11/26: Thanksgiving Briefing

By rebecca No comments


  • The state insurance commissioner’s emergency order that requires health insurers to waive copays and deductibles for any consumer requiring coronavirus testing is again extended for another month through December 24th.
    • Insurers must also continue allow a one-time early refill for prescription drugs, and must suspend any prior authorization requirements for treatment or testing of COVID-19.
  • The state Emergency Management Division is urging those who want to help during the pandemic to consider making an appointment to donate blood, as stocks run low.
    • In our region, Bloodworks Northwest manages donations.
    • Call 800-398-7888 or go to https://bloodworksNW.org to schedule an appointment
  • Non-urgent dental services and health care procedures are being suspended in Washington as of December 3rd, unless specific procedures and criteria are met, in order to conserve protective equipment and to minimize the spread of coronavirus.
    • The full declaration can be read by following links to “News & Media” at governor.wa.gov.
    • All appropriate clinical care can be provided so long as there is sufficient access to PPE and, for hospitals, surge capacity is at least 20%.
    • If the region of practice reaches “Crisis Care” phase, only emergent and urgent care will be provided, along with any non-urgent care that would cause harm to a patient if it were delayed for more than 90 days.
    • Family planning services and procedures, newborn care, infant and pediatric vaccinations; and other preventive care, such as annual flu vaccinations, are unaffected and are advised to continue.
    • Visitors are limited to those essential for a patient’s well-being and care according to the clinical judgment of health care providers.


  • The Tacoma Pierce County Health Department reported 89 new COVID 19 cases today, but notes that today’s case count is an undercount due to staffing and processing slowdowns related to the holiday.
    • More people are seeking testing at Pierce County’s mobile sites throughout the county, and the sharp increase in recent testing volume has caused delays in processing and reporting.
    • The department continues to play catch up and report cases from 2 to 3 days ago in addition to cases from yesterday.
    • In addition, Washington State Department of Health has suspended negative test reporting during the unprecedented surge of testing results, and consequently the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Dept won’t update the test positivity rate and number of total daily tests charts until state DOH resolves it backlog.
    • The County’s 14-day case rate per 100,000 people is 366.
    • For reference, the figure is recommended to be at 75 per 100,000 to consider bringing back youngest students for hybrid in-person learning at schools.
    • The department notes that more people are seeking testing at Pierce County’s mobile sites throughout the county, and the sharp increase in recent testing volume has caused delays in processing and reporting, and estimates that today’s case count is likely an undercount.


  • There are numerous free COVID-19 testing sites in our region:
    • For King County locations visit KingCounty.gov.
    • A new site has been established at Highline College in Des Moines.
    • For Pierce County locations, visit TPCHD.org/covidtest.
  • The county won’t be holding any mobile testing events on Thursday or Friday this week. All residents are urged to stay home and spend Thanksgiving only with members of your household.
    • On Saturday, November 28th, the health dept mobile testing units will be up and running at Key Peninsula Longbranch Improvement Club, Journey Church on Pearl St. in Tacoma, and at the Tacoma Dome.
    • And on Sunday, November 29th, testing will be held at 3 locations: the Narrows Sixth Avenue Park and Ride, Gig Harbor High School, and Key Peninsula Middle School
    • No ID is required and tests are free and open to anyone
    • results are available in 3-5 days
    • Testing runs 10am-3pm.