2/5: Friday Briefing

By rebecca No comments


  • The state Insurance Commissioner again extended his emergency order directing all state-regulated health insurers to make additional coverage changes to aid consumers during the coronavirus pandemic. His order is in effect until March 7.
    • This will sound familiar, because the insurance commissioner must renew the order every 30 days.
    • Insurers must Continue coverage for providing telehealth including videoconferencing and phone appointments.
    • They must Cover all medically necessary diagnostic testing for flu and other viral respiratory illnesses billed during a provider visit for COVID-19 with no copay, coinsurance or deductible.
    • and Insurers must Treat drive-up testing sites for COVID-19 as provider visit with no copay, coinsurance or deductible.
  • Washington state and local health officials are all urging that sports fans forgo any and all in-person Super Bowl parties this weekend in order to combat transmission of COVID-19, especially as more transmissible strains are popping up in our state.


  • Washingtonians can find out if they are eligible for COVID-19 vaccines online at FindYourPhaseWA.org.
  • COVIDvaccineWA.org is also a great source of vaccine info from the State Department of Health, and vaxToTheFuture.org is the webpage for the Tacoma Pierce County Health Department.
  • The following health systems and clinics in our region are offering vaccine appointments for eligible individuals:
    • MultiCare, Virginia Mason Franciscan Health, Kaiser Permanente, Sea Mar, Orting Family Practice, OM Life Health Clinic, University Place Medical Clinic, International Health Community Services, Fred Hutchinson, Evergreen Health, and Seattle Children’s Hospital.
    • UW Medicineis pausing further first-dose vaccines until further notice. Anyone who has already made an appointment with UW medicine will be able to get first and second vaccine doses.
  • Many pharmacies also have vaccine programs by appointment, including Safeway Albertsons, Kirk’s Pharmacy, Lincoln Pharmacy, QFC.
  • Community vaccination sites for vulnerable, underserved individuals are now open at the ShoWare Center in Kent and at the General Services Administration (GSA) Complex in Auburn.
  • The Puyallup Tribal Health Authority has vaccines for adult tribal members, PTHA patients, and their adult household members.
  • The Tacoma-Pierce County Health Dept notes that even as demand for vaccines is very high, and supplies remain limited, the department’s drive-thru vaccine events that have been offered so far are just the beginning, and they will continue to offer regular vaccine clinics in the coming weeks and months.
    • The department plan to introduce phone registration soon, as well as access to vaccines for those with limited mobility and transportation across the county.
    • Pierce County residents are urged to follow the department’s social media posts and keep an eye on their website for more opportunities.
    • Individuals can also sign up for email notifications in advance of future COVID-19 community vaccine events by going to tpchd.org/notify.


  • The Tacoma-Pierce County Health Dept reported 131 new COVID 19 cases today.
  • The 2-week covid-19 case rate per 100,000 people in Pierce County was 337.
  • Starting this weekend, the Tacoma Pierce County Health Dept will discontinue reporting COVID cases and deaths over the weekend and on holidays. That will mean Monday’s total case rates might appear high, since it will include multiple days’ worth of data.
  • The Renton-based African Americans Reach & Teach Health Ministry is hosting Covid 19 Peer Educator Training for adults who want to support grassroots efforts in Black & Brown communities around COVID-19 prevention.
    • An online training will take place this Saturday, February 6, from 9:00 AM to 12:30 PM
    • Participants will learn the basic structure and reproductive processes of viruses in general and SARS CoV-2 in particular; Understand the treatment targets of anti-retroviral therapy used to treat COVID-19 disease; and be able to explain how vaccines work to slow the spread of disease
    • For more info, call 206.850.2070 or email marydh@aarth.org.
  • Pierce County Parks and Metro Parks Tacoma are collaborating to enhance Specialized Recreation programs in Pierce County for individuals with varying developmental and intellectual disabilities.
  • Starting tomorrow, the Puyallup House of Respect will reopen to visitors, with some restrictions that will help prevent the spread of COVID-19.
    • Visitors who want to visit in a Resident’s room will need to present a COVID-19 vaccination card that shows their second dose was administered before Jan. 27.
    • Visitors who are not vaccinated may visit Elders in the library.
    • Visitors will be required to wear an N95 mask the entire visit and the Elder is encouraged to wear a mask as well.
    • 95% of the residents and the majority of staff have been vaccinated.


  • There are numerous free COVID-19 testing sites in our region, including at Multicare, Franciscan, and Kaiser facilities; at Community Healthcare and SeaMar Community Health Centers; at Cheney Stadium, at the Lakewood State Emissions Testing Center, and more.
    • You can go to coronavirus.wa.gov and follow links for “Find Covid Testing Near Me” for specific locations.
    • In addition to permanent regular testing locations, The Tacoma-Pierce County Health Dept’s mobile testing events this weekend and next week are as follows:
      • Sat Feb 6: UW Tacoma, Journey Church
      • Sun Feb 7: Center at Norpoint, Dacca Park
      • Mon Feb 8: Ft. Steilacoom Park, Prairie Ridge Community Center
      • Wednesday, Feb10: 6th Ave Apartments
      • Thursday, Feb 11: West Pierce Fire & Rescue in University Place, Eatonville High School
      • Friday, Feb 12: Eatonville High School, Pierce County Library at 3005 112th St. E.
    • No ID is required, tests are free and open to anyone, and most testing runs 10am-3pm, except the Lakewood station goes till 5:30), but check TPCHD.org for specifics
    • Results are available in 3-7 days
  • Three Walgreens pharmacies also now offer free drive-up rapid antigen testing for people Ages 3 and up:
    • In Tacoma at 3737 Pacific Ave
    • In Lakewood at 8224 STEILACOOM BLVD SW
    • In Kent at 27112 132ND AVE SE
    • Patients using this testing method must pre-register online at Walgreens.com/COVID19Testing.