Pierce County ‘frustrated’ it didn’t get a pause before its Phase 2 rollback

May 5, 2021, 1:26 PM
tacoma dome, pierce county...
Cars lined up at the Tacoma Dome COVID-19 vaccination site. (Photo courtesy of Bruce Dammeier/Twitter)
(Photo courtesy of Bruce Dammeier/Twitter)

After Governor Inslee announced Tuesday that he is pausing any more phase rollbacks in Washington, at least for the next two weeks, Pierce County Executive Bruce Dammeier sent out a tweet expressing his unhappiness and saying that “treating different counties differently is not science.”

Why Washington might not need herd immunity to ‘start taking masks off’

“Let’s be clear: Three weeks ago, I didn’t think Pierce County should be rolled back, and I don’t think Snohomish or King County should be rolled back yesterday,” Dammeier told KIRO Radio’s Gee and Ursula Show. “I think we should be focusing on moving forward and getting beyond the state of emergency and getting back to some semblance of normal for our community.”

“The frustration was primarily that three weeks ago, when the numbers showed that we, by his rules, should have rolled back to Phase 2 and we asked for a pause, we were denied,” he continued. “So you can understand why when all of a sudden King County and others — their numbers are worse than ours were three weeks ago — that why it’s frustrating for Pierce County residents to see our community get rolled back, our businesses are suffering under Phase 2 restrictions, and to have King County and Snohomish County and others be given a pass or a pause.”

As of May 2, Pierce County’s case rates were at 374 per 100,000 residents, which is higher than the allowed metrics for Phase 2, but the county was able to remain in its current phase due to the pause.

“The point is the governor’s rules wouldn’t have rolled us back to Phase 1. We meet the requirements that he has set forward,” Dammeier said. “So it’s a concern with the application of the rules and the changing dynamic of the rules. Again, my focus is moving forward. That’s why in Pierce County we are all about making sure that everybody who possibly wants a vaccine has a chance to do it.”

He says he meets every Monday with business, community, and school leaders to find new ways to get vaccines out to the community and “remove every possible barrier” to getting vaccinated.

As Ursula Reutin points out, the state went from feeling like it was the Hunger Games to get a vaccine appointment to now people practically begging people to come in, but we’re still nowhere near high levels of immunity.

“I think the focus on getting people vaccinated is the correct focus,” Dammeier said. “That’s the way we’re going to move forward on this. So I absolutely agree with that and that is why we want to do everything we can. You are exactly right when you said we went from restriction, scarcity, not enough vaccine, not everyone is eligible, we flipped that script totally. So now we want to get to everybody wherever they are and remove any barrier to them being willing to get the vaccination. That’s key.”

Tacoma Rainiers will be first team in state to start using ‘vaccinated only’ seating

At this point, Dammeier says while he’d love to see his community reach 70% vaccinated, it’s still unknown if that’s an accurate or attainable threshold.

“We’re going to do everything we can to drive that number up as high as we can,” he said. “Part of my frustration in Pierce County is we’ve got a number of military in our community, Army and Air Force, and we’ve got a number of veterans in our community. Those that have gotten their vaccinations through the Department of Defense or through the Veterans Administration don’t show up in our state numbers.”

“So I know that the numbers that are showing by the state for Pierce County are artificially low because they don’t reflect those Department of Defense and veterans’ vaccinations,” he added. “If we’re going to have a true goal, it’s got to be in a way that we really know accurately who’s been vaccinated in our community right now and, frustratingly, in Pierce County, the federal government hasn’t shared that information.”

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

Gee and Ursula Show

At what point will we know that COVID is gone?

KIRO Radio's Gee Scott and fill-in host Aaron Mason discuss how we'll know when COVID-19 has gone from pandemic to endemic.
3 days ago
vaccine, kids...
Gee and Ursula Show

Virologist: ‘Time interval’ between doses will be important in vaccinations for kids

Dr. Rasmussen explains why, in her opinion, there should be enough clinical data to support emergency authorization of a vaccine for kids ages 5-11.
7 days ago
Sara Nelson...
Gee and Ursula Show

Seattle council candidate Sara Nelson outlines plan for homelessness, policing

Seattle City Council Position 9 candidate Sara Nelson calls for added encampment sweeps and police accountability over defunding.
10 days ago
Gee and Ursula Show

Superintendent: More ‘issues with adults’ over masking rule than students

The state Superintendent says things are going "pretty darn well" as schools reopened. He credits that success to COVID rules, which include masking.
12 days ago
Vaccine mandate...
Gee and Ursula Show

With Washington’s vaccine mandate deadline imminent, a minority chooses resignation

KIRO Radio speaks with the minority coalition which has decided to take a stand against the vaccine mandate and accept termination or resignation.
13 days ago
students, vaccine...
Gee and Ursula Show

State Superintendent says any future vaccine mandate for students will be ‘statewide’

The state Superintendent of Public Instruction says there won't be a vaccine mandate for students until there's full federal approval of a vaccine for kids.
14 days ago

Sponsored Articles


Medicare open enrollment for 2022 starts Oct. 15 and SHIBA can help!

Washington State Office of the Insurance Commissioner SPONSORED — Medicare’s Open Enrollment Period, also called the Annual Election Period, is Oct. 15 to Dec. 7. During this time, people enrolled in Medicare can: Switch from Original Medicare to a Medicare Advantage plan and vice versa. Join, drop or switch a Part D prescription drug plan, […]

How to Have a Stress-Free Real Estate Experience

The real estate industry has adapted and sellers are taking full advantage of new real estate models. One of which is Every Door Real Estate.
IQ Air

How Poor Air Quality Is Affecting Our Future Athletes

You cannot control your child’s breathing environment 100% of the time, but you can make a huge impact.
Swedish Health Services

Special Coverage: National Prostate Cancer Awareness Month

There are a wide variety of treatment options available for men with prostate cancer. The most technologically advanced treatment option in the Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform.
Marysville Police Department

Police Opportunities in a Growing, Supportive Washington Community

Marysville PD is looking for both lateral and entry level officers. Begin or continue your career in law enforcement for a growing, supportive community.

Small, Minority-Owned Businesses in King County and Pierce County Can Now Apply For $10,000 Relief Grants Through Comcast RISE

Businesses in King County and Pierce County can apply beginning on October 1, 2021, at for a chance to receive a $10,000 relief grant.
Pierce County ‘frustrated’ it didn’t get a pause before its Phase 2 rollback