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Do your part: Don’t let the ripple become a wave.

We’ve all been celebrating lately. After a year focused on the COVID-19 pandemic, hope is in the air. More people are getting vaccinated. Case rates have been dropping. And as the state slowly reopens, more people are visiting local businesses, attending schools, dining out in restaurants, attending a house of worship and working out at their gym.

This is all thanks to you. Getting to this point has taken dedication on your part. You’ve worn your mask, practiced safe distancing, kept gatherings safe, and done what you can to keep yourself, your family and your community safe.

We’re so close to life returning to normal. And we’re adapting to a new normal along the way. It’s more important than ever for us to keep up those practices.

That’s why a recent trend has us a little concerned. After months of decline, our case rate per 100,000 is creeping up. Since March 15, we’ve seen slight increases to the case rate most days. In less than two weeks, the rate increased 24%.

With the 6-day data lag we include in our daily case counts, we see a 12% increase in just 5 days. The 24% increase we saw in the daily case rate included in our dashboards foreshadows what we will see over the next few days. We wanted to call your attention to the trend as soon as possible. The sooner everyone knows, the sooner they can respond.

Our case rate is still low compared to the peak we saw in January. That’s good. Right now, it’s a ripple.

You’ve heard warnings in national media stories about a fourth wave. No one wants that. And we don’t want to turn this ripple into a wave. We need your help to knock out this ripple and make sure it’s only a small upward blip in a continued downward trend. We know you do too.

We all need to take steps to knock out the ripple.

Stay hopeful.

Next week, the state will open vaccination eligibility to many more people. And by May 1, everyone over the age of 16 will be eligible. This is a great source of hope.

The vaccine means grandparents are hugging their grandchildren again. Vaccinated people who haven’t been together in a year are having dinner together inside. Without distancing. Without masks.

So far, 20 percent of Pierce County residents have received at least one dose of the vaccine. Almost 60% of those 65 and older have received a dose. Every day we get closer to community immunity that will allow us all to return to normal.

We’re getting there.

Stay vigilant.

With so much good news, it would be easy to let our guards down. And after months of stay at home orders and safety precautions, everyone wants to  get back to normal as soon as possible. We do too!

It’s more important than ever that we keep our eyes on the final goal. The next wave any of us wants to see is on a sunny beach. Let’s all hang in there, so we can enjoy the beach—and more—without masks, with plenty of hugs, and all the people we want to be with.

Stay safe. 

Get vaccinated when you’re eligible, and if you’re not, you will be soon. Continue taking the steps to keep you, your family and your neighbors safe.

A ripple is nothing to fear. A wave can be dangerous. Together we can keep this to a ripple.