Summary for October 30, 2020

  • In this section we are providing a summary of the current changes in the Situation Report on Tuesdays & Fridays. For a PDF of the full Situation Report click on the link to the right. To receive these updates via email, sign up for alerts here or view email version here. See archived items in the PDF section to the right on this Situation Report page.

Current Virus Statistics:

Vashon Island COVID-19 Case Count as of 10/30/20: 

  • 2,350 Total persons tested, 27 persons tested since last Situation Report on Tuesday
  • 30 confirmed positive COVID-19 cases, 1 new case since last Situation Report on Tuesday
  • Date of last positive test: October 30  
  • 1 person had been hospitalized. Date of last hospitalization: April 10
  • 0 Vashon deaths

King County COVID-19 Case Count as of 10/30/20: 

  • 27,423 confirmed positive cases, 902 new since last Situation Report on Tuesday
  • 804 deaths, 13 new since last Situation Report on Tuesday

Washington State COVID-19 Case Count as of 10/29/20:

  • 106,573 confirmed positive cases, 3,073 new since last Situation Report on Tuesday 
  • 2,366 deaths, 45 new since last Situation Report on Tuesday

NOTE: Federal law prohibits Public Health - Seattle & King County from releasing the names of patients (HIPAA Act). For consistency of day-to-day data reporting for Vashon, the EOC uses only the Zip code data from the Public Health – Seattle & King County (PHSKC) dashboard.

Local Business Precautionary Closure:

Vashon Island Coffee Roasterie has closed for one week, one of several precautionary COVID safety steps the business is taking after a staff member tested positive for COVID-19. The safety closure began today and the store plans to reopen next Friday, November 6, assuming follow up testing of staff goes well.  The only public exposure to the employee at the Roasterie took place a week ago, and was limited to Saturday, October 24th.  The Medical Reserve Corps asks anyone who was served at the barista counter last Saturday, October 24th, to call the testing site help line so you can be screened for possible testing.  The Medical Reserve Corps number is: (844) 469-4554.  The number may be busy. If so, leave a message and you will get a return call as soon as possible.  Please keep the line free and only call if you were served at the barista counter last Saturday, October 24th. 

During the closure of the Roasterie, the space will be deep-cleaned, using procedures that go beyond the usual safety guidelines from Washington State Department of Health and Public Health -- Seattle & King County.  All employees who worked at the same time as the employee who tested positive were being tested today and are being asked to quarantine for a full 14 days, a total of nine individuals, or half the total staff.  Minglement Marketplace will remain open but isolated from the Roasterie. The annual display of pumpkins on the Roasterie front porch will be lit tonight and tomorrow night, the store's traditional celebration for Halloween. Safe drive-by viewing is encouraged. The previously announced root soup and roll handout will not be happening after all this year. 

 

Halloween Tips:

Halloween caution: "Being within six feet of somebody who isn’t part of your household, even if outdoors, is risky now. Door-to-door trick-or-treating is very hard to do safely, because there has to be good masking and physical distancing of at least six feet or more," said Dr. Sadiya Khan, a physician, epidemiologist and assistant professor of medicine at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. “People are trying to come up with creative ways of passing out candy. But I’d be worried for potential spread from any contact with people outside your household," she said. "I’m more hesitant to even do socially distanced activities with large groups of kids and adults gathering outdoors.”  Khan added, that her children plan to dress up in costumes and she’ll hide candy around the house for them to find.

Safer Gatherings. With Halloween only a day away and more holidays following right behind, it is a good time to review your plans. Gathering in groups—even with people we know—may spread COVID-19. The more people we interact with at a gathering and the longer that interaction lasts, the higher the risk of becoming infected. Washington State Department of Health has put together a Safety Checklist for gatherings, and tips on having conversations with friends and family while planning a gathering. Visit: https://coronavirus.wa.gov/information-for/you-and-your-family/safer-gatherings

Halloween Contests. This year the Chamber of Commerce will hold online costume and pumpkin carving contestsas safe alternative Halloween activities due to the COVID pandemic. Visit the Chamber website for more information on how to join, and submit your photos to be entered in one of five costume categories to win a festive prize. Vashon’s Unofficial Mayors, Vashon Sisterhood, will be the panel of judges picking the winners. The Chamber of Commerce Halloween website is at https://www.vashonchamber.com/costume-pumpkin-contest

Vashon Island School District in Partnership with Camp Burton will hold the Haunted Drive Thru on Halloween, October 31st. The drive thru event at camp Burton is free to the public and open from 4pm to 9pm.  For more information, visit https://www.campburton.com

Health Tips:

Carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning has many of the same symptoms as COVID-19 and may be difficult to tell apart.  "Influenza and (Covid-19) hijack the cells, mostly in lungs, where they reproduce and that's where the main damage is often done" and where symptoms stem from, said Dr. Jeremy Brown, an emergency care physician and author of "Influenza: The Hundred-Year Hunt to Cure the Deadliest Disease in History." Carbon monoxide, on the other hand, poisons people by hooking onto hemoglobin, the protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen from the lungs to the body. Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless gas that's produced when a fossil fuel — coal, oil or natural gas — is burned by furnaces, portable heaters, generators, vehicles, stoves, grills, gas ranges or fireplaces. The best way to tell whether symptoms are from carbon monoxide exposure is to install a carbon monoxide detector, Brown said. Since carbon monoxide sinks, CDC recommends having one in your basement is critical, but the potential for exposure can be on any floor, so detectors should be installed in the main living areas and in or near bedrooms so you can be woken up by an alarm while sleeping.   https://www.cdc.gov/co/faqs.htm

New Developments since Last Report:

Washington’s Department of Labor & Industries notes that virus activity is accelerating dangerously throughout the United States, including Washington. Virus spikes threaten our health, our schools and our economy. Workers and employers can help to halt the fall surge by following five key COVID-19 safety requirements required by law: https://www.lni.wa.gov/forms-publications/F414-167-000.pdf

  1. Employees must practice social distancing and mask up. 
  2. Employees must wash their hands frequently and thoroughly. 
  3. Workplaces must be routinely sanitized. 
  4. A plan must be written and in place to address worker illness. 
  5. Employees must be educated about COVID-19 and how to work safely.  

Sick workers or those believed to have been exposed should self-quarantine. If workers show symptoms of COVID-19 or have been in close contact with someone with the virus or its symptoms, they should self-quarantine for 14 days. This may be a difficult conversation to have with a worker reliant on their wages, but they may use paid leave to cover the absence. Employees may use accrued sick leave if asked to quarantine. Under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), an additional budget of sick leave is available to symptomatic workers. Up to two weeks (80 hours) of paid sick leave is to be provided at their regular rate of pay.  https://www.dol.gov/agencies/whd/pandemic/ffcra-employee-paid-leave

Gov. Jay Inslee issues "Stay Safe - Vote Safe" proclamation. This proclamation temporarily suspends any COVID-related orders that could be interpreted to restrict access to voting centers and student engagement HUBS by persons intending to register to vote, obtain a ballot, receive assistance with a ballot, deposit a ballot or use other voting-related services. "The right to vote is one of the cornerstones of our democracy," Inslee said.  www.governor.wa.gov/sites/default/files/Gov.%20Inslee%20Voting%20Memo%2010.27.2020.pdf

Washington State Department of Health reports COVID-19 activity intensifying across Washington State.  The best estimates of the reproductive number (how many new people each COVID-19 patient will infect) were 1.34 in western Washington and 1.12 in eastern Washington as of October 10. The goal is a number well below one.  “Any spike in COVID-19 cases will jeopardize our progress toward reopening schools, strain our healthcare system and increase risks during holiday gatherings,” said Deputy Secretary of Health for COVID-19 Response Lacy Fehrenbach. “High rates in the community increase the chance that someone at your gathering—even people you know well and trust—could have COVID-19. If we act now, we can get these increases in control in time for the holidays.”  For the full report, visit  https://covid.idmod.org/data/WA_Situation_Report_19_COVID-19_transmission_across_Washington_State.pdf

King County Elections reminds residents to practice social distancing and to wear a face covering that covers their nose and mouth for voter safety.  On Vashon, ballots can be dropped of at the secure Voting Box located at the library. County voting box ballots are picked up daily by King County Elections.  If you choose to visit a Vote Center in person you will be required to wear a mask.  https://www.kingcounty.gov/depts/elections.aspx  

Washington State Department of Health warns health care professionals with Washington licenses: Beware of scammers falsely claiming to represent the Washington State Department of Health – and don’t send money to anyone without being certain of the recipient’s identity.  There have been at least two apparent attempts to defraud Washington providers.  https://www.doh.wa.gov/Newsroom/Articles/ID/2441

Governor Jay Inslee announced Washington State has joined California’s COVID-19 Scientific Safety Review Workgroup, which will independently review the safety and efficacy of any vaccine approved by the Food and Drug Administration for distribution. Last week, California Governor Gavin Newsom announced the panel made up of nationally acclaimed scientists with expertise in immunization and public health. Oregon and Nevada have also joined the Safety Review Workgroup. See Governor Inslee’s full press conference here. Read Governor Newsom’s press release at https://www.gov.ca.gov/2020/10/27

