12/28: Monday Briefing (Eng) & Reporte de COVID (Spanish)

By rebecca No comments

Today’s briefing is accompanied by the Spanish-language Reporte Semanal de COVID-19, a production of Latinx En Accion and the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Dept.


  • 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 latest statewide situation report on COVID-19, which came out on Friday of last week, has revealed the following:
    • The state remains in a highly precarious situation, with active infection being around the same as mid-November, but with higher hospitalization rate.
    • Cases and hospitalizations started to plateau just before Thanksgiving, then rebounded again after the holiday.
    • COVID-19 transmission is plateauing, but hasn’t decreased enough to be considered under control
    • Hospitals and intensive care units (ICUs) remain stressed.
    • The estimated overall percentage of Washington state residents with active COVID-19 infection was still higher than the peak in late March.
  • Any Washingtonians who have been receiving Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation, also called PEUC, should apply for Extended Benefits now through the Washington Employment Security Department at esd.wa.gov
    • The federal stimulus measure to extend Panedemic unemployment was not signed into law before it expired on Dec. 26, so recipients must apply for Extended Benefits in order to avoid a gap in financial assistance.
    • Claimants should submit their PEUC weekly claim for the week ending Dec. 26 as normal in eServices on the esd.wa.gov website, and then when you see the alert to apply for EB, select it, fill out the application, then continue to submit your weekly claims.
    • Federal law has reduced the number of weeks available for both the Extended Benefits program and the Pandemic Unemployment program
    • Extended Benefits changed from 20 to 13 weeks beginning the week of December 13.
    • Pandemic Unemployment Assistance changed from 46 to 39 weeks beginning the week of December 13.
    • The newly extended federal unemployment benefits begin the week of Jan. 3.
    • The governor authorized a one-time payment of $550 for many recipients of Pandemic Unemployment Assistance benefits to cover the one-week gap in federal benefits.
    • Washington’s ESD expects to update their website and social media accounts with the latest information, and advises that customers should watch for directions about next steps via email, eServices or postal mail.
    • The department reiterates that for now, claimants should continue filing weekly claims, watch for updates, avoid calling the unemployment claims center with questions due to high call volume, and if you absolutely must call the claims center about another issue, try throughout the day, and not just at 8 a.m. when the lines open, as that’s when they receive the most calls.
  • People arriving in Washington after traveling to other states or countries are reminded to self-quarantine for 14 days after arrival, and to limit their interactions to their immediate household.
    • This recommendation does not apply to individuals who cross state or country borders for essential travel, to include work and study, critical infrastructure support, and immediate medical care.
    • There is a 14-day quarantine requirement, not recommendation, for anyone returning to Washington state after visiting the United Kingdom, South Africa and other countries where a new variant of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, has been circulating.
    • This now includes Canada, as the variant was identified in British Columbia.


  • The Tacoma Pierce County Health Department reported 101 new COVID 19 cases today, but notes that Holiday-related delays resulted in lower than expected cases today.
    • There were 148 cases on Sunday, 156 cases on Saturday, and 374 cases on Christmas Day.
    • The County’s average cases per day over the last 2 weeks is 379, and with a 6-day lag to account for data accuracy, the case rate per 100,000 people is 560.
  • Nourish Pierce County food banks will be closed this Friday for the New Years Day holiday, and then during the week of January 4th-9th to give volunteers, the National Guard, and staff a holiday respite.
    • Customers will be given additional servings of food the week prior to this closure to ensure they have plenty of food for themselves and their families.
    • To find a list of food banks near you, along with hours, visit nourishPC.org/need-food, or call (253) 383-3164.


  • There are numerous free COVID-19 testing sites in our region:
    • For King County locations visit KingCounty.gov.
    • For Pierce County locations, visit TPCHD.org/covidtest.
    • This week’s mobile testing events include the following:
    • Tuesday, Dec 29th: University Place: WPFR
    • Wednesday, Dec 30: Pierce College in Puyallup, Centro Latino in Hilltop, Prairie Ridge Community Center in Bonney Lake, and the Lakewood State Emission Inspection Station
    • There will be no mobile testing on Thursday or Friday this week, but the department will be back this weekend offering free testing on Saturday, Jan 2nd at the Fraternal Order of Eagles building in Orting and at Journey Church in Tacoma.
    • 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.