3/18: Thursday Briefing

By rebecca No comments


  • The governor announced just before airtime a flurry of updates regarding policies related to COVID-19 safety and economic recovery.
    • The statewide eviction moratorium has been extended through June 30th
    • The utilities shut-off moratorium is extended through July 31
    • The Governor has updated rules that prohibit federal stimulus payments from garnishment for consumer debt, to protect “federal payments of any kind issued in response to the COVID-19 pandemic”.
  • March 31st eligibility opens up to anyone over 16 who has 2 or more comobidities; anyone age 60 and up; and residents of incarceration facilities, group homes, and homeless shelters, along with workers at those places. Restaurant and construction workers will also be eligible for vaccine starting March 31st.
  • Residents of longterm care facilities will now be able to have indoor visits if either a resident or their guests are vaccinated against coronavirus, though outdoor visits are still preferred.
    • Masking and symptom screening for visitors, residents, and workers are all still required.
  • The WA State insurance commissioner is assuring consumers that getting vaccinated against coronavirus will not affect people’s ability to qualify for life insurance, nor will it adversely affect premiums or benefits.
    • The statement comes in light of misinformation circulating nationally to the contrary.
    • A person’s vaccine status is not part of policy language nor is it a consideration when applying for a new policy.
    • Anyone with questions can call the state’s insurance consumer advocate line at 1-800-562-6900.


  • We are now in Phase 1b, Tier 2 of vaccine eligibility!
  • Newly eligible people include pregnant people, as well as individuals with disabilities that put them at high risk for severe COVID-19 illness.
  • High-risk worker groups across several areas including grocery, agriculture, firefighting, and more.
  • People who are unsure if their disability puts them at greater risk are advised with their health care provider.
  • Anyone who supports the daily, functional and health needs of someone who is at high risk of COVID-19 illness due to advanced age, long term physical condition, co-morbidities, or developmental or intellectual disability is considered a health care worker and is therefore eligible as well. They can be licensed, unlicensed, paid, unpaid, formal or informal. The person for whom they are providing care can be an adult or child.
  • Veterans of any age can also now get vaccinated through the VA by calling 206-716-5716.
  • It is expected that tomorrow, March 17th, vaccine eligibility will open to pregnant people, individuals with disabilities that put them at high risk for COVID, 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.
  • 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 95 new COVID cases today and 3 new COVID-related death.
  • The 14-day case rate per 100,000 is 133.
  • Even though the current Moratorium on residential rental evictions has been extended to June 30th,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.


  • 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:
    • 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 OR a communicty vaccination site, call 253-649-1412 or email TSmith@TPCHD.org.
  • Some pharmacies also offer take-home self-testing kits or drive thru rapid antigen testing.