Global Entrepreneurship Month will offer free training and support for small businesses.  Nearly 50 online sessions aim to help small businesses start and restart, and aim to bolster a historical trend of new business formation during economic downturns.  Programs are provided by the Washington State Department of Commerce. Visit: http://startup.choosewashingtonstate.com

Gov. Jay Inslee issued a directive to the Department of Retirement Systems (DRS) to produce an emergency rule regarding continuity of pension benefits for school district employees continuing to experience work disruptions as a result of remote learning. The order also directs Employment Security to include DRS' forthcoming emergency rule in their evaluation of eligibility for the Shared Work Program.  https://www.governor.wa.gov/sites/default/files/directive 

Vashon Island School District (VISD) continues to track COVID-19 activity levels in relation to efforts to bring back students in small groups for both learning and extracurricular activities. COVID-19 levels for King County continue to increase, currently at 105 cases per 100,000 over the last 14 days ending on 10/30/2020. The state school reopening framework requires cases fall below 75 cases per 100K, to begin a slow phase-in of in-person learning. https://www.doh.wa.gov/Portals/1/Documents/1600/coronavirus/DecisionTree-K12schools.pdf

Vashon Youth and Family Services staff are available to support all families with in-person and distanced academic support and tutoring at the newly opened Family Resource Center. These services are offered every Thursday 3-5pm and Friday 12-4 pm. Contact VYFS at 206-463-5511 or info@vyfs.org. VYFS has a dedicated telephone number and email for Spanish-speaking families to contact them with questions or concerns: 206-348-4488 or apoyo@vyfs.org. 

Progress on Community Support Operations:

Emergency Operations Center (EOC): Activation level is Maintenance & Monitoring. Operational priorities have been set at health, food and shelter. Community economic recovery efforts continue through our partnership with Vashon Chamber of Commerce. It has been 233 days (7 months, 19 days) since the EOC activated on March 12th.

Medical Reserve Corps/Community Engagement: The EOC assembled a team of six people to assess the positive case and potential contact exposures relating to Vashon Island Coffee Roasterie. The team includes physicians as well as communications experts to aid the business in its response and to help with public communications as the situation unfolds. For details see the above in this report.

Medical Reserve Corps/EOC Team: A team from Vashon Center for the Arts has met with Medical Reserve Corps and EOC Team representatives to launch a project to help VCA safely conduct a major streaming event around a music festival. Next week, the team will make a site visit to the Kay White Hall and the historic Blue Heron classroom building to help assess, among other things, building ventilation systems as well as the organization's existing extensive procedures for COVID-19 safety.

Medical Reserve Corps/Flu Vaccination: Over 400 flu vaccinations were added to the island tally this past week, now at a total of about 3,600 from on island providers. The total includes nearly 2,900 by Vashon Pharmacy and more than 600 by the Visiting Nurse Association drive through vaccination event two weeks ago. An unknown additional number of islander vaccinations have taken place at mainland locations. That suggests as many as one-half of all island residents have received flu vaccinations. Flu vaccination is especially important this year due to the double-whammy of seasonal flu combined with the COVID-19 pandemic.  Remember: that free flu vaccinations are available at Vashon Pharmacy for those without health insurance, paid for by VashonBePrepared’s Relief Fund.

Winter Watch: Four EOC Team members, including Situation Section members, attended the annual winter weather emergency response workshop yesterday, presented by the King County Office of Emergency Management. The Situation Section has been monitoring potential seasonal impacts on the pandemic response. For example, road access to the MRC COVID-19 testing site might be limited, and volunteers at the drive up outdoor site may have to deal with harsh weather. In addition, a severe winter could drive people indoors in greater numbers, potentially increasing the chances of spread. 

VashonBePrepared: The VashonBePrepared Board of Directors met this week to approve the 2021 budget. The budget plan assumes there will be some reimbursement of funds expended by the Vashon COVID Relief Fund for ongoing emergency disbursements to the island's social service agencies, although the amount and timing of those funds remains uncertain. The budget also sets aside some reserves for sustaining the MRC COVID-19 testing program well into 2021, in addition to funds for rapid emergency response in case of a major outbreak spike on the island.

Items from Previous Situation Reports:

PDF Archive of items from August here

Housing Security:

  • St. Vincent de Paul Society on Vashon (SVdP) offers assistance to all in need, regardless of creed, race, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation or citizenship. Since the start of the pandemic, they have provided nearly $50,000 of rent, utility and food assistance to 37 island households, including 56 children. All are individuals or families whose livelihood has been adversely affected by COVID-19. For rental assistance, SVdP has coordinated with Interfaith Council for Prevention of Homelessness (IFCH). In addition to rental assistance, SVdP has been helping islanders throughout the pandemic with other types of support, including for utilities as well as store vouchers for folks to purchase non-food necessities such as diapers and toothpaste. SVdP is among the social service groups this year that received support from the Vashon COVID Relief Fund. If you or a neighbor you know needs help with rent, utilities, food, or other basic needs, leave a message in English or Spanish on the St. Vincent de Paul help hotline at 206-450-7577. 
  • The King County Library System provides a service that helps point King County residents to the financial assistance programs they need—such as business loans, unemployment claims, and rent assistance. Residents looking for guidance may visit the website to complete an online form detailing their small business and/or personal financial needs. Visit https://kcls.org/find-financial-assistance/ or call 800-462-9600 for assistance.
  • Home Base, the United Way Rent Relief program, offers assistance for those needing help paying rent due to the COVID-19 virus, for information in English visit:  https://www.uwkc.org/renthelp/ or for Spanish: https://www.uwkc.org/renthelp-spanish/
  • The Washington State Department of Commerce’s Eviction Rent Assistance Program (ERAP) is distributing approximately $100 million in state Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act funding through its existing network of homeless services grantees and organizations serving homeless youth to operate the rental assistance program.  The program has been extended until Dec. 31. The program will focus on preventing evictions by paying up to three months of past due, current and future rent to landlords for eligible participants. https://www.commerce.wa.gov/serving-communities/homelessness/   
  • Eviction Rent Assistance Program (ERAP) for Vashon residents is administered by King County Department of Community and Human Services.  They have recently created $41 million in funding for a new rent assistance and eviction prevention program.  Visit https://kingcounty.gov/depts/community-human-services/COVID/eviction-prevention-rent-assistance.aspx  
  • Gov. Jay Inslee has extended and expanded the moratorium on evictions and imposed a new freeze on increases of residential rents.  The temporary statewide ban on evictions has been extended through October 15.  The order includes a ban on residential and commercial rent increases during the public-health emergency.  https://www.governor.wa.gov/sites/default/files/proclamations/20-19.3%20Coronavirus%20Evictions%20%28tmp%29.pdf 

Food Security:

