12/23: Wednesday 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 governor and legislature have extended 3 proclamations through December 28th due to the ongoing COVID-19 emergency:
    • The first continues the suspension of the one-week waiting period to collect unemployment insurance.
    • The second extends the allowance of shared work benefits to be paid by employers
    • And the third extends the Department of Social and Health Services’ ability to include childless individuals and families in the Family Emergency Assistance Program.
    • Details can be found online at governor.wa.gov in the news & issues section.
  • Washington’s Department of Social and Health Services is working with the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction to get federal approval for a plan to issue Pandemic EBT or P-EBT benefits for the 2020-21 school year, which replaces school meals while children can’t attend school due to COVID-19.
    • If Washington state’s proposed plan is approved, families won’t have to apply for the program and benefits will be issued automatically to eligible children.
    • The department notes however that it may take until February or March 2021 before benefits can be issued, so in the meantime, families are urged to apply for their local school district’s free or reduced-price school meal program and to check that the school district has the most current address on file for your children.
    • Tacoma and Federal Way Schools will continue to offer free meals to all children up to age 18 for the entirety of this school year.
    • Check with district nutrition services departments about meal pickup and drop-off locations.
  • DSHS also advises checking in on family, friends, neighbors and loved ones with phone calls, video calls, distanced visits or written letters in lieu of holiday gatherings, and if something doesn’t seem quite right or you’re worried about someone’s wellbeing, anyone can submit a report to Adult Protective Services by calling (877)-734-6277 or by visiting DHSH.wa.gov.
  • Coronavirus vaccines for residents of long-term care facilities will given starting December 28th, according to state health officials.
    • Vaccines for Washingtonians other than long-term care facility residents, certain health care workers, and select first responders, won’t be available for at least another month.
    • More info on vaccines can be obtained by calling the state coronavirus hotline 1-800-525-0127, or by texting your questions to 211-211, or on the state’s website coronavirus.wa.gov.


  • The Tacoma Pierce County Health Department reported 207 new COVID-19 cases yesterday.
    • For reference, community spread of COVID-19 is said to be under control when that figure is below 25 per 100,000 residents.
  • There are several places in our region where uninsured adults can get free flu shots:
    • In Tacoma: Acts Pharmacy at 1901 S. Union Ave, Rankos Pharmacy at 101 N. Tacoma Ave., and at Safeway Pharmacies on M Street in Hilltop and on 38th St. in the Lincoln District
    • In Eatonville: Kirk’s Pharmacy
    • In Puyallup: MultiCare Adult Immunization Clinic at 1322 3rd St. S.E.
    • Learn more at tpchd.org/flu or call (253) 649-1413.


  • 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.
    • The department’s mobile testing units are taking Thursday and Friday off, but will be back this weekend administering free COVID-19 tests:
    • Saturday, December 26: Bonney Lake High School, and at Bethlehem Baptist Church at 4818 Portland Ave E
    • Sunday, December 27, Tacoma Dome
    • 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.
  • Cheney Stadium is partnering with Discovery Health to offer COVID-19 testing Tuesdays through Saturdays from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. through Feb. 28.
    • The site will be closed for the holidays on Dec. 24, 25, 31 and Jan. 1.
    • Individuals looking to get tested are asked to pre-register online at testdirectly.com, and those with health insurance are asked to enter their information during registration as well as bring it with them to the site.