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Protecting our community starts with us.

 The state Department of Health issued a stark warning about COVID-19 on Friday, July 17:

“Washington State is in the early stages of an exponential statewide outbreak that has zero chance of being reversed without changes to our collective behavior and policies to support that change.”

You only have to look at our record daily counts of COVID-19 cases to see the situation is just as dire here in Pierce County.

We anticipate our Governor and Secretary of Health may require greater restrictions and adjust Safe Start guidelines soon. In the meantime, we do not have to wait to share information with you about where we see the greatest risk, and what you can do to reduce them.

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Where is COVID-19?

COVID-19 affects every geographic area of our community, all age groups and all ethnic groups. Traffic and cellphone mobility are up. People are going out and about, getting exposed and exposing others. It might be at work, at a social gathering, during recreation, in a business, or at a demonstration. COVID-19 can spread anytime and anywhere people gather, even if the infected person does not feel sick.

So far, we see these patterns in the recent large case numbers:

  • Cases happen across Pierce County. We see clusters of cases throughout the area, including East Pierce County.
  • More cases are coming in young adults. A quarter are among 20-29 year olds and a half in people younger than 40.
  • The number of businesses experiencing cases is rapidly increasing. Businesses should follow employee health screening, physical distancing, hygiene, and face covering guidance but as cases surge in the community, employees are becoming infected outside of the workplace and by customers.

The increase in cases among younger people highlights the importance of limiting gatherings of any kind to five or fewer people outside your household. Check out some ideas for summer fun on our blog.

The sharp increase of COVID-19 cases in Pierce County means hospitalizations and deaths will follow. 

Gatherings can be dangerous.

We all want to spend time with our friends. But unsafe gatherings endanger all of us. We have seen clusters of dozens of people infected from one house party. Asymptomatic spread and the incubation period of this virus mean you can spread it easily before you know you have it.

In monitoring the data, we also see trends in disease patterns forming:

  • We see an increase of cases or secondary transmissions from Fourth of July and all types in Phase 2 where people are not physical distancing and not wearing face coverings–social, business, civic, political, athletic, religious–any type of gathering. 
  • We have also seen new cases at long-term care facilities.

Workplaces also need to do their part.

People ask us “What businesses have cases of COVID?” We work with about a dozen businesses each week that have had one or more positive cases. And it is the whole range of businesses: restaurants, grocery stores, retail stores, childcare centers, warehouses, and others.

Any workplace where employers and employees fail to follow safety guidelines, wear face coverings, maintain physical distancing and other guidance for their industry has a greater chance of seeing cases.

Protect those around you.

We call on the residents of Pierce County to care for one another. When you maintain physical distance, wear a mask, wash your hands, stay home when you’re sick, you protect yourself as well as your loved ones, friends, and neighbors.

The mask you wear will protect your family and friends. While you might not be at high risk from the virus, someone you know likely is. Wearing your mask will protect our most vulnerable family members and friends. Your choices today could have grave implications for others tomorrow.

Other steps you can take to protect the people you care about are:

  • Stay close to home.
  • Wear a mask when you leave home. No shirt, no shoes, no mask? No service.
  • Limit your interactions to a small circle of friends and family.
    • Keep gatherings small, and outside if possible where fresh air circulates.
    • Continue to practice physical distancing.
  • Stay 6 feet apart from others. Wear a mask when you cannot maintain 6 feet of space.
  • Get tested for COVID-19 if you are experiencing symptoms.
  • Get tested for COVID-19 if you have participated in any large gatherings.
  • Wash your hands, cover your cough, and keep up your best hygiene and sanitation. 

We will continue carefully reviewing the data, and you can follow along on our dashboards. Learn more at