  • The Vashon Maury Community Food Bank has been nourishing our community for over forty years. The Food Bank’s mission is to ensure that no one on Vashon goes hungry, so the Food Bank is available for anyone who needs food.  In 2019, before the pandemic, one in seven households on Vashon (about 14%) depended on the Food Bank to get by.  As of last week, that number has risen to about 20% of Vashon households have shopped at the Food Bank. Due to the pandemic, in-person shopping was replaced by COVID-safe drive-up ordering or home delivery. Last week, 148 households received food delivery by Food Bank volunteers, while 111 households went to the Food Bank to place their grocery orders at Sunrise Ridge.  Customers can pick up groceries at Sunrise Ridge on Wednesdays between 10am and 2pm, or between 4pm and 7pm. If they prefer, they can request home delivery on Thursdays, by calling (206) 463-6332 or emailing admin@vashonfoodbank.org.
  • Vashon Food Bank will be closed for the week of September 21, to provide staff and volunteers a reprieve and to prepare for the impending seasonal shift.  Due to the staff reprieve, grocery pickup, on 9/25, and home delivery, on 9/26, will be cancelled.   The Food Bank is offering customers extra food in the weeks before the closure and there will be extra boxes of non-perishable emergency food at select locations across the island.  They are also offering folks information about food and groceries that are available through partner programs.  Please, call the office at 206-463-6332 or email admin@vashonfoodbank.org with questions or concerns.
  • Meals on Wheels offers relief to older adults and caregivers by delivering reliable, nutritious meals on a weekly basis. For many older adults, circumstances can make shopping or preparing food difficult and that may have been exacerbated by the pandemic.  The Meals on Wheels program serves King County residents aged 60 or more, who have difficulty shopping or cooking. For those under 60, a private pay option is available at the cost of $7 per meal. On Vashon, Meals on Wheels currently delivers an average of 100 meals per week to about 20 clients.  You can order 7 to 14 meals per week. Meals are delivered frozen once per week and packaged in trays that are ready to heat in a microwave or conventional oven.  Many meal options are available including vegetarian, vegan, low-sodium, kosher, and halal-certified. Vashon folks who want to apply and who speak English should call the Vashon Senior Center at 406-463-5173. The local Meals on Wheels representative will call them back and fill out their application online while talking with the client on the phone. Non-English speakers should call Sound Generations at (206) 448-5767 or 1-888-308-6325 or email them at mealsonwheels@soundgenerations.org.  For more information visit: https://soundgenerations.org/our-programs/food-security/meals-on-wheels/
  • Since March 11, the Senior Center has been delivering hot, nutritious lunches to seniors three days a week, totaling almost 4000 meals.  This fall the meal delivery program will continue.  Regardless of household income the program delivers lunch to anyone age 55 and older who requests it.  Just as with their on-site meals pre-COVID, the Senior Center asks for a donation of $5.00 per lunch to help cover actual cost of $10.38 per meal, but no one will be turned away due to inability to pay.  The delivery program has a secondary benefit of helping with seniors’ feeling of isolation that can have a negative impact on a person’s mental well-being and can lead to depression.  You can sign up for lunches, via phone at (206) 463-5173, by email to lunch@vashoncenter.org, or by using a form at the website https://www.vashoncenter.org/lunch-delivery.
  • Food Access Partnership (FAP), a part of Vashon Island Growers’ Association, provides a channel for island farmers to help feed island residents. FAP provides two programs. The original of the two programs, Farm Bucks, provides scrips (like vouchers) that can be used for shopping at participating island farm stands.  Farm Bucks require shoppers to find a farmer source, and also to affiliate with a social service agency such as VYFS or the Food Bank.  A new program provides a more convenient way for folks in need of fresh local food to shop at participating farm stands. The new Farmstand Credit program launched on August 30th. It operates on the honor system and you can opt in right at the farm stand.  To use the Farmstand Credit program find the FAP Credit clipboard at one of the seven participating farm stands.  Choose the foods you need, then record the foods on the Farmstand Credit sheet. FAP will pay the farmers for the foods that are recorded on the Farmstand Credit sheet.   For more information or participating partners, email foodaccesspartnership@vigavashon.org or visit: https://foodaccesspartnership.vigavashon.org/
  • U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced it has extended summer meals program so operators may continue serving free meals to all children into the fall months and through December 31st to help with the response to the COVID-19 pandemic. https://www.usda.gov/media/press-releases/2020/08/31/usda-extends-free-meals-kids-through-december-31-2020
  • Vashon Island School District food service will offer breakfast and lunch every school day for all VISD students, even during this pandemic remote learning period.  Island-wide meal delivery service begins tomorrow September 1st and meals can also be picked up at High School for all VISD students, between 8 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. on scheduled school days.  Delivery locations, pricing for meals and applications for free meals can be found at https://www.vashonsd.org/Page/2516
  • The Washington State Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) announced a new emergency program for ALL children in grades K-12 in Washington who receive free or reduced-price school meals.  The benefit allows up to a maximum of $399 of P-EBT for families to buy groceries while schools are on pandemic remote learning.  The program will not affect immigration status. The deadline is September 11th.   Apply at https://www.washingtonconnection.org/home/
  • Public Health – Seattle & King County has released a new study on the county’s food needs.  The study found about 9% of adults in King, Pierce, and Snohomish counties combined reported in June 2020 that their households did not have enough food, compared to about 5% experiencing this before March.  Enrollment in basic food assistance program increased by 18% among King County households from January to June 2020.  The report noted that younger adults (ages 18-44), low-income adults (<$25,000/year), adults with less than a high school education, and adults who had never been married were more likely to lack sufficient food.  The study did not release information by detailed race/ethnicity information and so American Indian/Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander, people of multiple races, and people identifying with another race are reported together and are unable to be disaggregated.  This group was the most likely to not have enough food (31%), followed by Black and Hispanic/Latinx respondents (both 13%).  Full report at: https://www.kingcounty.gov/depts/health/covid-19/data/impacts/~/media/depts/health/communicable-diseases/documents/C19/food-insecurity-brief-report-august-2020.ashx

Previous Developments:

  • Flu vaccinations are available now for uninsured Vashon residents.  Arrangements have been made for VashonBePrepared to cover the cost of vaccinations for residents without insurance, or whose insurance is not accepted at Vashon Pharmacy. This is possible thanks to two generous donors as well as a decision by Vashon Pharmacy to provide the vaccinations at their cost. For more information on vaccination providers, go to our English/Spanish Flu Vaccine Provider Directory at: https://vashonbeprepared.org/fluvaccine(10/20/20)

