Pierce County hits the pause button as Covid cases rise

A spike in Covid-19 cases both locally and nationwide has health officials saying it's time to hit the pause button on moving to more advanced stages of the state's phased in approach to reopening the economy. 

In Pierce County, the total cases over 14 days have grown from 16 to 44 per 100,000 people in Pierce County. The average number of new cases a day is 28, but just on Tuesday there were 47 reported new cases in Pierce County alone, according to Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department Director Dr. Anthony Chen. 

“People went from zero to 60. They were tired of staying home. They were tired of not being able to eat out and then they forgot that we still have to be in moderation,” said Chen. “When the data shows us we’re stabilizing, or we’re going down, then let’s talk about doing more because right now we’re just not there.”

Health officials were preparing to submit a request for Pierce County to enter a modified Phase Two, but Chen said county health epidemiologists have unanimously advised against the move.

Russel Brunton is the owner of Indochine Asian Dining Lounge in Tacoma and said he expects to stay in Phase Two for some time.

“We’re happy that we’re in Phase Two, so we’re doing everything we can in terms of social distancing, keeping tables far apart, all our staff is wearing masks all the time,” said Brunton. “America has shown its ability to mobilize and ability to flatten the curve, and when the Covid-19 first came on, we were able to get the numbers down and we were able to get out of Phase One and into Phase Two.”

Brunton said the community support the restaurant has received in Tacoma has been tremendous and unexpected. He’s optimistic the community will do their part to protect public health.

Read more from Chen here