Coronavirus Motel Tenant Walks Out, Stops at Store, Hops on Bus

(Bloomberg) -- In an incident sure to stir debate around the Seattle-area’s motel for isolating people who might have the coronavirus, one of its first tenants walked out, despite a security guard’s attempts to stop him.

The man arrived Thursday while awaiting test results, according to a statement from King County, which recently bought the site in a suburb south of Seattle to ease the burden on local hospitals. At around 7:30 a.m., he crossed the street to a convenience store, allegedly shoplifted, and then caught a northbound bus. The bus was taken out of service to be sanitized.

The innovative move by county officials to buy and repurpose an 85-room Econo Lodge in Kent drew a swift rebuke from locals who feared the spread of the virus nearby. The man who walked out was only the second resident, according to the statement. The first tested negative for the disease and departed.

To contact the reporter on this story: Noah Buhayar in Seattle at

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Craig Giammona at, David Scheer, Dan Reichl

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