  • Canada will extend the land border restrictions with the United States until Nov. 21.  The land border is closed to nonessential travel for another month, as it has been since March.  The Trudeau government expresses concerns about coronavirus caseloads south of the frontier. "We have committed to keeping Canadians safe and we keep extending the border closures because the United States is not in a place where we would feel comfortable reopening those borders," Trudeau said.   (10/20/20)
  • At Harborview Medical Center, acoronavirus outbreak in a surgical unit has infected four patients, killing one, reports the Seattle Times.  The patient died in the intensive care unit, said Dr. John Lynch, medical director of infection prevention and control at Harborview Medical Center.  Ten Harborview staffers have tested positive for the virus and are isolating. Thirty more staffers are in quarantine after possible exposure.  Lynch said the patients who contracted the virus all had been at Harborview for more than 14 days, indicating they likely contracted the virus at the hospital.  https://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/health/outbreak-of-covid-19-at-harborview-medical-center-infects-10-staffers-and-4-patients-1-patient-has-died/    (10/20/20)
    • MasksForVashon.orgis still making well made, reusable cloth masks on a donation basis for Vashon Island residents and businesses.  To date they have sewn and distributed well over 9,000 masks throughout our community.  To order masks and/or donate, visit MasksForVashon.org, or visit Vashon Alliance to Reduce Substance Abuse (VARSA, next to Northwest Sports, across from ACE) during office hours, typically 9-1 M-F.    (10/20/20)
    • Cloth Mask Care:  Hand wash or machine wash and dry.  It's best to remove the nose wire if you are going to put masks into a washing machine, unless you have a washing bag and can use a gentle cycle.  You do not have to remove the nose wire if putting masks directly into a dryer.  Thank you for wearing a mask when in public to help protect yourself your Vashon Island neighbors, employees, and visitors.   (10/20/20)
    • Act now to reverse the trend. The ‘fall surge’ is starting.  Washington State Department of Health(DOH) show that case numbers in western Washington counties are climbing at an alarming rate, including cases in King County.  “It’s time to flatten the curve again,” says Dr. Kathy Lofy, State Health Officer. “I’m optimistic we can get our kids in school, keep our businesses open, and control the spread of COVID-19 if everyone does their part.”  DOH recommends wearing a mask, even with people you see regularly and in your smallest social circles and anytime you are using shared transportation, including while in your own vehicle with other people.  https://www.doh.wa.gov/Newsroom/Articles/ID/2423/Concern-that-climb-in-cases-means-fall-surge-is-starting-Experts-say-we-must-act-now-to-reverse-trend(10/20/20)
    • King County Metro and Sound Transit are now offering a new annual pass at no cost for customers who have no income or very low income.  The new program is intended to serve people who cannot afford the reduced fare on public transportation already available through ORCA LIFT, the Regional Reduced Fare Program, or the ORCA Youth fare.  Sound Transit committed to join the program for a two-year pilot period. The effort is focused on serving people enrolled in certain state benefit programs, which makes it easier for eligible customers to apply and streamlines income eligibility review. Visit https://www.kingcounty.gov/elected/executive/constantine/news/release/2020/October/15-Metro-fares.aspx(10/20/20)
    • Blood Drivehas been rescheduled for two days, November 23 and 24 at Vashon Lutheran Church, 18623 Vashon Hwy SW. Donations will be taken 10am - 5pm. Drive is open to the public, face coverings are required.  Make an appointment at https://schedule.bloodworksnw.org/DonorPortal/GroupLanding.aspx?s=2930    (10/20/20)
    • Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington School of Medicinelatest forecast, released on Oct. 10, projects more than 389,000 U.S.Covid-19 deaths by Feb. 1.  That is 6,000 fewer deaths than the previous forecast, even though IHME researchers say the spread of the virus is worsening.  The model shows the pandemic is moving into younger populations -- thus the forecast of fewer deaths.  “Daily cases have begun to increase and transmission has intensified in the northern half of the United States,” the IHME said in its new forecast. “We expect deaths to stop declining and begin increasing in the next one to two weeks”, due to a winter surge as more people collect in close contact situations indoor due to colder weather.  https://covid19.healthdata.org/united-states-of-america    (10/16/20)
    • Washington State Department of Health (DOH)reports that COVID transmission is increasing in western Washington.  The best estimates of the reproductive number (how many new people each COVID-19 patient will infect) were 1.12 in western Washington.  Case counts in western Washington are increasing across all age groups and over broad geographic areas.  “As COVID-19 activity intensifies, it’s incredibly important that we all take precautions to reduce the impact of seasonal changes like spending more time indoors,” said Washington Secretary of Health John Wiesman. “We must be especially careful to avoid gathering in groups inside, including with family and friends outside of our immediate household. That includes limiting group size, gathering outside or improving ventilation inside, cleaning and washing hands frequently, wearing face coverings (including inside our homes) and staying over six feet apart.”  https://www.doh.wa.gov/Newsroom/Articles/ID/2417/COVID-19-transmission-increasing-in-western-Washington-rates-flat-but-higher-in-eastern-Washington(10/16/20)
    • CDC updates guidance on how COVID-19 spreads.  COVID-19 is most commonly transmitted by respiratory droplets among people in "close contact". Close contact generally means direct interaction at a distance less than six feet. However, there is evidence that under certain conditions, people with COVID-19 seem to have infected others who were more than 6 feet away.  The CDC also maintains that spread is possible through surface transfer and potentially through airborne particles in poorly-ventilated spaces. CDC transmission guidance may inform safety practices at your workplace.  https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/how-covid-spreads.html    (10/16/20)
    • Did you miss the Great Washington ShakeOut 2020?  The ShakeOut is part of earthquake preparedness and can be practiced on any date.  This year with COVID the events were virtual and practicing earthquake drills at home, instead of school or work.  Check out the Emergency Management ShakeOut website for age oriented PowerPoints, videos, and health and safety guidance. Visit: https://www.shakeout.org/washington/    (10/16/20)
    • All In Washington COVID Relief Fund grants are due by October 23rd.  Seattle Foundation’s All In Washington grants program was established to mobilize community, business, and philanthropic leaders across the state to address the profound effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on vulnerable people, workers, and families. The Aggregate Fund, one of several funds under All In WA, will provide grants to community-based organizations that are providing emergency flexible financial assistance to disproportionately impacted people and families in the hardest-hit communities in Washington.  Visit: https://seattlefoundation.smapply.org/prog/all_in_wa/   (10/16/20)
    • Vashon Island School District has announced they will need to adjust hybrid learning and reopening timelines they had hoped to begin this fall. In a weekly bulletin to Vashon families, the District stated that in-person learning will no longer be possible in early November as earlier planned, as COVID-19 cases in King County are continuing to rise. The state Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction has set a goal of a defined “low level of COVID activity” in King County, set at 25 cases per 100,000 people on a 14 day average in order to safely reopen schools in-person. The latest rate on the PHSKC key indicators dashboard (as of Oct 14) shows a 140 day average of 92 cases per 100,000, almost four times the goal of 25 cases. (10/16/20)
    • The Interfaith Council to Prevent Homelessness (IFCH) is responding to the needs of those who are either currently experiencing homelessness or are at risk of becoming homeless.  In March they set up a fund to specifically assist those affected due to impacts COVID-19.  Since April they have provided monthly rental assistance for an average of 29 families. In the current month of October, IFCH has provided rental assistance to 31 families (61% were Latino) and provided utility assistance to 2 families.  IFCH is one of several social service agencies that has been supported by the Vashon COVID Relief Fund operated by VashonBePrepared. If you need assistance or want more information visit www.https://ifchvashon.org/
    • The Langland Dental office has re-opened after a week of precautionary COVID-19 quarantines, double testing of staff, and deep cleaning of the office during the closure. The initial affected staff member (the index case) remains in isolation and is doing well. Four patients potentially exposed in the office are nearing the end of quarantine with no evidence of infection thus far.  All remaining Langland staff have now been tested twice.  All the staff tested negative, except the index case and one additional person who was exposed during the original family cluster event. That person did not expose patients or other staff at the Langland office and remains in isolation.  (10/13/20)
    • Drive-through flu vaccination event: Vashon residents have an innovative drive-through flu vaccination option coming up on October 20th. The School District and VashonBePrepared’s Medical Reserve Corps have collaborated with the Visiting Nurse Association clinic to have a 100% drive-through vaccine operation at the Vashon High School campus for COVID-19 safety.  The clinic accepts Aetna, Premera, Kaiser, Regence, United, Medicare and Apple Health insurance plans. Uninsured King County residents can click the “uninsured” box during signup, and the vaccine cost will be covered by special county funding. Slots are limited and you must pre-register, so sign up now at www.SeattleVNA.com.   (10/13/20)
    • Flu vaccinations are available now for uninsured Vashon residents. There are two options for those without health insurance. At Vashon Pharmacy, arrangements have been made for VashonBePrepared to cover the cost of your vaccination. That's possible thanks to two generous donors as well as a decision by Vashon Pharmacy to provide the vaccinations at their cost. Uninsured residents also have the option to get vaccinated at the drive through event on October 20th by the Visiting Nurse Association (see above). For more information on vaccination providers go to our English/Spanish Flu Vaccine Provider Directory at: https://vashonbeprepared.org/fluvaccine(10/13/20)
    • The Care of The Spirit Team (COST), under the auspices of VashonBePrepared, offers free and confidential phone support to the Vashon-Maury Island community. The term "spirit" is intended broadly, to embrace the universal mysteries within, between, and beyond us as humans. COST welcomes callers from all beliefs and religious affiliations, as well as those with none.  The Team respects and is guided by the values, beliefs, experiences and goals of each caller. Islanders might call COST for supportive listening, or perhaps they want help in processing major questions, or decisions made more urgent in the pandemic.  COST members are islanders. They can be reached from 8am to 8pm seven days a week at 206-701-0694, Option #2.   (10/13/20)
    • Vashon Alliance to Reduce Substance Abuse (VARSA), is the island organization focused on the reduction of substance abuse by the youth of the island. They are now distributing their annual Community Survey, with the results informing VARSA’s planning for youth substance use prevention needs and programs.  The survey informs VARSA of islanders’ concerns about the mental health of the whole island and aims to understand the impacts of COVID on the community.  To participate in the Vashon Community Survey visit www.varsanetwork.org(10/13/20)
    • Washington Office of Superintendent of Public Instructionstrongly encourages all eligible families to apply for free and reduced-price meal programs now while funding is still in place for all who need the meals. Starting in January, the money will run out and students will need to qualify for the meal programs. Those who get into this year's program now will be grandfathered into next year's program. The process to get into the meals program is simple and confidential. There are no citizenship requirements for participation, and immigration status is not requested or disclosed. Visit: https://content.govdelivery.com/accounts/WAOSPI/bulletins/2a44253   (10/13/20)
    • Department of Employment Security reports a continued reduction in Vashon unemployment claims.  As of the week of September 26th, Vashon unemployment claims are down to 461 (9.5% of approx. 4,850 working population), from a high in April of 1,200 (24.7% of the working population).  To date the Chamber of Commerce Ask the Expert program has completed 860 telephone consultations.  If you need help filing for unemployment, Ask the Expert person will consult with you on how to proceed.  Email deborah@vashonbeprepared.org,:or call (206) 200-3236.  (10/13/20)
    • The Washington State Department of Commerce has developed a new Community Small Business Resiliency Grant Program intended to reach small businesses impacted by COVID-19 that have had a difficult time accessing grant dollars. Successful grant applicants will be eligible to receive up to $10,000.  Details at https://omwbe.wa.gov/about/news/grant-opportunity-small-business-resiliency-program(10/13/20)

