Lots of questions

Lots of questions

This week I gathered with hundreds of you at our second Town Hall.  Many thanks to those of you who took the time to submit questions and participate.

There were many questions about the practices and protocols we’re putting in place as we begin to reopen some portions of the County.  You can hear about that and more in the replay below.

Given the timing of the Town Hall, one thing I couldn’t address at that point is that we plan to apply with the state Department of Health for a variance to Phase 2.5.  The Board of Health is scheduled to meet on July 1, our Council will take a vote, and I plan to submit the official application as soon as possible after that.

Our approach in Phase 2.5 will focus on expanding activities that take place outdoors – taking advantage of our summer weather and the lower risk of transmission in outdoor settings.  If approved, this will include more outdoor recreation and gatherings.  We also are proposing expanding very low interaction summer activities like libraries and museums.  Of course all of these must follow the appropriate precautions to limit the risk of COVID.  However, general government services – including much of what we do – will not open until Phase 3.

Why not go directly to Phase 3?  Well, for starters, the Health Department announced 45 new COVID-19 cases on Wednesday this week, along with another 35 yesterday.  Those are big numbers for the County, lately.  We had been keeping the number of new cases pretty low for a while but the last few days have seen quite a jump, unfortunately.

You can see the data here:  https://www.tpchd.org/healthy-people/diseases/covid-19-pierce-county-cases/

There are a couple of the good data points, however.  Hospitalizations remain very low and testing has ramped up significantly.

As part of our CARES Act funds we have allocated money to make testing even more accessible and convenient.

Take a look at the video below to learn more:

We also have a strong team of folks, lead by our TPCHD, following up on any positive cases and with those who have been potentially exposed, including daily check-in phone calls.  Many of our County colleagues are going through the training to augment this effort, if needed.

I’m as eager as anyone to get to Phase 3, and beyond. But we must be diligent and committed to doing those things that will get us there as soon as possible, in a safe and responsible way. That includes wearing masks – for your sake and for the benefit of your neighbors, friends, co-workers and family members.