Situation Report for June 11, 2021

  • 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 at www.VoiceofVashon.org/alertsignup or view current email version here. See archived items in the PDF section to the right on this Situation Report page.
    • Spanish translations of each Situation Report are available. Email: laguilarkir@gmail.com to receive them via email. 
    • La traducción del SitRep o Reporte de la Situación en la isla, está disponible en español. Pare recibir una copia por correo, pídala a: laguilarkir@gmail.com  
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Vashon Vaccine Availability: 
 
The Overview: Vaccine supplies continue to meet or exceed demand, with plenty of vaccine doses in stock to provide islanders with their injections, although fewer people need the service now that the island's first-dose vaccination rate has hit nearly 90%.

Vaccinations Free to All: All COVID-19 vaccinations are free to all.  If you have insurance, you'll be asked for your information so providers can recover the cost of administering the free vaccine, but there's no co-pay. If you do not have insurance, the cost is covered anyway and you will not be charged.

School Vaccinations: Two days of vaccination clinics were held this week at Vashon High School and McMurray Middle School, completing the mobile vaccination clinic project at the School District. Students who still need a first or second dose of vaccine, but were not able to participate in the school clinics, can make arrangements at Vashon Pharmacy or Sea Mar Clinic (see details below).

Get Your Second Dose: Vaccination completion by Vashon residents continues to improve, but there is still a 16-point gap between first-dose recipients and those who have gained full vaccination protection by getting two doses. Even if you got your first dose at an off-island provider, you can go to Sea Mar Clinic or Vashon Pharmacy to complete your vaccination (see details below). When coming for a second dose, bring your vaccination card, so the vaccinators can be sure to give you the correct vaccine and check for proper spacing between your first and second doses. Nearly all vaccine recipients in our community have received the Moderna or Pfizer vaccines, which each require two doses.  But anyone who got a Johnson and Johnson injection has already completed their vaccination course, since the J&J vaccine requires only a single dose.

Vashon Pharmacy Vaccinations: To get your first-dose vaccination, you are encouraged to go to VashonPharmacy.com/COVID to pre-register and make an appointment, which could save you some time. However, on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday (9:00am to 12:00pm and 1:00pm to 4:00pm), you may also drop in without an appointment if you prefer. Just go to the white vaccination tents at the rear of the Pharmacy, or look for a sign directing you to go inside the Pharmacy. If you need your second dose to complete your vaccination, you may call the Pharmacy at (206) 463-9118, or you can drop in without an appointment on Tuesday, Thursday or Saturday to see if the vaccine type you need is on offer, either at the tents or inside the Pharmacy. Tomorrow, Saturday, all three vaccine types will be available: Moderna, Pfizer, and J&J.

Sea Mar Clinic Vaccinations: As demand for vaccinations has declined, Sea Mar has been adjusting its vaccination operations. In order to avoid wasting leftover vaccine from the multi-dose vials they are trying to concentrate patients into a few days a week. To find out when Sea Mar is offering vaccinations, and what vaccine is on offer, go to SeaMar.org/COVID-Vaccine. You can also make an appointment in advance and be sure of getting your injection by calling the Sunrise Ridge clinic at (206) 463 -3671.
 
Current Virus Statistics:
 
Vashon Island COVID-19 Case Count as of 6/11/21:*
  • 121 confirmed positive cases, 4 people have been hospitalized, 3 deaths
  • Since the last report, Vashon has had 0 new cases
  • 8,578 (89.7%) 12+ year-old residents have received one vaccine dose, and 74.4% received 2 doses
King County COVID-19 Case Count as of 6/11/21:*
  • 106,254 confirmed positive cases, 741 new since last Situation Report
  • 1,613 deaths, 14 new since last Situation Report
  • 1,484,440 (75.5%) 12+ year-old residents have received one vaccine dose, and 65.6% received 2 doses
Washington State COVID-19 Case Count as of 6/10/21 (vaccinations data as of 6/9/21):*
  • 443,454 confirmed positive cases, 4,191 new since last Situation Report 
  • 5,815 deaths, -30 since last Situation Report 
  • 7,375,424 (64.3%) 16+ year-old residents have received one vaccine dose, and 56.7% received 2 doses
*Note 1: The statistics above are from the Public Health – Seattle & King County dashboard as of the date listed. Numbers may not be complete, as data processing lags and the actual number of cases, hospitalizations, and deaths may not yet match the dashboard.
 
Note 2: The federal HIPAA Act prohibits Public Health - Seattle & King County (PHSKC) from releasing the names of patients. 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 dashboard.