  • Islanders who still need to get their seasonal flu vaccinations have a new way to find out where they can get them. The Medical Reserve Corps has compiled a directory of island providers who will provide vaccinations, including hours, cost, insurance coverage, and appointment info. Visit the Vashon Flu Vaccine Provider Directory at VashonBePrepared.org/FluVaccine.   (10/9/20)
  • The CDC has published new guidance on the potential for airborne transmission of COVID, as reported by Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. The updated guidance distinguishes between droplets and airborne transmission (as well as contact transmission); however, it emphasizes that respiratory droplets exist in a spectrum of sizes, ranging from large droplets “that fall out of the air rapidly” to smaller droplets or particles “that can remain suspended for many minutes to hours and travel far from the source.” The guidance goes on to state that most COVID infections are principally spread through “close contact,” primarily through respiratory droplet transmission within a short range of 6 feet or less, rather than airborne transmission. The guidance highlights certain conditions that can facilitate airborne transmission—including enclosed spaces, inadequate ventilation, and prolonged exposure (e.g., greater than 30 minutes)—due to the accumulation of suspended respiratory droplets that could increase exposure. The CDC emphasizes that certain protective measures can mitigate airborne transmission risk in enclosed spaces, such as increased ventilation, avoiding crowded indoor spaces, mask use, and enhanced hand hygiene and disinfection practices.  https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/more/scientific-brief-sars-cov-2.html    (10/9/20)
  • Department of Labor and Industries (L&I) reports that some businesses face fines for coronavirus mask violations however, the agency says most are complying. Since mid-July, L&I has looked into mask complaints for more than 4,200 retailers, restaurants and other businesses in the state. In the vast majority of cases, the businesses that were violating the rules complied after L&I staff explained the requirements, or the initial complaints to the state were not substantiated.  State regulations require businesses to ensure customers and visitors wear masks.  https://content.govdelivery.com/accounts/WADLI/bulletins/2a4bfdf    (10/9/20)
  • As reported in the last Situation Report, Safe Start reopening has been revised, affecting a number of local businesses and activities. While King County and Vashon remain in Phase 2, the new guidance will allow some local businesses to open or expand services.  For full guidance visit: https://www.governor.wa.gov/news-media/inslee-announces-updates-safe-start-reopening-plan    (10/9/20)
  • Vashon Library will offer a Spanish language program, to help the community protect against scammers, on October 24 at 11 am.  A representative from the Washington State Attorney General's Office will provide information about identity theft and scams, particularly those related to COVID-19, how you can protect yourself and your loved ones, and how to recover your identity if it is stolen or you fall victim to a scam. An opportunity to ask questions and get answers will be provided.  Registration is required and you will be emailed a Zoom invite the day before the program.  https://bit.ly/36DMYC9   (10/9/20)
  • Gov. Jay Inslee has extended and expanded the moratorium on evictions and the freeze on increases of residential rents.  The temporary statewide ban on evictions has been extended through December 31.  The order includes a ban on residential and commercial rent increases during the public-health emergency.   (10/9/20)
  • Backpack Pantry Vashon will be offering weekend meals for children from any family currently experiencing financial difficulties, beginning Friday October 16.  This will be a four week trial and will continue if successful.  For times and locations of meal pickups visit https://www.facebook.com/BackpackPantryVashon or call 206-463-2142.    (10/9/20)
  • Langland Dental Associates took a series of precautionary COVID safety steps this weekend after a staff member tested positive on Friday. The office will be closed this week. The action steps have been taken in collaboration with VashonBePrepared, including the Vashon Medical Reserve Corps (MRC) and the Emergency Operations Center (EOC). "We all wish for a day when we don't have to worry about COVID-19. But, until then, we need to know our island businesses and other institutions will do the right thing. That's what happened here. Marc Langland and his team responded to this situation perfectly, every step of the way. They knew what to do, and they did it. It's a model response that every business can follow if they face a similar situation," said Rick Wallace, EOC Manager.   (10/6/20)
  • Winter storm season is quickly approaching, and the national Climate Prediction Center has issued a La Niña Advisory, historically associated with above normal rainfall and below normal temperatures in western Washington.  Puget Sound Energy is encouraging customers to take steps to prepare their homes and emergency kits now – before disaster strikes.  PSE and VashonBePrepared recommend you make an emergency preparedness plan and pack an emergency kit.  For sample kit checklists visit: https://www.pse.com/pages/create-a-kit   (10/6/20)
  • Current forecast by the National Weather Service predicts a significant weather system expected to bring widespread moderate to locally heavy rainfall, breezy to locally windy conditions, and higher elevation mountain snow Friday through Saturday. Showers will continue through Sunday with the potential for another wet/breezy system on Monday.  See forecast at: www.weather.gov/Seattle   (10/6/20)
  • Coping with the stress of today’s COVID pandemic.  The Community Care Team (CCT) of Vashon, a unit of the Medical Reserve Corps and VashonBePrepared, is offering Suicide Prevention Training for Parents and Caregivers. The discussion sessions will be held on Zoom tonight October 6th at 7pm and tomorrow October 7th at 10am, and are open to all community members.  Join the Zoom meetings at  https://zoom.us/j/9807000211?pwd=bktNYzJ5YTJCa0w5TUROaFEwcVdnUT09    (10/6/20)
  • The Community Care Team offers connection groups so that neighbors can connect with neighbors. There will be two facilitated groups for seniors, one utilizing Zoom and the other utilizing the telephone. Anyone is welcome for these drop-in groups and no commitment of any kind is required. Groups will be small, perhaps four to eight people. To learn more or express interest in participating in one of these groups, email vashoncct@gmail.com or call the CCT Helpline at 206 701 0694 (8am – 8pm) and leave a message with your contact information. Someone will call you back.  (10/6/20)
  • Vashon CCT has organized a drop-in Parenting Group.  The topics covered go far beyond COVID and have included: making space for work and school, custody challenges, isolation and self-care, relationships, and financial hardships. Typical developmental challenges have been made more pronounced because of COVID.  The group meets 1:30pm - 2:30pm on Thursdays on Zoom. Discussions are confidential unless there is danger to a child. The confidentiality allows safety in discussion. The philosophy is that there is collective wisdom in the group which surpasses any one single person’s wisdom.  To learn more or participate, email vashoncct@gmail.com or call the Help Line at (206) 701-0694, extension 1 and leave a message with your name and phone number so we can contact you.  (10/6/20)
  • Vashon Island School District updated plans for a phased-in approach to in person learning providing some initial timing.  The District notice puts forth a slow, cautious, phased-in approach to resuming in-person instruction which has already begun with very small groups of students who are most in need of in-person instruction such as special needs students and English Language Learners. The District will continue to closely monitor COVID-19 statistics before moving on to additional in-person instruction for elementary classrooms.  The approach conforms to the Washington State Department of Health (WSDOH) Decision Tree, which provides guidance to school districts about when and how to provide some forms of in-person learning.  Visit: https://docs.google.com/document/d/10J72uVmtpdkj9jkQOLh4WSFCaze0YiB7eGLrkdgkicA/edit    (10/6/20)
  • Gov. Inslee today announced loosening of restrictions on some activities. For Phase 2 counties, which includes King County and Vashon, movie theaters would be able to operate at 25% capacity with the customary face mask requirement and six feet distance between households. Phase 2 area restaurants will be able to increase table size to six and will be allowed to serve alcohol until 11:00pm. Real estate open houses will be allowed with the size-limit for gatherings under Phase 2 guidance. Still to come are some relaxed protocols for some outdoor group sports such as bicycles rides, runs, and a few others. There will not yet be any advancement of counties from their current phase status.   (10/6/20)
  • Vashon Island School District will participate in an Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) program to connect low-income families to no-cost internet to support online learning for the remainder of the 2020/21 school year.  Through internet providers Comcast and Presidio, students who are low-income and did not have internet access before August 2020 can receive internet through the end of the 2020–21 school year at no cost to the family.  https://content.govdelivery.com/accounts/WAOSPI/bulletins/2a3ba61   (10/2/20)
  • The Washington State Department of Health (DOH) continues to make progress with COVID-19 vaccine distribution planning efforts.  On Friday, October 2, the National Academies is expected to release the final Framework for Equitable Allocation of COVID-19 Vaccine. This report will help guide equitable allocation of a limited initial supply of COVID-19 vaccine. However, some vaccine planning cannot be completed until the final vaccine candidates are identified.  DOH has received $5 million in federal funding for COVID-19 vaccine response preparation.  (10/2/20)
  • Washington State Arts Commission (ArtsWA), in collaboration with the Washington State Department of Commerce, is providing CARES relief funding to Washington State arts and cultural organizations impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Grants provide support for general operating expenses up to $10,000, with no funding match requirement.  Visit: https://www.arts.wa.gov/cares-act-grants    (10/2/20)
  • Governor Inslee has announced that the job search requirement for unemployment benefits will remain suspended through Nov. 9.  This means the soonest claimants will be required to actively seek work is Nov. 15.  If you are claiming unemployment benefits, you can continue to answer “no” to the job search question on your weekly claim until the suspension is lifted.  If you need help filing for unemployment, the Chamber of Commerce Ask the Expert person will consult with you on how to proceed.  Email deborah@vashonbeprepared.org:or call (206) 200-3236.    (10/2/20)
  • The U.S. Department of Agriculture has extended the waivers that allow the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) to offer remote services to participants. The waivers make it possible for Washington State’s WIC to enroll new applicants, provide health screening, nutrition education and breastfeeding support, make referrals, and issue food benefits by phone or video chat. WIC normally requires in-person meetings.  “Many new moms and families with young children may qualify for WIC; we encourage them to reach out to us. If a young family has someone on Apple Health Medical (Provider One), they are especially likely to qualify.”  WIC recently expanded the list of allowed foods to give families more choices.  Visit: https://www.doh.wa.gov/youandyourfamily/wic    (9/30/20)
  • The Washington State Department of Children, Youth, and Families (DCYF) announced additional COVID-19 relief funds for child care stabilization.  This is the second round of child care funding to help strengthen the existing child care market for working families and providers. The Governor and Legislature approved over $70 million for the child care industry to address the ongoing economic impacts of COVID-19. These additional relief funds build on the investments made in the spring. https://www.dcyf.wa.gov/news/additional-covid-19-relief-funds-child-care-stabilization   (9/30/20)
  • Mental health support on Vashon.  This year, with the extra stress of the pandemic, getting help when needed is more important than ever. On Vashon, we have two free support groups ready to help.  Vashon Youth and Family Services (VYFS) can provide counseling for residents of all ages, via phone, Zoom, or outdoors with social distancing.  Contact VYFS at 206-463-5511. A VashonBePrepared volunteer unit also offers a mental health resource, the Medical Reserve Corps Community Care Team Help Line at 206-701-0694. The Help Line is staffed from 8am to 8am every day, for referrals to spiritual support as well as mental health counseling.   (9/30/20)
