New Spokane COVID-19 isolation center opening soon

SPOKANE, Wash.– A Catholic retreat in Moran Prairie is switching to a temporary COVID-19 quarantine center soon. The new resource at Immaculate Heart Retreat Center is for people diagnosed with the virus who don’t have a place to isolate or need to be away from the people they live with to protect them from exposure.

Immaculate Heart Retreat Center opened its doors in 1959. Since then, it’s been welcoming people of all faiths to find peace and healing, according to Deacon John Ruscheinsky.

COVID-19 brought a quiet summer season to center as guests cancelled their bookings. Ruscheinsky said they didn’t know what they’re were going to do to keep the doors open. Then, they got a call about a new partnership that could support the center’s future and help people.

Immaculate Heart, the Catholic Diocese of Spokane, Spokane Regional Health District (SRHD), and Catholic Charities Eastern Washington will collaborate to run a COVID-19 quarantine center at the former retreat.

“We’re all in this together to serve in this way,” Ruscheinsky said.Immaculate Heart Center Sign

Ruscheinsky said people will live in dorm-style rooms. They expect to be able to accommodate 40 people at the most. He said staff will also live on site in another wing on campus.

Catholic Charities is tasked with providing staff, sanitation, and maintenance. SRHD will oversee medical care and provide expertise, according to a press release.

Ruscheinsky said there will be social distancing measures in place and other isolation techniques to make sure people can safely recover at the facility.

Catered meals and a room will come at no charge to the sick people at the center, according to SRH. A spokesperson with the district said money from the CARES Act will cover the bills.

SRH said there are three avenues to get a referral. People with the health district’s triage team, contact tracers, and health care workers can all suggest people go to the site.

Ruscheinsky said they hope to start filling beds by late August.

RELATED: WA Dept of Health: ‘No turnaround yet’ of COVID-19 pandemic