Health Tips:

Researchers say Washington State’s COVID-19 exposure notification tool, WA Notify, saved an estimated 30 to 120 lives and likely prevented about 6,000 COVID-19 cases during the first four months that it was in use. Researchers at the University of Washington School of Public Health and the Washington State Department of Health (DOH) conducted a modeling study of the free tool, and released their results this week. Their analysis offers the first estimate of the public health value of Bluetooth exposure notification systems in the U.S. More than two million people have enabled WA Notify since its launch on Nov. 30, 2020. The tool sends alerts to users if they may have been exposed to COVID-19. It works through smartphones without sharing any personal information. One-third of all smartphone users in the state have activated WA Notify, and Washington ranks highly compared with other states for adoption of the exposure notification tool. “The goal for exposure notification is to help more people get the information and care they need more quickly, so they can avoid spreading COVID-19 to others,” says Lacy Fehrenbach, Deputy Secretary for COVID-19 Response at DOH. “We are thrilled to see how well it has worked so far.” https://www.doh.wa.gov/Newsroom/Articles/ID/2827/Researchers-from-UW-and-DOH-find-WA-Notify-exposure-notification-tool-is-saving-lives

New Developments since Last Report:

Washington State will reopen, with one exception, on June 30 or earlier, Gov. Jay Inslee confirmed at a media briefing. Limits on capacity will be lifted for all businesses, except for large indoor event venues. Venues that can accommodate 10,000 or more people will continue to be restricted to 75% capacity as a precaution to limit the spread of COVID-19. However, other businesses, including restaurants, bars, theaters and fitness centers, will no longer be limited to 50% of capacity. Inslee also said that in Washington State, 66% of people ages 16 and older have received at least an initial dose of a COVID-19 vaccine; that in King County in April and May, 98% of people hospitalized for COVID-19 treatment had not been vaccinated; and that people who are not vaccinated against the disease are 21 times more likely to contract COVID. https://www.thenewstribune.com/news/coronavirus/article252008683.html 

The governor and the legislature are reinstating the job-search requirement for anyone claiming unemployment benefits.  Beginning the week of July 5, 2021, claimants will be required to conduct and report at least 3 job-search activities each week to continue claiming benefits. The Employment Security Department (ESD) has a preliminary list of acceptable job search activities (https://esd.wa.gov/unemployment/job-search-requirements) and will publish additional guidance starting next week. For career-development and job-search assistance, contact the Chamber's Ask the Expert barb@mcmahonconsult.com. For questions about unemployment benefits, contact deborah@vashonbeprepared.org.

Seattle is the first major American city to fully vaccinate 70% of its residents 12 years-old and older against coronavirus, Mayor Jenny Durkan announced. “When we launched our vaccination effort earlier this year, I said that I wanted Seattle to become the first major American city to fully vaccinate 70% of its residents,” Durkan said. Seattle beat San Francisco as the first city to fully vaccinate 70% of residents, however San Francisco has a higher proportion of residents with at least one dose of the vaccine. Currently, 78% of Seattle residents 12 years old and older have gotten at least one dose of the coronavirus vaccine. https://mynorthwest.com/2958300/seattle-becomes-most-vaccinated-city-in-us

King County Council passed a $631 million COVID-19 relief budget.  Council members said the COVID-19 pandemic underscored how important it is to drive equitable investments into our communities, and this principle guided their budget priorities. This emergency funding includes:
  • $36 million to help local arts and culture industries recover.
  • $67 million for jobs and economic recovery.
  • $117 million for vaccination efforts.
  • $256 million for rental assistance, food security, and other essential community supports.

Vashon’s COVID-19 RV dump service now comes to the island every other Wednesday. People wanting this service need to first sign up, and then the Honey Bucket pumper truck can come regularly to the place the RV or trailer is located. This is a trial program running through December. Contact Hilary Emmer at 206-463-7277 or email: hilonvashon@yahoo.com 

Public Health – Seattle & King County has released a merged COVID-19 guidance for housing managers, staff and residents. The State of Washington does not have specific guidance for housing managers and staff, but much of the guidance for different industries that are included on this page will provide relevant information and resources for apartment buildings, condominiums, and other residential communities. https://kingcounty.gov/depts/health/covid-19/housing.aspx  

Gov. Inslee extends the Family Emergency Assistance Program (FEAP). The extension to cover families without children, effective starting on June 14, allows for the FEAP to assist families, both with and without children, who continue to suffer economic hardship during the pandemic. The program is in effect until June 30 or until funding is exhausted, whichever occurs first. For more information, visit https://www.dshs.wa.gov/esa/emergency-assistance-programs/emergency-assistance-programs-additional-requirements-emergent-needs-aren

Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler has extended two emergency orders. One requires health insurers to waive co-pays and deductibles for any consumer requiring testing for COVID-19. The other protects consumers from receiving surprise bills for lab fees related to medically necessary diagnostic testing for COVID-19. Both are extended until July 11, 2021. https://content.govdelivery.com/accounts/WAOIC/bulletins/2d942df 

Progress on Community Support Operations:

Emergency Operations Center (EOC): Vashon's pandemic emergency response was activated 15 months ago (457 days). Our current operational priorities are health, food security, housing security, and economic recovery, as established by the Incident Commander, Fire Chief Charlie Krimmert, and approved by the VashonBePrepared Board.