  • COVID-19 makes it especially important to limit exposure to wildfire smoke. The National Weather Service says smoke is expected to arrive later this afternoon into Thursday, but should remain mostly aloft (above the surface). This will likely lead to milky/hazy skies. At this time, air quality agencies do not expect a major impact at the surface. Most sites should remain in the good category with perhaps a few sites falling into the moderate category.  Public Health –Seattle & King County recommends you limit exposure to smoke, reduce physical activity, and keep indoor air clean.  To monitor Vashon air quality reports, visit: https://tinyurl.com/VashonAir   (9/30/20)
  • Xfinity WiFi has extended its COVID-19 program to open its WiFi hotspots across the county for free to non-Xfinity subscribers.  This program is meant to help those with weak or not internet service.  On Vashon they have about 32 hotspots, these are normally located in business areas, retail locations and transit areas. https://wifi.xfinity.com/    (9/28/20)
  • Washington State Department of Commerce has expanded the Small Business Resiliency Assistance program to include culturally and linguistically relevant help for dealing with COVID-19.  Numerous aid and grant programs are available to help businesses, non-English speaking and business owners of color  The programs goals; are “ensuring equity in small business resiliency – giving every business owner equal access to the help they need – is crucial to protecting the incredible diversity of businesses that call Washington home,” according to Commerce Director Lisa Brown.  Visit: https://www.commerce.wa.gov/serving-communities/technical-assistance-from-trusted-community-messengers/    (9/28/20)
  • The University of Washington's Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation's model forecasts a Hugh surge in COVID related deaths for the fall and winter based on current U.S. response to the pandemic.  Their models forecast that daily deaths from the coronavirus could surge from 765 to 3,000 by late December with a total of over 371,000 by January 1.  Data from Johns Hopkins shows that at least 24 states are reporting an increase in new cases compared to the previous week.  https://www.upi.com/Top_News/US/2020/09/27/Experts-warn-of-huge-surge-in-COVID-19-cases-in-fall-winter/4701601226955/    (9/28/20)
  • King County Water Taxi will resume fare collection on Thursday, Oct.1. To minimize contact between passengers and crew when paying fare, use your ORCA card. Cash, debit/credit cards and Transit GO tickets will continue to be accepted.  Masks are required for both passengers and crew.  Visit:  https://kingcounty.gov/depts/transportation/metro/travel-options/water-taxi.aspx    (9/25/20)
  • Governor Inslee issued guidance for miscellaneous venues, including convention/conference centers, designated meeting spaces in hotels, events centers and other similar venues as part of Washington's Safe Start phased reopening plan. The guidance allows business meetings, professional development training and testing, and substantially similar activities to occur away from business premises and with additional attendees, as long as all requirements are met.   https://www.governor.wa.gov/sites/default/files/COVID19%20Phase%202%20and%20Phase%203%20Misc%20Venue%20Memo.pdf    (9/25/20)
  • New cases related to travel.  So far this month, six new positive cases of COVID-19 have been added to the Vashon total. All six were related to travel. "It's essential that people quarantine themselves as they come off travel," said Dr. Jim Bristow, leader of the Vashon Medical Reserve Corps testing operation on Vashon. "That means quarantine for 14 days, even from family," he emphasized. The six new positive cases this month occurred in two household clusters where people who had traveled infected loved ones. Fortunately, in both cases there were few contacts outside the household and no spread into the community, thanks to timely testing and quarantines.  The important message is that travel to Vashon from hotspots, even by family members, poses a risk, Bristow indicated.  Up until this month, Vashon had been doing quite a bit better than the mainland urban area. However, Vashon's recent positive test rate now roughly matches the rate of new infections for King County as a whole.
  • Vashon Island School Board’s regular board meeting will be held on Thursday Sept 24.  The meeting agenda includes a review of reopening progress and future plans, and an opportunity for public comment.  Also to be discussed are the results of the VashonBePrepared Outdoor Learning Task Force report.  https://go.boarddocs.com/wa/visd/Board.nsf/Public.  To provide public comment, email to board secretary, Jodi Burwell at mjburwell@vashonsd.org.  (9/23/20)
  • Camp Sealth Outdoor Connections offers programs to support youth, teens, and families who are impacted by COVID-19 and school closures.  The programs provide opportunities for children from pre-K through grade 12, to get outdoors for exercise and free play, supplement educational needs with the ability to interact with peers and gain social skills, and to fill a need for childcare for parents who need to work.  Visit https://campfireseattle.org/outdoor-connections/   (9/23/20)
  • Washington State Department of Commerce has launched a new Economic Recovery Dashboard.  It is a tool for analyzing and visualizing data from public and private organizations to reliably examine the impact of COVID-19 on the state’s economy. The dashboard details numerous metrics on regional, demographic and industry sector levels. The Department says the Dashboard could help guide state and local leaders as they chart a path to an equitable, statewide economic recovery.  Visit: https://www.commerce.wa.gov/datadashboard/    (9/23/20)
  • King County Executive Dow Constantine has launched a Business and Workplaces website with tools and support needed for reopening. The site contains the Phase 2 requirements for businesses to reopen, and instructions on how to fulfill those requirements. The site also has checklists and training support. Visit: https://www.kingcounty.gov/elected/executive/constantine/covid-response/safe-start/workplaces.aspx    (9/23/20)
  • Washington State Department of Health reports the reproductive number (how many additional people each COVID-19 patient will infect) was close to one in Washington as of August 29.  They report an overall decline in case counts in western Washington, and an overall plateau in eastern Washington. These trends are not uniform very different trends are present from county to county. The risk remains high throughout the state. Because the vast majority of the population does not have immunity to COVID-19, an outbreak can quickly spread through a community and into the most vulnerable populations.   https://covid.idmod.org/data/WA_Situation_Report_16_COVID-19_transmission_across_Washington_State.pdf    (9/23/20)
  • Washington State Department of Health has updated the Phase 2 guidance for Personal Service Providers, any service that necessitates removal of a customer’s face covering (i.e. facial treatments or beard trimming).  Providers are required to wear N95 face coverings, meet maximum time requirements and have customer refrain from speaking while face coverings are removed.  Full guidance at https://www.governor.wa.gov/sites/default/files/COVID19Phase2PersonalServicesGuidance.pdf    (9/23/20)
  • Vashon Food Bank is looking for weather-proof bins to use for the expanded home delivery service due to COVID. Bin donations must be clean, with functioning lids, and large enough for at least two bags of groceries.  Bins can be left on the northside of the building at Sunrise Ridge if the office is closed. The Food Bank will reopen on Monday September 28th after this week’s break.   (9/23/20)
  • Based on the latest Key Indicator Dashboard, King County’s COVID-19 cases are declining, but they are still more than twice the target rate of 25 cases/100K residents over the past 14 days.  The positive rate in the County has slowly declined to about 2% (with tests remaining over 4K/day) which is good news.  However, according to Dr. James Bristow, leader of the MRC testing program, the positive rate on Vashon has increased to 2% for the month of September.  While the numbers are small and may be a statistical artifact, this is not because testing has increased (remaining at about 100 tests per week from all sources).  Dr. Bristow said “Continued caution in our daily lives remains essential for keeping us all safe!”  See the dashboard at https://kingcounty.gov/depts/health/covid-19/data/key-indicators.aspx   (9/21/20)
  • Coronavirus Food Assistance Program 2 (CFAP 2).  USDA will expand the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program for farmers or ranchers whose operation has been directly impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.  CFAP 2 applications will be accepted from September 21 through December 11, 2020.  For more information, Visit: https://www.farmers.gov/cfap   (9/21/20)
  • Canada extended the agreement to keep the U.S. border closed to non-essential travel to Oct. 21 during the coronavirus pandemic. Essential cross-border workers like healthcare professionals, airline crews and truck drivers are still permitted to cross. Americans who are returning to the U.S. and Canadians who are returning to Canada, are also exempted from the border closure.
  • On Saturday, September 19, Metro’s fall service revisions began.  Part of the revised schedule is to Vashon’s 118 and 119 buses, which will now only service the island stops.  To continue to Seattle riders now need to connect with the RapidRide C bus at the Fauntleroy ferry terminal.  https://kingcounty.gov/depts/transportation/metro/schedules-maps/service-change.aspx   (9/21/20)
  • The Seattle Metro Chamber opened a new round of grant funding, with $580,000 total to be awarded to King County small businesses and 501 (c)(6) non-profit business service organizations.  Businesses with 20 or fewer full-time employees can apply for awards of $5,000, $7,500 or $10,000 through the program, called the Federal CARES Act Small Business Emergency Grant Program.  Priority will be given to applications from minority and women-owned businesses and most impacted industries such as: Hospitality and Tourism, and Retail.  The Chamber is accepting applications through Monday, September 28 at 5:00 p.m.  Visit: https://www.kingcountyado.com/    (9/21/20)
  • The CARES Act Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) provides an additional 13 weeks of unemployment benefits (on top of the initial 26 weeks), which can cover through 12/26/2020.  To receive these benefits you must login and only click on Request PEUC Benefits.  If you need help filing for unemployment, the Chamber of Commerce Ask the Expert person will consult with you on how to proceed.  Email deborah@vashonbeprepared.org:or call (206) 200-3236.   (9/21/20)
  • The state's application for the Lost Wages Assistance program has been approved for a total of 6 weeks, between Aug 1 and Sept 5. Employment Security Department will start processing payments of $300 to eligible claimants for this new program on Monday, Sept. 21. Payments will be retroactive for all weeks for which the claimant was eligible, and for which funding is available from the federal government. Upon the processing date, eligible claimants will receive the funds as soon as their bank processes the payment. Visit: https://esd.wa.gov/unemployment/lwa   (9/18/20)
  • If you need help filing for unemployment, the Chamber of Commerce Ask the Expert person will consult with you on how to proceed.  Email deborah@vashonbeprepared.org:or call (206) 200-3236.   (9/18/20)
  • A Safe Start update will now allow Wedding and Funeral receptions to resume, as long as they meet specific requirements.  Receptions and ceremonies must be capped at 30 people, or 25% of venue occupancy, whichever is less.  In addition, all tables at the reception must be seated by household, with table sizes capped at 5 people.  Requirements for facial coverings, and social distancing must be maintained.   (9/18/20)https://www.governor.wa.gov/sites/default/files/COVID19%20Phase%202%20and%20Phase%203%20Wedding%20and%20Funeral%20Guidance.pdf  
  • Real Estate guidance has been amended to expand viewings, inspections, and other common activities. The number of people permitted at in-person real estate activities has expanded from three to five. This allows families and other parties to conduct walk-throughs, viewings, appraisals, and inspections. Physical distancing and cloth face coverings remain required precautions.  https://www.governor.wa.gov/sites/default/files/COVID19Phase2RealEstateGuidelines.pdf    (9/18/20)
  • The Washington State Department of Health (DOH) has been working on a COVID-19 vaccination plan, in order to be ready for whenever the vaccine becomes available.  The plan is being developed is based on the CDC prioritization playbook.  Because there won’t be a lot of vaccine available in the first round, the state will work on further prioritization. Some likely possibilities for the first priority groups to receive vaccine are: essential workers, health care workers and residents and workers at long-term care facilities.  The DOH says that all possible vaccine candidates are in various stages of testing in humans to ensure they are both safe and effective and that the Department will be closely monitoring the FDA approval process to make sure it is thorough and transparent.  https://www.doh.wa.gov/Newsroom/Articles/ID/2380/COVID-19-vaccine-update-Prioritization-and-pilot-project-plans   (9/18/20)
