3/11: National 311 Day!

By rebecca No comments

Becky brings us a little history behind 3-1-1 service on this 3/11, plus a run-down of the just-announced big changes to coming to state restrictions and reopening plans!


  • More than 10% of Washingtonians are fully vaccinated; almost a third of Washingtonians 65 and older are fully vaccinated
  • More than 18% of the state’s population has received at least one vaccine dose
  • Those eligible to schedule vaccine appointments include:
    • Pre-K through grade 12 teachers and staff who work in a K-12 school setting, including teachers, bus drivers, counselors, food service, administrative, and safety staff.
    • First responders, elders 65 years and up, longterm care residents, and those over 50 who live in multigenerational households who are all eligible.
  • Veterans of any age can also now get vaccinated through the VA by calling 206-716-5716.
  • By March 22, vaccine eligibility is expected to open up to pregnant people and those with disabilities that put them at high risk, as well as people who work in certain settings where they interact with many people such as agriculture, food processing, grocery stores, public transit, firefighting, law enforcement, and incarceration facilities.
    • 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.
    • All other adults can expect to have vaccine access by the start of summer.
  • The website COVIDwa.com is not state-run but 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.


    • Individuals who are fully vaccinated can now gather indoors with fully vaccinated people in private residences without wearing a mask, two weeks after your final dose
    • Vaccinated individuals can also and gather indoors with unvaccinated people from one other household in private residences (for example, visiting with relatives who all live together) without masks, unless any of those people or anyone they live with has an increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19.
    • All individuals, regardless of Vaccine status, should continue to wear masks when they’re in public, avoid crowd,s and take other precautions when gathering with unvaccinated people who are at high risk of serious illness from COVID-19.
    • If a vaccinated person has been around someone with COVID-19, they do not need to stay away from others or get tested unless they have symptoms.
    • However, if a vaccinated person lives in a group setting (like a correctional or detention facility or group home) and is around someone who has COVID-19, they should still stay away from others for 14 days and get tested, even if without symptoms.
    • Restaurants, gyms, bowling alleys and other businesses will be able to operate at 50 percent capacity
    • A maximum of 400 people will be allowed to gather indoors or outdoors, with masks and physical distancing
    • Outdoor sports and cultural venues will be permitted to host spectators at 25% capacity.
    • Indoor youth athletic competitions will also be allowed
    • State Park Group campgrounds will reopen on March 22, with online Reservations opening up at noon March 18–they are expected to fill up quick.
    • The regional approach, which combined counties for the purposes of implementing COVID safety plans, will be abandoned and restrictions or reopenings will again be at the county level.
    • New metrics for determining phases will also go into effect: To remain in Phase 3, COVID rates in populous counties will need to remain below 200 cases per 100,000 people over a 2-week period, and COVID hospitalizations will have to stay below 5 per 100,000 for a 1-week period.
    • In counties with fewer than 50,000 people, metrics are stricter
    • Cases among incarcerated individuals or jail workers will not count against a county
    • The state will evaluate counties every three weeks, with the first re-evaluation on April 12.
    • If the statewide intensive care (ICU) bed capacity ever exceeds 90 percent, all counties statewide would revert back to Phase 1.
    • More info available at Governorwa.gov in the News section.
  • While the number of new cases of COVID-19 have declined or plateaued in the state, cases of more contagious virus variants are increasing
    • The state Dept of Health notes that our current virus rate is still higher than after our 3rd virus wave.
    • A recent increase in Western Washington cases among individuals aged 20-39 might be predictive of another viral wave, as it had been a precursor to previous waves of viral increase in the general population.
    • Despite allowances for larger gatherings, health officials emphasize the urgency of continued masking, hand washing, and distancing until viral rates are down even further


  • The Tacoma Pierce County Health Dept reported 126 new COVID cases today and 3 COVID-related death
  • The 14-day case rate per 100,000 was 154.
  • The health dept is holding a series of community-led vaccination events for individuals who are members of communities disproportionately affected by COFID illness in Pierce County.
    • These include indigenous, Black, People of color; LGBTQ+ folks who meet vaccine eligibility requirements; people from low income household, immigrants & refugees, people from rural communities; those with technology barriers, including the elderly.
    • One upcoming vaccine event for these people will be held on March 12 at PLU.
    • Call 253-649-1412 8am-4:30pm if you need help registering yourself or someone for this vaccine opportunity.
  • 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.
  • Pierce County tenants struggling to pay rent can apply for rental and utility assistance at piercecountywa.gov/housinghelp.
    • Residents without internet access can call 2-1-1 to apply.
  • On March 12th starting at 11 am, The Salvation Army will be holding a drive-thru food box distribution event for anyone in need.
    • Individuals and families in vehicles may go to the Washington State Fair fairgrounds Gold Lot at 110 9th Ave. SW. on Friday to receive food free of charge, with no eligibility requirements.


  • The City of Tacoma has partnered with a private property owner to establish a hygiene station at South 8th St. and Yakima Avenue through April 7th of this year.
    • The pilot program services will include: Portable toilet facilities, Handwashing stations, Dumpsters and supplies for collecting trash, On-site evening security from 6pm-6am daily, and Routine day time monitoring
    • The services are in accordance with COVID-19 recommendations by the CDC to not disperse existing encampments, but to support COVID-mitigation.
    • More info regarding the hygiene station can be obtained by calling (253) 250-1766 or by visiting cityoftacoma.org/hygienestations
    • To get involved in supporting unsheltered community members email shelters@cityoftacoma.org or call (253) 591-5000.


  • 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 includ
    • Fri Mar 12: PLU, TCC
    • Sat. Mar 13:Tacoma Musical Playhouse and the Sixth Avenue Apartments, also in Tacoma
    • Sun, Mar 14: Fort Steilacoom Park, and at the EB Wilson Apartment complex in 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.