3/15: Monday Briefing

By rebecca No comments


  • 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.
    • High-risk 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 17, 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. This March 17th is an estimate by public health officials–it was originally Mar 22.
    • By mid-April, 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 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.


    • Case counts have increased slightly in western Washington and plateaued in eastern Washington as of late February.
    • Case counts are still relatively high across the state—around the same level we were seeing last October when the third wave of disease activity was ramping up.
    • Cases are increasing among younger adults in the 20-40 age bracket, which has previously been an early warning sign of larger surges in the general population.
    • Case counts in other age groups were declining, but have now flattened.
    • There are sharp declines in hospital admission rates among people 70 and older, possibly because those groups are among the first to get vaccinated.
    • COVID-19 transmission is continuing at about the same level after declines through January and February. The best estimate of the reproductive number (how many new people each COVID-19 patient will infect) in the state on Feb. 19 was 0.96. The goal is to maintain a reproductive number well below one—meaning COVID-19 transmission is declining—for a substantial amount of time.


  • The Tacoma Pierce County Health Dept reported only 67 new COVID cases today but 10 new COVID-related deaths–half of whom were in their 50s or 60s.
  • The 14-day case rate per 100,000 remained at 145.
  • The current Moratorium on residental rental evictions is set to expire on March 31st.
    • Anyone having trouble paying rent or utilities can apply for financial assistance by going to https://piercecountywa.gov/housinghelp or by calling 211 and asking to be referred to rental assistance.
    • Eligibility is open to those renting apartments or homes, renters staying in hotels or motels, people renting an RV space, those renting from a family member or friend or renting a room in a shared house, as well as those using a section 8 voucher.


  • Tacoma Public Library’s Fern Hill branch, located at 765 S 84th St., and Swasey branch, located at 7001 6th Ave., will open for four 45-minute sessions Tuesday through Saturday.
    • Patrons can browse the collection, pick up their holds, and access computers and printing
    • Patrons can make appointments for their session at least 24 hours in advance by calling 253-280-2910 for Fern Hill or 253-280-2970 for Swasey, or you can go online to tacomalibrary.org
    • Walk-up entry to the libraries will be available on a first-come, first-served basis.
  • Today 4th graders and 12th graders in Tacoma schools started in-person learning
    • By the end of the month, all grades will be learning in person at least two days a week
    • A reminder that school tracks and athletic fields are now closed to the public during school hours, and no spectators are allowed to congregate during athletic competitions.


  • 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. Testing events this week are:
    • Tues, Mar 16: Pierce College Fort Steilacoom campus in Lakewood and at the Puyallup Campus
    • Thur, Mar 18: Vassault Park
    • Fri Mar 19: Center at Norpoint and at Madrona Park in the Oakland neighborhood
    • 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 pharmacies also offer take-home self-testing kits or drive thru rapid antigen testing.