3/4: Thursday Briefing

By rebecca No comments


  • The Dept of Health has issued warning and guidelines for how to safely resume water service in buildings that were closed or underused during the pandemic, in order to minimize the risk of certain waterborne bacteria and infections due to stagnant water.
    • Building owners and maintenance staff should have two to three weeks lead time to start up the water plumbing system and make sure there is time for testing and possible disinfection if needed.
    • Once all start up efforts are complete, water should be tested for Legionella
    • Links can be found at coronavirus.wa.gov in the “news” section, and full documentation can be searched for online at doh.wa.gov
  • From the state Dept of Licensing:
    • Most commercial driver licenses (CDLs) and commercial learner permits (CLPs) with expiration dates on or after March 1, 2020 are now extended through May 31, 2021, unless renewed already.
    • Late fees will not be assessed during the extension period,
    • License and permit holders will not receive a new license with a new expiration date.
    • DOL also has temporary rules in place making almost everyone eligible for online renewals
    • Another temporary rule change allows some commercial drivers to continue operating with an expired medical certificate.
    • For those with medical certificates that expired on or after Dec. 1, 2020, DOL will not downgrade your CDL through May 31, 2021.
    • DOL also extended the deadline for intrastate CDL drivers to submit medical certificates through May 31
    • More info available online at dol.wa.gov or by emailing CDLProgram@dol.wa.gov.


  • Lots of changes have come quick this week regarding vaccines in our state:
  • About 8% of Washingtonians have been fully vaccinated against the virus, and 14% have received at least one dose.
  • The FDA has given emergency use authorization to the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine, and the Western States Working Group has authorized it so it will be available in Washington.
    • The Tacoma Pierce County Health Department anticipates receiving doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine as soon as next week.
  • Those currently eligible to receive COVID shots now include k-12 education staff and childcare workers, per a recent directive by the president and governor.
  • Veterans of any age can also now get vaccinated through the VA by calling 206-716-5716.
  • Educators and vets join healthcare workers, first responders, elders 65 years and up, longterm care residents, and those over 50 who live in multigenerational households who are all eligible.
  • The governor announced today that he expects that by March 22, vaccine eligibility will open up to pregnant people and those with disabilities that put them at high risk, as well as people who work in certain settings such as agriculture, food processing, grocery stores, public transit, firefighters, law enforcement, and workers in prisons and jails.
    • That tier of eligibility will not include restaurant workers.
    • By April 12, the governor’s office expects to open vaccine eligibility to people age 16 and older with two or more medical conditions that put them at higher risk for severe COVID illness complications, as well as anyone over 50 who had not been previously eligible.
    • People living in correctional facilities and certain group home settings are slated to become eligible by April 26th.
  • The website COVIDwa.com has been a valuable resource for eligible individuals struggling to access vaccine appointments.
  • Pierce County businesses or organizations with capacity to run or facilitate a community vaccination clinic can contact Gabe Moa-ali-i with the Tacoma Pierce County Health Department by calling 253-649-1412.
  • Individuals can also go to coronavirus.wa.gov to search for providers, clinics, and pharmacies that may be offering vaccine appointments elsewhere in the state.


  • The Tacoma Pierce County Health Dept reported 114 new COVID cases today and 3 COVID-related deaths
  • The 14-day case rate per 100,000 was 183
  • Individuals who received a first-dose vaccine at one of the health department’s community vaccine events should have received an email with info for their second dose.
    • Those who can’t locate an email should call (253) 649-1412.



  • 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:
    • Fri, Mar 5: Narrows Plaza Bowl in University Place and Centro Latino in Hilltop
    • Sat Mar 6: Eatonville HS and UW Tacoma
    • Testing runs 10am-3pm.
    • If you need later hours, the Lakewood State Emissions Inspection Station is open till 5:30pm
    • If your business or organization has the capacity to serve as a mobile testing site, get in touch with Tony Smith of the Tacoma Pierce County Health Department by emailing TSmith@TPCHD.org.
  • 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