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Recent News

Visit the Health News and Alerts page

Oct. 4, 2023

Key messages

  • Respiratory illness season is here! Make sure you are doing all you can to protect yourself.
  • Congress avoided a shutdown over the weekend. We are keeping a close eye on the situation.
  • Did you see a lot of people wearing orange shirts recently? We’ll tell you why.
  • Keeping our food safe helps keep all of us safe from foodborne illnesses.  


Protect yourself and your family from respiratory illness!

Fall is here. That means COVID-19, flu, and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) are circulating in our community.

  • Washington State Department of Health updated its COVID-19 dashboard to track levels of RSV and flu now also. We are working to update our dashboard to similarly track all three.
  • Last week, local healthcare organizations joined together to set respiratory-illness thresholds for masking in their facilities. We and other local health jurisdictions support this decision.
  • The good news is, we know what works and how best to protect ourselves.
    • Everyone 6 months and older should get a flu shot and updated COVID-19 vaccine.
    • Everyone 60 and older is eligible for a dose of RSV vaccine.
    • Wash your hands often.
    • Stay home if you are sick and get tested.
    • Consider wearing a mask if you are around those most vulnerable.
  • The more we protect ourselves, the safer everyone in our community is!

Ask your healthcare provider or pharmacy when and where you can get all your doses of vaccine. Learn more about COVID-19flu, and RSV vaccines.

We are keeping an eye on Congress

We were thankful to see Congress avoid a federal government shutdown. We will also continue to watch this situation closely until the Nov. 17 deadline.

  • This can be a difficult and frustrating time for our community and staff. We’ve also been through situations like this before and are dusting off our previous contingency plans to be prepared.
  • We receive 11 percent of our funding from the federal government. If our elected leaders do not come to a long-term solution, we may need to stop some work and potentially temporarily lay off some staff.
  • We are working quickly to:
    • Identify potentially impacted staff.
    • Identify additional flexible funding that we can shift to support affected staff.
    • Develop a timeline for communication if reduced hours or layoffs need to occur.
  • If a federal shutdown happens in November and we need to issue temporary reduced hours or layoffs, we will follow our Collective Bargaining Agreement. We previously bargained rules for a temporary response to a federal or state fiscal emergency.

Questions? Email Cindan Gizzi at

Orange Shirt Day: A time to remember

Last week, we recognized Orange Shirt Day, a day of remembrance for both Canada and the U.S.

  • On this day, we reflect and honor the experiences of Indigenous children who were stolen from their families and forced into residential schools.
  • Some of our own staff shared very personal stories about family members’ experiences at these schools.
  • Many children were murdered. This event symbolizes the broader loss of identity and culture Indigenous children experienced at the hands of the residential school system.

You can learn more about Orange Shirt Day and what you can do every day to show your support for survivors and their families in this Your Reliable Source blog.

Food safety

Hundreds of Pierce County residents get sick from foodborne illnesses every year. Following a few simple steps can help stop foodborne illness, keeping you and your family healthy!

  • September was Food Safety Month. All month long we posted tips on how to avoid foodborne illness on our Facebook page.

Follow us on social media or head to our website for quick and easy tips on how to stay safe.

Read and share our reliable information

Stay informed on many health topics affecting you, your family, and your community. Let’s work together to protect and improve the health of all people and places in Pierce County. Sign up for our email updates and check out these great resources:

Reliable Source Bulletin. You can also see past editions.           

Your Reliable Source blog.