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

right on red...
Bill Kaczaraba

Gee & Ursula: Right turns on red may become a thing of the past

Under new legislation proposed in the state Senate, right turns on red at many intersections may become a thing of the past in the state.
4 days ago
african-american studies...
Bill Kaczaraba

Gee & Ursula: FL downsizing Black studies ‘doesn’t erase history’

The College Board has released a stripped-down version of its new Advanced Placement course on Black studies.
5 days ago
Frank Sumrall

KIRO’s Darren Dedo recovering after battle with bilateral pneumonia

Through ECMO and amazing medical care, more than a month later, Dedo was able to join The Gee and Ursula Show remotely from his hospital bed.
6 days ago
Seattle Police...
Bill Kaczaraba

Gee & Ursula: Naming officer in pedestrian death was appropriate

Gee & Ursula believe that releasing the name of the police officer involved in the deadly pedestrian crash in Seattle was appropriate.
6 days ago
Gee Scott and Ursula Reutin Show

Scenarios: I’m not ok with my stepdaughter spending my husband’s money

On the Gee and Ursula Show, hosts Gee Scott and Ursula Reutin give advice to help other people in a segment called … Scenarios.
6 days ago
Bill Kaczaraba

Gee Scott on service charges at restaurants: ‘You’re getting no tip’

Right now, Washington state law dictates that all tips belong to employees, but which workers get the money is decided by management.
7 days ago

Sponsored Articles

safety from crime...

As crime increases, our safety measures must too

It's easy to be accused of fearmongering regarding crime, but Seattle residents might have good reason to be concerned for their safety.
Comcast Ready for Business Fund...
Ilona Lohrey | President and CEO, GSBA

GSBA is closing the disparity gap with Ready for Business Fund

GSBA, Comcast, and other partners are working to address disparities in access to financial resources with the Ready for Business fund.

Medicare open enrollment is here and SHIBA can help!

The SHIBA program – part of the Office of the Insurance Commissioner – is ready to help with your Medicare open enrollment decisions.
Lake Washington Windows...

Choosing Best Windows for Your Home

Lake Washington Windows and Doors is a local window dealer offering the exclusive Leak Armor installation.
Anacortes Christmas Tree...

Come one, come all! Food, Drink, and Coastal Christmas – Anacortes has it all!

Come celebrate Anacortes’ 11th annual Bier on the Pier! Bier on the Pier takes place on October 7th and 8th and features local ciders, food trucks and live music - not to mention the beautiful views of the Guemes Channel and backdrop of downtown Anacortes.
Swedish Cyberknife Treatment...

The revolutionary treatment of Swedish CyberKnife provides better quality of life for majority of patients

There are a wide variety of treatments options available for men with prostate cancer. One of the most technologically advanced treatment options in the Pacific Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform at Swedish Medical Center.
Pierce County Exec: Rollback to Phase 2 will cost jobs at a crucial time