12/15: Tuesday Briefing

By rebecca No comments


  • State-level updates on COVID-19 can be found online in multiple languages at coronavirus.wa.gov.
  • Dialing 311 will get you to the City of Tacoma’s non-emergency information line.
  • The state’s Coronavirus Q&A line is staffed 7 days a week, 6am-10pm, at 1-800-525-0127. For interpreters in other languages, press # when they answer and say your language.
  • You can also text the coronavirus Q&A line at 211-211 in any language.
  • Dialing 211 will connect you to community resources statewide through United Way, and you can also visit wa211.org online.
  • A number of mental wellness support phone lines and text services are available
  • The “Washington Listens” support line for managing stress is 1-833-681-0211.
  • The Suicide Prevention Lifeline phone number is 800-273-8255
  • The Crisis Text Line provides confidential text access from anywhere in the U.S. to a trained crisis counselor when you Text HEAL to 741741
  • Teens can call or text the Teen Link number at 866-833-6546
  • And individuals struggling with substance use or addiction can call or text the WA Recovery Help Line at 366-789-1511


  • The Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine was granted emergency use authorization by federal authorities as well as a workgroup of experts from the Western State Pact, who unanimously concluded that the vaccine is “safe and efficacious.”
    • Initial vaccine doses this week will go to about 40 facilities in 29 counties, one pharmacy serving long-term care facilities across the state, two tribal nations and one Indian health facility.
    • Recipients will include health care workers and longterm care facility residents.
    • In Pierce County, MultiCare will be the first to receive vaccine doses for Pierce County and the hospital system expects to start vaccinating staff on Friday.
    • Further information can be found online at coronavirus.wa.gov in the news section and at the department of health website at doh.wa.gov.
  • The State Department of Health notes that while the COVID19 vaccine won’t be available for the general public for quite some time, most members of the public can and should get their flu vaccine.
  • The Washington Employment Security Department, also known as “Unemployment,” is offering webinars this week Tuesday thru Friday to help Washingtonians apply for unemployment benefits or restart unemployment claims
    • The sessions are free and are designed to help applicants understand the process and avoid common mistakes.
    • See the schedule and sign up esd.wa.gov/UIwebinars
  • The Washington State Department of Health is holding two online webinars to address frequently asked questions about vaccines in the era of COVID-19.
    • The panel discussions will feature experts in the fields of virology and medicine from the Fred Hutchison Cancer Research Center and the Latino Center for Health.
    • The English-language session will take place tonight at 5pm, and the Spanish-language session will be held on Thursday, Dec 17th at 6:30pm.
    • Washington residents can register for each webinar in advance and submit their vaccine questions.
    • Links to each can be found by going online to coronavirus.wa.gov and looking in the “News” section.
    • Those unable to attend should still register, and a link to a recording of the webinar will be emailed to you!
  • The Washington State Department of Health announced yesterday that it will disable all text message notifications for its subscription email topics beginning Dec. 22, in order to save costs.
    • Those who only subscribe by text and wish to continue receiving notifications are advised to create a new account and register by email.
    • No action is necessary for those who already have an email subscription.


  • The Tacoma Pierce County Health Department reported 194 new COVID 19 cases yesterday.
    • The County’s average cases per day over the last 2 weeks was 345, and the 14-day case rate per 100,000 people was 535.
    • For reference, community spread of COVID-19 is said to be under control when that figure is below 25 per 100,000 residents.
  • Yesterday, the governor issued a moratorium on any efforts to dissolve or dismantle existing health departments across the state, with few exceptions.
    • This means that the vote scheduled to take place today by the Pierce County Council on bill #2020-316, which would have put an end to the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department, is effectively moot.
    • The proclamation is in effect as long as the COVID-19 state of emergency exists, in order to ensure continuity and stability of public health efforts throughout the pandemic.
    • The only exception to the rule is if all parties agree to the termination (The department itself and the city of Tacoma were in opposition to the Pierce County Council bill), or if one party receives approval from the Washington State Dept of Health.
    • You can still give your input to the Pierce County Council by calling 253-798-7777.


  • Students in grades 3-5 who attend Lister, Boze, Sheridan, Blix, Birney, Larchmont, Fawcett, DeLong, Edison, Manitou Park, Jennie Reed, and Whitman Elementaries are eligible to sign up for Online ELO, or extended learning opportunities, at https://www.tacomaELO.com.
    • Registration closes on Dec 17th
    • Activities include Sketch Club, hip hop, Step, world drumming, and ukelele.
    • All activities are conducted and attended virtually.
  • The Hilltop Action Coalition is facilitating a Hilltop Holiday Crawl to support local businesses through Dec 20th.
    • Individuals can stop by Hilltop Action Coalition for a Passport, face masks, and sanitizer from 10am to 4pm at 1116 Earnest S Brazill ST. ⠀⠀
    • More info can be found at https://www.hilltopcrawl.com.⠀
  • The Tacoma Public Library has created TPL Book Bundles for early and emergent readers that focus on themes like animals, vehicles, the great outdoors, alphabets & numbers, and board books.
    • While the library building is closed to the public to comply with restrictions designed to reduce the spread of COVID-19, patrons can still check out books through online reservation and curbside pickup
    • Visit TacomaLibrary.org and click on TPL Now



  • There are numerous free COVID-19 testing sites in our region:
    • For King County locations visit KingCounty.gov.
    • Note that King County is no longer allowing individuals to book free COVID-19 tests days in advance, in order to discourage would-be holiday travelers, and to prioritize testing for those who’ve been exposed or those who are experiencing symptoms.
    • For Pierce County locations, visit TPCHD.org/covidtest.
  • This week’s mobile testing events include
    • Wed, Dec 16: Metroparks Kandle Park, the Asia Pacific Cultural Center (where adult flu vaccines will also be available!)
    • Thurs Dec 17: Puyallup Fairgrounds Blue Lot, Centro Latino
    • Fri, Dec 18: Tacoma Nazarene Church, Chapel Hill Presb Church in Gig Harbor
    • No ID is required
    • Testing runs 10am-3pm.
    • tests are free and open to anyone
    • results are available in 3-7 days