Free Seattle health clinic draws hundreds (and screens for coronavirus)
Hundreds of people lined up overnight Thursday at the Seattle Center for a free health care clinic that’s watching for something new this year: coronavirus.
The Seattle King County Clinic opened the doors at Fisher Pavilion at midnight for services that began at 6:30 a.m. The clinic runs through Sunday.
Volunteers like Ned Dunn are asking patients if they've recently traveled to China, and if they're showing any symptoms that could possibly linked to coronavirus.
"If we got a yes to both questions, which has not happened yet, then we have a protocol that they don't come in the building and we call King County Public Health,” Dunn said. “There's people on-call who will come then and make sure they get evaluated."
Beyond that concern, volunteers are providing free dental, vision and medical care for people who can’t afford it. Clinic organizers said that because of the crowd, people should be prepared for a long day waiting for care.
Seattle Center spokeswoman Deborah Daoust said that before 6:45 a.m., about 600 people had been admitted, and that they quickly filled spots for dental care.
“Many people come here and they have insurance, but they have very large deductibles or they are underinsured. Their dental is not included,” she said. “So that is always very popular.”
People don’t need to be King County residents to take advantage of the service, and proof of U.S. citizenship is not required.
Daoust said clinic hours are 6:30 a.m. to about 6 p.m., and tickets for entry are given out starting at 5 a.m. There’s free parking in the Mercer Street garage. (Here’s more advice.)
Correction, 8 a.m., 2/13/2020: Deborah Daoust's last name was misspelled in an earlier version of this story.