  • Two free classes are being offered to help parents detect and deal with substance abuse by their children. Vashon Alliance to Reduce Substance Abuse (VARSA) points out that dealing with COVID-19 for the past 6 months has been stressful for adults, teens and children alike. Parents need to be aware of the signs that their children, or the friends of their children, are suffering from depression or using drugs or alcohol to cope. One of the most effective ways to reduce and prevent underage substance use is to educate parents of teens. VARSA is offering two parent education webinars: (Registration is required, use the links below)   (9/18/20)
  • Tuesday, September 22  6:30-7:50 p.m.
    High in Plain Sight: Current Drug Trends, Concealment, and More
  • https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/8688774498342000908 
  • Thursday, September 24  6:30-7:50 p.m.
    Vape Pens & Dabbing: Various Vapes and Marijuana Concentrates
  • https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/8390937689098341900 
  • The National Weather Service and AirNow.gov forecasters say to expect continued smoke conditions into Saturday, although the situation should be improving. Tomorrow will be EPA-rated unhealthy due to particulates, improving gradually each day into the weekend. Most forecasts agree that the air quality rating could improve to Good on Sunday.   (9/16/20)
  • COVID-19 makes it especially important to limit exposure to wildfire smoke. Public Health –Seattle and King County recommends you stay indoors, with just members of your household, reduce physical activity, and keep indoor air clean.  To monitor Vashon air quality reports, visit: https://tinyurl.com/VashonAir   (9/16/20)
  • Puget Sound Clean Air Agency recommends some additional steps to limit your wildfire smoke exposure. Stock up on necessities like food, medications, and other items you may need for your family. so you can avoid going out. If your HVAC system can take one, install a high-efficiency HEPA filter and keep the system running on inside circulation on to help clean the air. You can also use a portable air cleaner or filter fan that has a HEPA filter to make the room even cleaner. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has detailed instructions and information on how to create a clean room.  Visit: https://www.epa.gov/indoor-air-quality-iaq/create-clean-room-protect-indoor-air-quality-during-wildfire    (9/16/20)
  • Department of Employment Security reports a small reduction in Vashon unemployment claims for the week ending September 5.  Vashon claims totaled 563, down from 578 the week prior.  The unemployment rate on Vashon is 12% compared to King County as a whole of 8.3%. If you need help filing for unemployment, the Chamber of Commerce Ask the Expert person will consult with you on how to proceed.  Email deborah@vashonbeprepared.org:or call (206) 200-3236.    (9/16/20)
  • Wildfire smoke & COVID-19 are a bad mix.  Wildfire smoke is making air quality “unhealthy” to “unhealthy for sensitive groups” expected in the area through the early next week. There were already limited ways to protect ourselves from wildfire smoke, and COVID-19 makes it even more challenging.  Public Health recommends you stay indoors, with just members of your household, reduce physical activity and keep indoor air clean.  Keep wearing your cloth face covering to protect yourself and others from COVID-19; unfortunately, the cloth face covering masks don’t help that much with smoke.  For more information and air quality reports, visit: https://wasmoke.blogspot.com/    (9/14/20)
  • Puget Sound Clean Air Agency recommends the following actions while air quality is hazardous:
  • To limit your time outdoors, stock up on necessities like food, medications, and other items you may need for your family.
  • If your air cleaner or HVAC system is designed to accommodate a high-efficiency HEPA filter, installing one and running the system during a smoke event can help keep your indoor air clean.
  • Designate a room in your home to be a “clean room.” This room should have as few windows or doors as possible, or they should be closed, to keep smoke out. Use a portable air cleaner or filter fan to make the room even cleaner. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has detailed instructions and information to create a clean room.  Visit: https://www.epa.gov/indoor-air-quality-iaq/create-clean-room-protect-indoor-air-quality-during-wildfire
  • If you have an air conditioner, use it in recirculation mode or close the fresh air intake to keep smoky air out of your home.   (9/14/20)
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says the best way to protect against the potentially harmful effects of wildfire smoke is to reduce your exposure to it.  It is also good to know the difference between symptoms from smoke exposure and COVID-19. Both wildfire smoke exposure and COVID-19 can produce symptoms such as dry cough, sore throat, and difficulty breathing.  But symptoms like fever or chills, muscle or body aches, and diarrhea are not related to smoke exposure.  If you have these symptoms, you should self-isolate and get tested.  https://www.cdc.gov/disasters/covid-19/wildfire_smoke_covid-19.html    (9/14/20)
  • King County Metro has announced fall service changes that are effective Sept. 19th.  These changes impact Routes 118E and 119E which will only serve stops on Vashon Island. For service to/from downtown Seattle, board the Fauntleroy/Vashon ferry and transfer to/from RapidRide C Line at the Fauntleroy ferry terminal.  Metro recommends you check schedules and service advisories before you travel.  Metro fares remain suspended through September.  For new schedules visit https://kingcounty.gov/depts/transportation/metro/schedules-maps/service-change.aspx    (9/14/20)
  • Story Time at Vashon Library.  Vashon Library is offering two Zoom story times for toddlers to preschool each Tuesday.  The programs encourage early literacy, early learning, and connect with other caregivers.  Baby and Young Toddler Story Time will be at 10:30am, bit.ly/vashonbabystorytime. The Preschool Story Time, will be at 2pm, bit.ly/vashonpreschoolstorytime.  To register visit the links above.    (9/14/20)
  • King County’s Key Indicators are showing positive results in the latest update posted this week.  The county is now missing the target levels for only two out of the eight indicator measures, down from four last week.  The targets met this week are the Re (reproductive number) and the number of persons tested.  The county still falls short on the total cases reported per 100K residents and how quickly testing is done after first symptoms.  County health officials said these results are encouraging but still only represent one week, the indictors need to meet the targets for three weeks before they are truly meaningful.  https://www.kingcounty.gov/depts/health/covid-19/data/key-indicators.aspx     (9/11/20)
  • Public Health – Seattle & King County reported some performance statistics for the county’s contact tracing operation over the most recent reporting week.  Of 583 positive tests, the contact tracers reached 88% within 24 hours.  These efforts identified 923 contacts and the county was able to reach 94% on them.  Over this period the median age of the positive tests was under 40 and the largest group were under 30.  (9/11/20)
  • September is National Suicide Prevention Month.  Washington State Department of Health reminds us that everyone has a role in suicide prevention.  LEARN Model Steps can help everyone identify the steps they can take to offer support:
  • Suicide Prevention Lifeline at (800) 273-8255 or chat online. Confidential support is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. Visit: https://intheforefront.org/LEARN/    (9/11/20)
  • If you missed VashonBePrepared’s Community Care Team Suicide Prevention Day program -- "Tales from the Edge: Suicide Survivors Share Their Stories", it can now be streamed at https://vimeo.com/vashoncenterforthearts/download/453355602/cdf0eed652   (9/11/20)
  • CDC has updated the guidance on how to keep your pets safe in the context of COVID-19. It appears that the virus can spread from people to animals in some situations. A small number of pets worldwide, including cats and dogs, have been reported to be infected with the virus that causes COVID-19, mostly after close contact with people with COVID-19. Infected pets might get sick or they might not have any symptoms. Of the pets that have gotten sick, most only had mild illness and fully recovered.  You should also avoid petting or playing with another person’s pets.  Visit:  https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/daily-life-coping/pets.html    (9/11/20)
  • A CDC study, found that people who tested positive for the coronavirus were about twice as likely as those who tested negative to have eaten at a restaurant in the two weeks before developing symptoms.  The study on community exposure looked at 314 adults.  Reduced ventilation of indoor dining and the inability to wear a mask while eating may make dining out a higher-risk activity. “As communities reopen, efforts to reduce possible exposures at locations that offer on-site eating and drinking options should be considered to protect customers, employees, and communities,” the study said.   https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/69/wr/mm6936a5.htm     (9/11/20)
  • A new forecast from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) now projects there will be 205,000 to 217,000 coronavirus deaths in the United States by Oct. 3. That forecast projects approximately 13,000 to 25,000 more people could die in the next three weeks. The previous forecast, projected up to 211,000 coronavirus deaths by September 26.  https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/covid-data/forecasting-us.html     (9/11/20)
  • Washington Health Plan Finder has extended the application deadline for the special enrollment period to Sept. 30th.  This allows individuals/families that experienced loss of coverage or drop-in income to gain insurance and be eligible for a health insurance subsidy.  On Vashon the Brown Agency offers free health insurance consultation and assistance, call 206.567.4600, or visit Washington Health Plans at www.wahealthplanfinder.org.   (9/11/20)
  • Washington State Department of Health (DOH) continues to make progress with COVID-19 vaccine distribution planning efforts.  However, they still do not know when a vaccine might be available.  “DOH is committed to science and the need to critically evaluate these new vaccines for their safety and efficacy in an unbiased way before their use,” said Dr. Kathy Lofy, State Health Officer. “We will be watching the FDA approval process closely to make sure it is thorough and transparent.”  https://www.doh.wa.gov/Newsroom/Articles/ID/2366/Update-on-COVID-19-vaccine-distribution-planning-progress-in-Washington-State     (9/11/20)
  • Congresswoman Jayapal is partnering with the Small Business Administration (SBA) to provide local businesses and organizations with a resources and planning workshop on the economic impacts from COVID-19.  Business or non-profit owners in the 7th Congressional District that are looking for resources to mitigate losses from COVID-19, should join the workshop and discussion on September 30th at 10AM.  SBA will provide an overview of programs and services for accessing federal funding, existing funding programs including EIDL, PPP loans and forgiveness, and funding to make your business more environmentally sustainable. There will also be time for you to ask SBA your questions directly. RSVP is required, register at https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSfywcgTG_Na53DMiVamobASW75RNWrgJYoeAiDYJVnRWeA6pQ/viewform    (9/11/20)
  • September is National Suicide Prevention Month. This year, with the extra stress of the pandemic, getting help when needed is more important than ever. On Vashon, we have two free support groups ready to help.  Vashon Youth and Family Services (VYFS) can provide counseling for residents of all ages, via phone, Zoom, or outdoors with social distancing.  Contact VYFS at 206-463-5511. A VashonBePrepared volunteer unit also offers a mental health resource, the Medical Reserve Corps Community Care Team Help Line at 206-701-0694. The Help Line is staffed from 8am to 8am every day, for referrals to spiritual support as well as mental health counseling.   (9/9/20)
  • King County Fire Marshal Chris Ricketts has issued a Stage 2 burn ban for King County, which prohibits all outdoor recreational fires. Outdoor cooking and heating appliances are limited to approved manufactured gas and charcoal units only.   (9/9/20)
  • Puget Sound Clean Air Agency has posted that air quality is considered unhealthy for all groups (not just sensitive groups) in many areas of the central Puget Sound region due to wildfire smoke. Variable winds are making it difficult to know how long these conditions will persist.  See a map of the region’s air quality at: https://secure.pscleanair.org/AirQuality/NetworkMap    (9/9/20)
  • Washington State Department of Health strongly discourages employers from requiring their employees to test negative before returning to work after a confirmed COVID-19 infection. People with confirmed COVID-19 infection who are not hospitalized can return to work after:
  • At least 10 days since symptoms first appeared, and
  • At least 24 hours with no fever without fever-reducing medication, and
  • Other symptoms of COVID-19 are improving (Note: Loss of taste and smell may persist for weeks or months after recovery and need not delay the end of isolation)

