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Media Contacts

For members of the news media

Edie Jeffers, Communications and Community Relations Manager
Phone: (253) 798-2853
Cell: (253) 405-6822
Fax:  (253) 798-7627
 
Steve Metcalf, Communications Specialist
Phone: (253) 798-6540
Cell: (253) 345-8238
Fax: (253) 798-7627

Second COVID-19 related death of Pierce County resident.

Post Date:03/25/2020 1:15 p.m.

PIERCE COUNTY, Wash.— We confirmed Wednesday that a Spanaway man in his 70s died of complications from COVID-19. He is the second Pierce County resident to die during the outbreak.  

The man had underlying health conditions. He was cared for at MultiCare Good Samaritan Hospital in Puyallup.  

“Our thoughts are with this man’s family and everyone else who cared about him,” said Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department Director of Health Anthony L-T Chen, MD, MPH. “COVID-19 poses a grave risk in Pierce County. We must all do our part and follow Gov. Inslee’s orders to limit the spread and end this threat as soon as possible. Stay home and stay healthy.”  

This loss is another reminder COVID-19 can be particularly dangerous for people in high-risk groups. That includes people who have underlying conditions, are over 60 or are pregnant.  

Social distancing protects people in those high-risk groups. Even if you are not considered high-risk, you can become infected with COVID-19 and spread it to those who are. People who don’t have symptoms can be contagious.  

Am I at risk?

The current risk of COVID-19 in Washington continues to increase. Public health is identifying more positive cases of the disease in the state. These increasing cases suggest the disease is spreading in Washington. As we continue to test more people, we expect to find more positive cases. Know the symptoms:  

  • Cough.
  • Fever.
  • Shortness of breath. 

If you think you were at risk of exposure to COVID-19, call ahead before you go to your healthcare provider, urgent care, or the emergency department.  

What can I do to protect myself from COVID-19?  

Currently, no vaccine exists for COVID-19. You can take steps to protect yourself and people around you from this and other diseases:  

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.  
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.  
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.  
  • Avoid close contact with others.  
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash and wash your hands.  
  • Clean and disinfect objects and surfaces.  

What are coronaviruses?  

Coronaviruses aren’t new. They form a large family of viral illnesses that includes the common cold. Experts have not previously identified the coronavirus in the current outbreak. We continue to learn more about it.  

How do coronaviruses spread?  

The most common ways human coronaviruses spread:  

  • Coughing and sneezing.  
  • Contact with a sick person—within six feet—for 10 minutes or more.  
  • Contact with an object or surface with the virus on it, then touching your mouth, nose, or eyes before washing your hands.  

Diseases can affect anyone.  

The Health Department is your source for reliable local public health information. Make sure you seek out and share accurate information related to the COVID-19 outbreak. Diseases don’t discriminate or stop at city, county, or international borders. COVID-19 may have originated abroad, but not everyone from parts of the world with increased risk has the disease or was potentially exposed to it. Remember to:  

Rely on and share trusted sources of information about the outbreak.  

Avoid comments that unfairly label, harass, or spread misinformation.  

Find updated information about the novel coronavirus and our sharable infographic at tpchd.org/coronavirus.  

Steve Metcalf, Communications Specialist 
(253) 798-6540, (253) 345-8238, (cell/text), smetcalf@tpchd.org 

About Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department: Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department’s mission is to protect and improve the health of all people and places in Pierce County. As part of our mission, the Health Department tackles known and emerging health risks through policy, programs and treatment to protect public health. We are one of roughly 244 accredited health departments in the country and among six in the state to have met or exceeded the Public Health Accreditation Board’s quality standards. Learn more at www.tpchd.org.  

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