12/18: Friday 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 FDA and an independent panel of experts organized by Nevada, California, Oregon, and Washington approved the Pfizer BioNtech coronavirus vaccine for emergency use authorization last week, and distribution began this week in Washington for certain health care workers.
    • A 20-member FDA panel recommended granting the same Emergency Use Authorization to a similar vaccine made by the company Moderna, and if granted authorization, it too will go through approval by the Western States Pact workgroup panel of experts.
    • In most places in Washington, individuals who are eligible to receive the vaccine right now include healthcare workers, first responders who treat patients with COVID-19, and older adults who live in congregate care settings like nursing homes.
    • Washington’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices will make further recommendations this weekend on distributing vaccine to the next priority groups, which include: Critical workers at high risk of exposure at work, People with multiple high risk health conditions, and People older than 65.
    • The federal government estimates the national supply will be adequate to begin widespread vaccination of the general public by the second quarter of 2021.
    • In the meantime, local, state, federal, and international health authorities emphasize the importance of wearing a mas, staying 6 feet from others, staying home if sick, getting tested if you have symptoms, keeping gatherings small, and washing hands often.
  • Bloodworks Northwest will be testing all blood donations for COVID-19 antibodies from through the end of the month.
    • Anyone who gives blood will get results that indicate whether their immune system has produced antibodies to the virus, regardless of whether the donor ever showed symptoms or felt sick.
    • If antibodies are present, it means that the donor’s blood products might be able to help critically ill coronavirus patients, in addition to patients who need blood for other reasons.
    • Prospective donors can book an appointment online at bloodworksNW.org or by calling 1-800-398-7888.
  • As a followup to Wednesday’s big news where the governor and superintendent of public instruction issued updated recommendations for when and how to allow in-person schooling for children in Washington State, several districts have made statements about their plans for 2021:
    • Seattle Schools plan to welcome kindergarteners, 1st graders, and special education students back to campus by March, with the option for students to continue remote schooling.
    • Federal Way school superintendent stated that it will take 6-8 weeks to transition from remote learning to face-to-face instruction for Prek-1st grade and small groups of other grade level students needing supportive instruction.
    • Tacoma Schools anticipated sharing an update by today, but at air time had not yet publicly issued any new statements about their timeline.
    • Additionally, Microsoft announced that it’s going to provide technology that tracks Covid testing data, for free, to all school districts in the state.


  • The Tacoma Pierce County Health Department reported 165 new COVID 19 cases yesterday.
    • There are an estimated 8,553 active confirmed COVID-19 cases in the county.
    • The County’s average cases per day over the last 2 weeks is , and the 14-day case rate per 100,000 people is .
    • For reference, community spread of COVID-19 is said to be under control when that figure is below 25 per 100,000 residents.
    • And for further reference the number is recommended to be below 350 to begin the process of bringing young students back to school buildings.


  • 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 and the weekend’s mobile testing events include
    • Fri, Dec 18: Tacoma Nazarene Church, Chapel Hill Presb Church in Gig Harbor and the Lakewood: State Emission Inspection Station
    • Sat Dec 19: Sumner High School, teh WPFR in the University Place, and the Lakewood State Emissions Inspection Station.
    • Sun Dec 20: Dacca Park in Fife, and the Lakewood emissions station
    • Mon, Dec 21: Sprinker Recreation Center
    • Tue, Dec 22: PLU and Spanaway Elementary School
    • Wed, Dec 23: Key Peninsula Longbranch Improvement Club, Tacoma Musical Playhouse, and the Lakewood State Emission Inspection Station
    • No ID is required, tests are free and open to anyone, and most testing runs 10am-3pm, but check TPCHD.org for specifics
    • Results are available in 3-7 days
    • Bonus: Some COVID test sites are also doing free adult flu shots too!
  • A new program even arranges for a test to be delivered to you if you have mobility issues or trouble getting to a test site.