People with confirmed COVID-19 infection who were admitted to a hospital may need to stay in isolation up to 20 days since their symptoms first appeared. Repeat testing after COVID-19 is not generally recommended because recovered persons can shed pieces of the SARS-CoV-2 virus at very low levels in their nose and test positive for up to 3 months after illness onset. However, these individuals are not likely infectious to others.  https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/if-you-are-sick/isolation.html   (9/9/20)

  • Vashon Park District reminds residents that Ober Park Playground is closed.  The playground lacks the required sanitizing stations and staff to preform disinfections as required by state Safe Start orders.  Park’s plans to reopen the playground when Vashon moves to Phase 3 reopening.    (9/4/20)
  • Washington State Department of Health has said it “is closely monitoring progress toward development of a vaccine for COVID-19. We are engaged in vaccine planning efforts and we will be ready to distribute a safe and effective vaccine as soon as the time comes. However, all vaccine candidates are still in clinical trials to determine their safety and efficacy.  DOH’s position is that any COVID-19 vaccine should complete Phase 3 trials before being distributed, unless an independent board of scientists reviewing the data finds otherwise based on data from those trials. At this crucial juncture, it is incumbent upon the federal government to critically evaluate these new vaccines for their safety and efficacy in an unbiased way”.   (9/4/20)
  • The Department of Employment Security is offering monthly small business webinars to provide up-to-date information to assist businesses during the pandemic recovery.  Topics include unemployment insurance, returning employees to work, PPP and EIDL loans, workplace safety, face covering requirements, and other topics important to employers.  The next webinar will be held on Sept. 9 at 1:30 p.m.  Visit: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/small-business-requirements-and-resources-sbrr-covid-19-impact-webinar-tickets-105298340170    (9/4/20)
  • Department of Employment Security reports a small reduction in Vashon unemployment claims for the week of August 29.  Vashon claims totaled 578, down from 598 the week prior.  The unemployment rate on Vashon is 12% compared to King County as a whole of 8.3%.  If you need help filing for unemployment, the Chamber of Commerce Ask the Expert person will consult with you on how to proceed.  Email deborah@vashonbeprepared.org: or call (206) 200-3236.    (9/4/20)
  • Lost Wages Assistance:  The federal Lost Wages Assistance program has been approved by the federal government for up to five weeks of additional relief funding. This will allow the Washington Employment Security Department (ESD) to pay a boost of $300 per week for the weeks ending August 1st, 8th, 15th, 22nd, and 29th, to workers who received state unemployment benefits due to COVID-19 disruptions during those weeks. Participating states will be applying each week for funds from the LWA program, until LWA program funds are depleted. Payouts will be sent out starting on September 21st.  More info at https://esd.wa.gov/unemployment/lwa   (9/2/20)
  • Governor Inslee has announced that job search requirements for unemployment benefits remain suspended through Oct. 1. This means the soonest claimants will be required to actively seek work is Oct. 4.  If you need help filing for unemployment, the Chamber of Commerce Ask the Expert person will consult with you on options. Email deborah@vashonbeprepared.orgailto: or call (206) 200-3236.    (9/2/20)
  • King County Eviction Prevention and Rent Assistance Program announced a new $41.4 million program for emergency housing aid to for individuals and families throughout King County who have been economically impacted by COVID-19.  To be eligible for assistance, all tenants must have an income that is at or below 50 percent of the Area Median Income over the past 60 days, and must be partially or fully behind at least one month of rent since March 1, 2020. Tenants must also meet one of several secondary criteria, such as having high rent burden, a history of homelessness or eviction, or a disability. Visit:  https://kingcounty.gov/depts/community-human-services/COVID/eviction-prevention-rent-assistance.aspx  (9/2/20)

Situation Reports

The Situational Awareness team of the Vashon Emergency Operations Center is tasked with monitoring the COVID-19 event and reporting relevant information and updates to the VashonBePrepared teams and public.

Below you'll find links to PDF's of the full Vashon Situation Reports. As of June 29, 2020, they will be published Monday, Wednesday and Friday only.

To the left we have posted the first three sections which contain the latest report updates.

We update Voice of Vashon Alerts: Subscribe for email updates and check Vashon Emergency News for additional sources of regional emergency news.