Pierce County Exec: Rollback to Phase 2 will cost jobs at a crucial time

Apr 14, 2021, 1:25 PM | Updated: Apr 15, 2021, 8:37 am

Phase 2, pierce county...

A drive-thru vaccination clinic in Pierce County. (Tacoma-Pierce County Public Health, Facebook)

(Tacoma-Pierce County Public Health, Facebook)

Governor Inslee announced that three counties in Washington state, including Pierce County, will have to roll back to Phase 2 at the end of this week. Was that decision made fairly, and what impact is it going to have? Pierce County Executive Bruce Dammeier joined the Gee and Ursula Show with his reaction.

“I think I am frustrated, I think the people of Pierce County are frustrated. Certainly, we all want to get beyond COVID. There’s no question about that. … I think the reason there’s frustration is that the vast majority of our residents who are over 65 — those that are most vulnerable to a really bad outcome — they’re vaccinated,” he said.

“We’ve got a situation where our hospitals are telling me — including as much as yesterday morning — that they’ve got ample capacity to care for anybody who gets sick, that they’re at about half the COVID cases that they had in December,” he added.

Gee & Ursula: What can the state do instead of a rollback to Phase 2?

Dammeier says part of the frustration as well is that Pierce is behind in vaccine distribution, and he worries the rollback will harm local businesses.

“And as we look at the vaccine distribution throughout the state of Washington, we have been highlighting the fact that we think Pierce County has been falling behind for over two months and we’re still falling behind, and further behind. By my estimation, we’re 55,000 vaccines behind the state average for a county by population,” he said.

“So I think the people of Pierce County have reason to be frustrated with being rolled back to the point where it’s going to harm some of our business,” Dammeier said. “It’s going to cost people their jobs when those things are really important right now.”

Would you be OK with an Amazon fulfillment center in your neighborhood?

As Ursula asked, the state came up with criteria to move into different phases, and Pierce County fell out of it. Does he think they should just get rid of those metrics altogether?

“Well, I think there needs to be some idea of just if we’re getting a significant outbreak. If the numbers in Pierce County were skyrocketing, like they were going up pretty quickly back in December — that was a legitimate concern,” he responded. “But we’re in a vastly different position than we were back in December. Our cases are climbing, they’re climbing modestly.”

“I think we should be dealing with that by continuing to mask, continuing to socially distance, follow all the precautions,” he said. “But we need to really up our vaccination game to get back where the state average is. We’ve been getting shorted and we’ve got to address that. … The frustration is by the previous hospitalization metrics, we pass with flying colors. By this changed one, we don’t pass, and nobody can really explain to me why we don’t, what’s causing it. So it’s hard to have an action there for us to take.”

Listen to the Gee and Ursula Show weekday mornings from 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. on KIRO Radio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.

Gee and Ursula Show

Gee and Ursula


Frank Sumrall

KIRO exclusive: Owner of recovered zebra describes escape, getting kangaroos

Shug was one of four zebras being taken back to their home at a farm in Anaconda, Montana, operated by owner Kristine Keltgen.

17 days ago

Photo: Seattle Mayor Harrell has decided to conduct an outside investigation of SPD....

Ursula Reutin

Ursula: The outside investigation of SPD can’t come soon enough

An outside investigation of SPD is desperately needed to address what many within the department have described as a "good ol' boys" culture.

23 days ago


MyNorthwest Video

Video: Why you shouldn’t hit on the barista: Gee Scott on avoiding awkward situations

Gee Scott has some sound advice for those young men or women who attempt to hit on the barista. Listen to The Gee & Ursula Show weekdays from 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. on KIRO Newsradio 97.3 FM or on-demand wherever you listen to podcasts. More info on The Gee & Ursula Show here:

23 days ago

Image: A man got beaten and robbed in broad daylight in Seattle at Cal Anderson Park on Sunday, Apr...

Bill Kaczaraba

Video of man getting knocked out, robbed in Seattle goes viral; Gee and Ursula respond

A disturbing video has gone viral of a man getting knocked out and robbed by a small group of people on Capitol Hill Sunday.

1 month ago

Image: A tow truck removes one of the cars blocking the expressway leading to Seattle-Tacoma Intern...

Bill Kaczaraba

Gee and Ursula: Did pro-Palestinian protesters lose supporters by blocking traffic?

46 pro-Palestinian demonstrators were arrested after blocking the expressway leading to Sea–Tac. Gee Scott says that's when they lost him.

1 month ago

Photo: People watch the sunrise, Tuesday, Nov. 23, 2021, in Miami Beach, Fla....

Heather Bosch and Julia Dallas

Is living in the moment causing debt? Tips to curb ‘funflation’

Just as Americans are getting into spring break and ready to revel in summer activities comes a warning about going into debt.

1 month ago

Pierce County Exec: Rollback to Phase 2 will cost jobs at a crucial time