1/8: 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.
  • Many resources are available for adults and youth experiencing distress, as well as those caring for anyone experiencing emotional distress.
    • The “Washington Listens” support line for managing stress and getting referrals for behavioral health services is 1-833-681-0211.
    • The Suicide Prevention Lifeline phone number is 800-273-8255 for English, o en espanol: ocho ochenta y ocho, seis veintiocho, noventa y cuatro, cincuenta y cuatro 1-888-628-9454
    • 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. If you text FRONTLINE to 741741, you’ll be connected with a crisis counselor trained to help frontline workers in the fight against COVID.
    • 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


  • Anyone traveling to Canada via plane is now required to have a negative covid-19 result from a test done within 72 hours of their flight.
    • Once in Canada, travelers will still have to quarantine for 14 days.


  • The governor has updated an emergency proclamation that protecting federal stimulus payments from garnishment for consumer debt.
    • The order expires on Jan. 19, as previously approved by the Legislature.
    • The first suspended the legal requirement for employers to pay shared work benefits, thereby allowing federal stimulus funding to be used to pay for the employer portion of shared work benefits. Federal dollars the state receives for this purpose now go into our state trust fund and may not be passed along to employees.
    • The second emergency rule had allowed DSHS to provide assistance to Washington families without children during the first part of the pandemic; now DSHS is limited to helping only families with minor children.
  • The state’s Insurance Commissioner has once again extended his emergency order, directing all state-regulated health insurers to continue coverage for telehealth like phone and video appointments, as well as cover all medically necessary diagnostic testing for flu, COVID-19, and certain other viral respiratory illnesses with no copay, coinsurance or deductible.
    • Insurers must also treat drive-up testing sites for COVID-19 the same as a provider visit with no copay, coinsurance or deductible.
    • Additionally, to help free up hospital beds, health insurers must waive or expedite prior authorization requirements for home healthcare or long-term care facility services to speed up discharging patients who are ready to leave.
    • The order lasts through Feb 7th.


  • The Tacoma Pierce County Health Department reported 515 new COVID 19 cases today and 302 cases yesterday.
    • This includes about 100 cases from between Christmas and New Year’s.
    • The health dept notes that we’re starting to see an increase in cases that can’t be attributed to holiday fluctuations in lab processing and data entry.
    • The County’s average cases per day over the last 2 weeks is 258, and with a 6-day lag to account for data accuracy, the case rate per 100,000 people is 401.
  • Residents of Pierce County can go to tpchd.org/vaxtothefuture to keep up to date on vaccine efforts in our county, including when you might be eligible for vaccines based on availability, and your personal factors like age, health, work, and living situation.
  • Several school districts in our region are planning on transitioning some students to in-person learning in the coming weeks and months
  • In Tacoma Public Schools, kindergarten students will start in-person learning on campus two days per week starting January 19th.
    • On Jan. 10, school principals will contact kindergarten families through email, text and voicemail to let them know which days which days their children have been assigned to attend school in person.
    • Starting Jan. 25, preschool students will attend school two days per week in groups of up to 15 students.
    • First and second graders can plan return to school two days per week starting Feb 8th.
    • On school days when students do not attend school in person, they will have assignments from their teacher to work on independently, and may also watch live or recorded TPS TV School, which is a series of 45-minute lessons taught by two Tacoma teachers for grades K-3.
  • In Puyallup Public Schools, students in Kindergarten and first grade may return starting January 12th, second and third graders may return Jan 26, and grades 4-6 on Feb 9th.
    • Each grade will attend two days a week to start, gradually building up to 4 or 5 days a week.
    • Certain students receiving special education are also allowed to return 4 days per week starting on January 12th.
    • A return for middle and high schoolers in Puyallup is not yet scheduled, and will be based on how it goes with elementary school.
  • Federal Way Public Schools, a district whose service area reports some of the highest COVID transmission rates in the region, has no plans to bring students to campus until late February or early March.


  • On MON, JAN 11 AT 6 PM, the Hilltop Action Coalition will be airing its weekly update at 6pm via facebook live.
    • I’ll be one of the week’s invited guests, sharing updates about the new KTQA studio and ways to get involved!


  • 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.
    • Friday, Jan 8: Bay Terrace Apartments at 2550 South G St., and State Emission Inspection Station in Lakewood.
    • Saturday, Jan 9: Tacoma MetroParks Vassault Park, Eatonville Middle School, Fort Steilacoom Park, and the State Emission Inspection Station in Lakewood.
    • 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