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Our plan if COVID-19 comes here

The cases of the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, continue to grow internationally. Our residents have a low chance of getting the virus. Pierce County currently has no cases of COVID-19.

We are monitoring a small number of people who recently returned from mainland China; no one has symptoms. But we know it’s possible the disease could come here and spread here. 

Public health follows a playbook to plan for, respond to and control public health risks. We practice from this playbook often, for everything from measles outbreaks and environmental threats to emerging disease threats like COVID-19.

Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department is enhancing our plans to help limit the spread of disease if we do see any cases in our county, following new guidance from the State Department of Health and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

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The fast spread of this disease outside of the U.S. is concerning, and we understand hearing about this in national and international news stories can be alarming. We want people to focus on what they can do now—and what they should plan to do in case we see the spread of disease locally. 

We are working with our state and county partners, agencies that serve the public, and employers so organizations will know what to do if the need arises to:

  • Cancel events.
  • Keep people home from school or work.
  • Modify transportation and travel.

What can I do to protect myself and my family?

This virus spreads by breathing in small particles caused by coughing or sneezing, like the flu (influenza), so it’s important to wash your hands and stay away from people who are sick. But, unlike the flu, this virus is new and we don’t have a vaccine yet. This means our bodies have less existing immunity to protect us and it is more important than ever to stay home when you are sick and limit contact with other sick individuals. 

What can I do now?

  • To prevent the spread of any disease, wash your hands, cover your cough, stay hydrated and stay home when you are sick.
  • Wear surgical type masks to keep germs to yourself when in public and sick.
  • You and your family should have emergency plans in place if schools close, or you are unable to attend work.
  • Talk to your employer about alternative work arrangements. 

Your current risk remains low. You can take steps to help keep it that way. 

Learn more and find answers to frequently asked questions at

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