department of Health.
Following the communication with the Faulk, Streeter said, "...the Governor’s office has also confirmed that at this time there are no plans for mandatory I/Q for travelers," despite minutes earlier specifically stating the facility would be for travelers and the job listing on the website stating that the location would be for travelers.
Canada's attempt at mandatory quarantine facilities was a had problems, including shortages of food and water in addition to reports of sexual assaults. Many fear a similar program is being considered for Washington state.
Duties for the new Strike Team members listed on the website included
- Maintaining the readiness of the isolation and quarantine strike team, facilities, and equipment.
- Providing direct services to the public at the I & Q facility to include: check-in, providing technical assistance, purchasing groceries and supplies for the site and guests, distributing food and resources, assisting with inventory of resources, and ensuring all guests receive excellent customer service.
- Assisting nurses on performing rounds.
- Maintaining facility cleanliness and processing guest laundry.
- Providing guest transport to and from the I & Q facility.
- Prepping the I & Q facility to receive guests, ensuring rooms are stocked and have been properly cleaned.
- Providing outreach, education, and technical assistance to internal and external stakeholders.
The Daily Chronicle in Centralia reported in August, that the "…isolation and quarantine facility at Lakeview Inn in Centralia still has capacity and room to serve those in Washington state who don't fall under any city or county jurisdiction."
According to the outlet, the state previously admitted to not communicating with stakeholders of the last-minute move to the Lakeview Inn in Centralia and apologized to the local community and committed to finding options to help the city recover lost lodging taxes due to the department’s occupation of the inn.
Residents also had concerns about those using the facility spreading the virus locally. According to the Chronicle, "Two people have had to be transferred to a local hospital with worsening conditions."
Officials claimed the 40-bed Lakeview Inn was completely voluntary program that served travelers, shipping vessel crews, military personnel, as well as Department of Corrections work-release inmates and anyone else who contracts COVID-19 while traveling through or doing business in Washington state.
Some have speculated that the program might be designed for the area's massive homeless population and that the security efforts were to prevent the early failures of these facilities at the beginning of the pandemic.
In May 2020, a resident awaiting test results left a King County established Federal Way facility, allegedly stole from a nearby store and left the area on a Metro bus. In Shoreline Washington, residents of a quarantine site were being provided beer, cigarettes and ever marijuana edibles.
Adding to the concern about the Strike Team's true purpose, last week, King County and Seattle announced vaccine passports for bars, restaurants, gyms, and other entertainment venues. The new restrictions require all individuals in King County, ages 12 and up, to provide either proof of vaccination or a recent negative COVID-19 test.