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Questions about COVID-19? Visit our COVID-19 pages.

We suspended most in-person services. Read our blog post.

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We're still here for you during this challenging time.

Jessica Gehle
by Jessica Gehle04/03/2020 6:54 p.m.
Updated: 04/03/2020

Next week is National Public Health Week. Perhaps now more than ever, public health is under the spotlight in our nation, state and community as we focus on controlling the spread of COVID-19.

But public health is at work today and every day to keep our communities healthy. Usually, this quiet work happens in the background of life, and you don’t hear much about us. Last month, we suspended most in-person services in response to Gov. Inslee’s Stay Home, Stay Healthy orders.

Many businesses are now closed. But we still have work to do!

We continue necessary food, water and septic system inspections to keep our community safe and healthy. Public health is essential, so you’ll continue to see us in the community.

If you see us, please keep at least 6 feet distance—we’re practicing social distance. We’ll do the same for you.

Food inspections

Food safety inspector checking the temperature of food in a restaurant refrigerator

If a new restaurant is ready to open and begin take-out and delivery services, you may see us doing pre-opening inspections to make sure they can get their business moving.

In fact, we’re calling every single restaurant to see if they're operating. If they're offering take-out or delivery, we make sure their approach meets food safety guidelines. We’re also working with school districts to help them meet student meal needs while some ready-to-eat foods may be in short supply. For example, if a school district wants to provide hot meals, we work with them to ensure their process is safe.

As always, we respond to food service complaints and food illness investigations.

By phone, we offer consultations with restaurants and other food establishments. We can answer your questions about safe food operation and temporary events.

We’re also providing some relief to our food businesses. We're not assessing any new late fees on permits or inspections. If a business needs more time to pay a balance, we’re happy to work with them.

On-site, water quality and solid waste inspections

We’re still reviewing septic system repair applications and repair installation permits. We'll review applications to replace a well that is out of water or to decommission a well posing an immediate threat to public health. We continue to process report of system status requests to ensure real estate property transfers continue.

We continue to monitor shorelines and sample for toxic algae and wells as needed.

We're still inspecting solid waste handling facilities. We also respond to complaints and return Household Hazardous Waste Hotline calls.

Questions about our services?

We answer calls according to priority, Monday-Friday, 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m.

  • Environmental Health—(253) 798-6470.
  • Vital Records—(253) 798-6418.
  • Food and Community Safety—(253) 798-6460.
  • Food Establishment Plan Review—(253) 798-4711.

Questions about COVID-19?

  • Health-related—(800) 525-0127 and press #. Washington State Department of Health's call center is open 7 days a week, 6 a.m.-10 p.m.
  • Not health-related (e.g., business support or planning)—(855) 722-5378.

Stay up to date.

We will update you on the outbreak and our services regularly on our website, through our blog and on social media.

Jessica Gehle

by Jessica Gehle

Jessica leads our work to ensure healthy environments where you live, learn, work and play.

 

We invite your comments but will delete those with profanity, personal attacks, derogatory statements, ads or promotional material. Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department does not provide personal medical advice; please contact your health care provider.