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May 7, 2021

STATE COVID QUARANTINE FACILITY TO OPEN IN CENTRALIA

CENTRALIA – A Centralia motel has been closed to the public as it has been leased by the Washington State Department of Health as a coronavirus quarantine facility. Raj Kumar is the manager at the Lakeview Inn off I-5 at Mellon Street and he has confirmed, “the property is being used by the state for a quarantine facility.” The 40 room motel could open as soon as Friday for local or international travelers, ship crews and state work release inmates that are required to quarantine following an infection.  Local leaders were unaware of the state’s decision to bring people infected with COVID from out of the area to Centralia. Mayor Sue Luond says they “kinda sprung it on us.” Centralia City Manager Rob Hill says, “Anytime they come in and say there is going to be an isolation facility in your community, the first thing we think is this going to stay contained. We don’t need more COVID here than we already have.” Hill says if the facility operates as the State Department of Health says it will, there is little concern, other than a point mentioned by Lewis County Commissioner Sean Swope about the potential added pressure placed on the local health care system. Commissioner Swope says, “You’re creating a hot spot in Centralia. I don’t like it, the way it’s been handled, (the state) doing whatever they want, this is how it’s going to be, it’s a dictatorship, it’s how (Governor) Inslee operates, it’s the culture that he’s built.” With the economy opening up and summer-season events planned in and around the community there is concern for adverse economic impacts from a reduced number of overnight beds. City Manager Hill wonders what taking 40 rooms off the local hospitality inventory will do to the city’s projected $120 thousand income this year in lodging tax revenues, which the city planned to use this year to benefit the community. State Department of Health’s Wayne Clifford apologized for the lack of communication at a Lewis County Commissioner, Department Director’s meeting on Wednesday. Clifford explained that local and international workers and travelers plus state work release inmates could be housed at Lakeview for up to 14 days at a time. The state quarantine facility is moving from a Tumwater location where recently a crew on an international ship were sent after being infected with coronavirus. Clifford reportedly told local officials to expect no more than 20 people to stay at the quarantine facility at a time. _________________________________________________ CENTRALIA – Centralia Schools have gained four additional votes of support in the latest and final ballot count from the April 27th special tax levy election. An additional 20 ballots were counted late Thursday, and the two year replacement tax is now being approved by 73 votes. School Board President Lori Fast said on the night after the election that the district is grateful for the support and will be transparent with the community in how the money is spent. The district had two previous tax measures fail. The third attempt and approval, which will be certified Friday, will bring the district an estimated $9 million dollars in two years starting next year for student and staff programs and services.

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