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Illustration of coronavirus

Latest update: March 23, 2020 4:15 p.m.

What you need to know about COVID-19

Get informed about the coronavirus, COVID-19. Here you'll find information about Pierce College's response, tips for staying healthy, and facts about the disease.

Pierce College's response to COVID-19

What is the current status of COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) at Pierce College?

There are currently no known COVID-19 cases at Pierce College or at any of our extension sites.

What is Pierce College doing to reduce the risk of COVID-19?

We are following the governor’s mandates and the advice and direction from the Tacoma/Pierce County Health Department. All Pierce College buildings and extension sites are closed to the public until at least April 7. 

How will Pierce College make decisions about the novel coronavirus?

We are following the governor’s mandates and the advice and direction from the Tacoma/Pierce County Health Department, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Washington State Department of Health and other local and state officials.

Will the college close? If classes are cancelled, how do I find out?

We continue to follow the mandates set by the governor as well as consult with other local and state officials.

There are many ways to receive the latest Pierce College updates.  If you haven’t done so already, be sure to sign up for Pierce College Emergency Alerts to have important messages sent right to your phone and email. We will also keep the college community informed about our response to the coronavirus/COVID-19 on our website, Facebook and Twitter pages.

Are we doing a deep clean of college facilities?

“Deep cleaning” is actually a disinfecting and sanitizing process. The Pierce College Custodial Services Department is using an EPA-registered germicidal disinfectant to clean and disinfect high touch surface areas (such as tables, doors, door handles, handrails, restrooms and common areas) on a daily basis. They are also disinfecting personal work spaces across the district by request.

Everyone is encouraged to use proper hygiene and handwashing. Spending twenty seconds washing hands is the most effective disease deterrent available. We are also distributing alcohol-based hand sanitizer throughout buildings at all of our sites.

How do we deal with racial bias?

In some instances, the fear of the spread of coronavirus has resulted in incidents of bias and harassment against others. This is a good time to emphasize Pierce College’s commitment to equity and inclusion. 

The King County Health Department has provided important information about combating stigma [PDF].

We remind people to not make determinations of risk based on race or country of origin, and be sure to maintain confidentiality of people with confirmed coronavirus infection. Stigma will not help to fight the illness. Sharing accurate information during a time of heightened concern is one of the best things we can do to keep rumors and misinformation from spreading. As new information emerges, please remind your community that the risk of novel coronavirus is not at all connected with race, ethnicity or nationality. 

Also, speak up if you hear, see, or read stigmatizing or harassing comments or misinformation. Show compassion and support for individuals and communities more closely impacted. Do not make assumptions about someone’s health status based on their ethnicity, race or national origin.

I need to report a hate crime, discrimination, or threat linked to the coronavirus. Where can I do that?

Hate crimes, discrimination, or threats linked to the coronavirus that take place on campus may be reported to college officials by submitting an online incident form. In reporting a hate crime or threat, be prepared to detail the nature and location of the incident and, if possible, the names or a description of the persons involved. For incidents that occur off campus, please contact your local law enforcement. You may also report your concerns to Campus Safety by calling 253-964-6751 (Fort Steilacoom) or 253-840-8481 (Puyallup), or via email.

COVID-19 information

What can I do to prevent the spread of COVID-19?

Protect yourself, your family and your community by practicing social distancing. Stay home whenever possible, and limit your trips to the essentials, such as work or grocery shopping. Avoid gathering with others outside of household members. When in public, maintain at least 6 feet of personal space between you and others.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is the best source of information about how the virus spreads and how to protect yourself, in addition to the most current national and global assessments.

As a reminder, the CDC recommends everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory diseases, including:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using regular household cleaning sprays or wipes.

Where can I find information in different languages?

The Washington State Department of Health has information about the coronavirus in 11 languages.

What should I do now to be prepared?

It's always a good idea to be ready for an emergency, whether it's extreme weather, a natural disaster or an illness like COVID-19. Here are some simple ways you can prepare.

Keep some basic supplies at home. The US Department of Homeland Security recommends that people should keep some basic supplies at home in case they get sick or in case it is difficult to get supplies at a store. Here is what they are recommending:

  • Store a two-week supply of food. Select foods that do not require refrigeration, preparation or cooking. Ensure that formula for infants and any child’s or older person’s special nutritional needs are a part of your planning. Plan for your pets as well.
  • Store a supply of nonprescription drugs, such as pain relievers, cough and cold medicines, stomach remedies and anti-diarrheal medication, as well as vitamins and fluids with electrolytes (such as sports drinks).
  • Store health and cleaning supplies, such as bleach, tissues, a thermometer, disposable gloves, soap and alcohol-based hand sanitizers.
  • Periodically check your regular prescription drugs to ensure a continuous supply in your home.
  • Get copies and maintain electronic versions of health records from doctors, hospitals, pharmacies and other sources and store them, for personal reference.
  • Talk with family members and loved ones about how they would be cared for if they got sick, or what will be needed to care for them in your home.

Make a plan now for how you, your household and your neighbors might need to adapt and rely on each other during this outbreak.

What should I do if I get sick?

According to the CDC, if you have traveled from China or another country where coronavirus has been spreading (see CDC travel notices) or been in close contact with someone with confirmed COVID-19 (novel coronavirus), and feel sick with fever, cough, or difficulty breathing, please take the following steps: 

First: Call your healthcare provider BEFORE going to get care and tell them about your symptoms and travel. They can provide you instructions for seeking care so that you do not expose others. 

There are many causes of fevers, coughs, and other respiratory symptoms. Most clinics have surgical masks that you may be asked to wear while in the clinic. Please protect others and wear a mask if asked. Wash your hands. Cover your cough or sneeze. If you are ill, stay home.

Second: The Washington Department of Health has established a call center to address questions from the public. If you have questions about how the virus is spread, and what to do if you have symptoms, please call 1-800-525-0127 and press #.

I feel anxious about coronavirus. What can I do?

In situations that are uncertain and evolving such as this, it’s understandable to feel stressed or anxious. We recommend the following steps: Find credible sources you can trust to avoid any panic that can be caused by misinformation. Follow guidance from the CDC about preventing the spread of the virus. We'll do our best to share up-to-date facts on our website. And, if you sign up for Pierce College Emergency Alerts, you’ll get important messages sent right to your cell phone.

I’m worried about myself or a family member who has an underlying health condition. What should I do?

According to the Washington State Department of Health, people with preexisting health conditions are at higher risk to develop complications from a COVID-19 infection. Your health and the health of those you care about are important to us and it may be recommended that you stay at home and away from other people during this time. Preparing for this possibility requires some pre-planning. Public health officials have recommendations for some things that you can do to help to protect yourself and your loved ones from this illness if you do develop symptoms.

How should I clean and disinfect communal spaces?

The CDC recommends cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.