Statement regarding COVID-19 outbreak

January 12, 2022

South Sound 911 had 28 employees test positive for COVID-19 since Dec. 17, and others are awaiting test results. While we believe several of the affected employees likely contracted COVID-19 over the holidays, we understand Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department considers two positive cases at a work site an “outbreak.” 

Reported symptoms have been mild and no employees have been hospitalized. Since the Dec. 17 COVID-positive case, 20 affected employees returned to work or are eligible to return to work. In the meantime, to help prevent further transmission at South Sound 911, additional deep cleaning has been scheduled.

The outbreak is not impacting the critical delivery of emergency 911 service or the dispatch of responders. Employee absences are being backfilled through overtime and South Sound 911 remains ready with contingency staffing plans to ensure emergency calls are answered and responders are dispatched.

Since emergency 911 calls are our priority, this means calls to our non-emergency line or triaged calls determined non-emergent may be on hold for longer than normal. We kindly request patience from callers during this busy time. Additionally, certain non-emergency crimes may be reported online.

Throughout the pandemic, South Sound 911 swiftly adapted to new mandates and guidance from the Centers for Disease Control, the Health Department, and the governor’s orders. Our longstanding mitigation measures include:

  • Mandated mask policy, which currently applies to vaccinated and unvaccinated employees
  • Frequent handwashing and sanitization of surfaces
  • Use of UV light keyboard sanitizers
  • Acrylic barriers between consoles
  • Consulting with the Health Department

As of now, vaccination remains a choice for South Sound 911 employees, though vaccination has been encouraged and incentivized. Since August, vaccination rates increased to 78% from 52%.

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