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Introducing a new dashboard to track Safe Start progress in Pierce County

You can track metrics the state will use to determine our moves through the phases.

Growing vegetables in my backyard takes a combination of sun, water, and weeding. If my garden gets only one of those three things, it won’t grow. Too much sun, and I need to increase the water. Too much rain, and I need to use slug repellent to keep those pests from eating everything. A beautiful and healthy garden needs the right balance of several things.

Protecting Pierce County from COVID-19 is similar. We have many measurable goals, or metrics, to meet to advance in Governor Jay Inslee’s Safe Start Washington initiative. While we keep our eye on the 14-day COVID-19 case rate, we also need to watch other metrics. Together, these metrics give us a picture of what’s going well and where we need to be to stay as healthy as possible during the pandemic.

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The new dashboard.

Today we added a new Safe Start dashboard at The dashboard includes metrics we report to the Washington State Department of Health (DOH) when applying to move through phases of the Safe Start plan. We will update these metrics weekly.

The metrics.

The dashboard includes the 14-day case rate per 100,000 with a 6-day lag, as DOH requires. In addition, we show two important testing metrics—the ratio of tests per COVID-19 case and the percent of all COVID-19 tests that are positive. We want to see a high ratio of tests per case and a low percent positive. And we want the 14-day case rate to stay low even as we increase the number of tests. A delicate balance of many factors will ensure we stay healthy and keep the COVID-19 curve flat.

The Safe Start dashboard also includes hospitalizations for COVID-19, case investigation and contact tracing metrics, and the number of outbreaks, defined as 2 or more cases in a facility where those infected do not share the same household. Next week, we will begin tracking measures of our healthcare system’s readiness for large outbreaks.

Each metric is as important as the next. We need to show all these metrics moving in healthy directions to move to Phase 3.

While we want to support more businesses opening, we are concerned about the larger indoor gatherings allowed under Phase 3.

Do your part.

We know COVID-19 continues to be widespread in Pierce County. We have seen an uptick in cases over the last several days. Without the 6-day lag, our case rate per 100,000 jumps to 31.5—not the trend we want. So far, we are not seeing any specific source. COVID-19 continues to be widespread in our community. We have seen more cases among those 40 and under. Very few attended a demonstration. This tells us people are going out and about and are not taking precautions. COVID-19 is affecting all age groups in Pierce County.   

COVID-19 spreads when people come in contact with other people. Any close contact where droplets could spread, even from an asymptomatic person, can spread COVID-19. That includes any gathering of two or more people: in a work setting, at a social gathering, in a recreation setting, in a business, or at a demonstration. COVID-19 can spread any time people gather.

It’s important to wear a face covering that covers your nose and mouth when you can’t reasonably stay six feet or more away from others. Wearing a face covering helps you protect yourself and those around you.

What can you do?

You can do your part to help Pierce County move to Phase 3 when you:

  • Wear a face covering that covers your nose and mouth whenever you go in public.
  • Stay close to home, interact with a small number of people, and keep gatherings small.
  • Get tested for COVID-19 if you have participated in any large gatherings.

We all have a role in keeping Pierce County healthy.

Read “When will Pierce County be ready for Phase 3?” for other important steps to take as we slowly reopen. Subscribe to our blog or visit for the latest information on COVID-19 in Pierce County.