2/19: Friday Briefing

By rebecca No comments


  • The Washington State Dept of Health has issued an update on progress related COVID-19 distribution
    • About 1.2 million doses have been administered in our state, and is averaging more than 26,000 vaccinations per day
    • Walmart, Rite Aid, Fred Meyer and QFCpharmacies will be joining Safeway/Albertsons, Costco, and Health Mart Independent Pharmacies through the Federal Retail Pharmacy Program to be involved in vaccine delivery.
  • The Department of Health estimates more than 90% of this week’s vaccine allocation to our state was delayed due to severe winter weather elsewhere in the country where vaccines are shipped from.
    • These shipment delays are forcing some providers to reschedule appointments
    • The state-led mass vaccinations sites in Kennewick and Spokane will be closed through the weekend.
    • Those with appointments will be contacted by email to reschedule their appointments for next week.
    • The Ridgefield mass vaccination site will also be closed Saturday.
  • The most recent snowstorm greatly impacted the local blood supply, and Bloodworks Northwest is in urgent need of donors to make and keep appointments for blood and platelet donation.
    • Donors must wait 2 weeks after a COVID-19 vaccination dose before giving blood.
    • Bloodworks NW is testing all blood donations for COVID-19 antibodies through at least the end of the month, so you get to find out if you’ve produced antibodies for the virus.
    • Individuals can register to give blood at schedule.bloodworksNW.org or call 800-398-7888.
  • 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 21st. The previous order was set to expire March 7th.
    • 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.
    • In addition, if an insurer does not have enough medical providers in its network to provide testing or treatment for COVID-19, it must allow enrollees to be treated by another provider within a reasonable distance at no additional cost.
    • All of this may sound familiar if you regularly listen to the Daily Briefing–When the governor issues an emergency proclamation, the insurance commissioner can issue an emergency order related to health care coverage to ensure access to care during a state of emergency that has been declared by the governor, but the commissioner’s orders are time-limited and must be renewed regularly.


  • Washingtonians can find out if they are eligible for COVID-19 vaccines online at FindYourPhaseWA.org.
  • No further tiers or phases have opened up yet, but healthcare workers, first responders, elders 65 years and up, longterm care residents, and those over 50 who live in multigenerational households are all currently eligible.
  • For general info on the vaccine, go to COVIDvaccineWA.org
  • Eligible King County residents can seek appointment online at kingcounty.gov/vaccine or call 206-263-9600
  • Pierce County residents can sign up for email notifications in advance of future COVID-19 community vaccine events by going to tpchd.org/notify.
  • Anyone wishing to volunteer in vaccination events can learn more at PierceCountyMRC.org
  • Individuals can also go to coronavirus.wa.gov to search for providers, clinics, and pharmacies that may be offering vaccine appointments.


  • The Tacoma Pierce County Health Dept reported 113 new COVID cases and 2 new deaths today.
  • The county’s 14-day case rate per 100,000 is 218.


  • Starting on Monday, Feb. 22, first-grade students in Tacoma Public Schools will be expected to attend in-person learning four days a week.
    • On March 1, schools plan to welcome students in second grade to in-person learning four days a week.
    • The change to four days a week for these grade levels is based on the anticipation that Pierce County’s COVID-19 case rate per 100,000 will continue to stay below 350.
    • More info available at TacomaSchools.org


  • 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 offers free mobile testing events. The remaining ones this week include:
    • Sat, Feb 20: the health dept will be at Anchor Church on Orchard St. and also at Charles Wright Academy
    • Sunday, Feb 21st: you can get free covid tests in Tacoma at the MDC Child Care Food Program on 945 Fawcett Ave.; in Eatonville at Salvation Army Camp Arnold; or in Bonney Lake at Bonney Lake High School
    • Monday, Feb 22: Sprinker Recreation Center
    • Thursday, Feb 25: Asia Pacific Cultural Center at 4851 South Tacoma Way, and Tacoma Nazarene Church at 3640 S M St
    • Friday, Feb 26: Rainier View Christian Church in Graham
    • Testing runs 10am-3pm.
    • If you need later hours, the Lakewood State Emissions Inspection Station is open till 5:30pm
  • Some Walgreens pharmacies also now offer free drive-up rapid antigen testing for people Ages 3 and up, including the Walgreens at 38th & Pacific in Tacoma