MRC/Testing: Plans are almost completed to make sure Vashon residents will still have access to COVID-19 testing on the island, even after the pandemic activation winds down to monitoring/standby mode. The plan will include continued testing and contact tracing services for anyone experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, as well as access to home testing for those who need testing for other purposes, such as travel or prior to a medical procedure.

EOC/MRC/CERT: Collaboration continues with both of the island vaccination sites, Sea Mar clinic and Vashon Pharmacy, to ensure that island residents will have local access to COVID-19 vaccination. The ongoing gradual wind-down of the intensive volunteer support at Vashon Pharmacy will not end local vaccination.

VashonBePrepared.org:  We launched a project this week to begin transitioning the coalition's website back to its pre-pandemic status. Initially, the COVID-19 information page will continue to greet visitors first, as the dominant topic of island interest. Over the next few months, the website will begin moving to emphasize other hazards in the mission of the VashonBePrepared coalition, such as wildfire risk, winter weather, and next year's multi-state Cascadia Rising earthquake exercise.

Vashon COVID Relief Fund:  The June disbursement to VashonBePrepared's social service and economic recovery agencies is in preparation stages. The VashonBePrepared Board will meet next week to discuss next steps, including the establishment of a permanent reserve fund to make it possible to activate rapidly in response to a future emergency.

Items from Previous Situation Reports:

PDF Archive of items from April here (previous months available to the right)
See Food and Housing security items below Previous Developments

Previous Developments:

●King County Health Officer Dr. Jeff Duchin has issued a Local Health Officer directive that strongly urges everyone to continue wearing a face mask in indoor public settings, whether or not they are vaccinated. The directive acknowledges the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) guidelines released last week but takes into account King County’s local COVID-19 infection situation. Dr. Duchin’s directive asks that masking continue for a little while longer, until local case rates and hospitalizations come down further, and vaccination rates are higher. Public Health – Seattle & King County recommends that businesses who serve the public continue policies to ensure customers and employees wear masks indoors. Duchin says, “We have no way to know who is vaccinated and who isn’t, and it’s impractical for businesses to determine that.”

●The CDC guidance was to allow vaccinated people to be unmasked in indoor spaces, but it also said ending indoor mask mandates should be linked to local circumstances according to local regulation.

●Governor Inslee issued a proclamation in support of local authorities and individual businesses making their own decisions about mask usage. So with the backing of the state and county, each Vashon business is allowed to set its own mask guidance, and customers may still be required to wear masks.

●King County’s directive to continue wearing masks indoors, while not a binding mandate, is a strong recommendation to continue the protection for now to get us back to normal.


Vaccination rates change: Since the eligibility age for COVID-19 vaccination dropped from age 16 to age 12, King County has updated its vaccination data to reflect the percentage of people aged 12 and over who are partially or fully vaccinated. Consequently, Vashon’s first dose vaccination rate has dropped from 85.5% to 81.7%, when taking into account this newly larger population of recipients. It will take another 3-4 weeks for the first set of 12- to 15-year olds who got shots to be fully vaccinated, when we can expect the overall rate to catch up to its former higher level.    (5/21/21)

Vaccinations in Schools: Vashon Pharmacy staff and Medical Reserve Corps volunteers, have given first doses to 408 12- to 18-year-old students at four Vashon High School and McMurray Middle School vaccination clinics over the last few weeks. Seventy of the older students, who received their first doses before the younger group became eligible, have now received their second doses. Two more school clinics will provide second doses on June 7th and 10th.   (5/21/21)

King County Reaches Targets on Key Indicators. King County has brought its case and hospitalization rates down below the target numbers set by the state. The rate of new COVID cases per 100,000 residents over the past 14 days recently fell below 200. It rose to a high of 460 in November, and didn’t fall below the mark until the end of January. The new-case rate rose above 200 again in early April, but now, with vaccinations widespread, it’s expected to stay below 200. The rate of new hospitalizations per 100,000 residents over the past seven days has followed a similar path, and fell below 5 earlier this month. These trends, mirrored around the state, have allowed all counties to enter Phase 3 of reopening, and to continue the path to expected full reopening at the end of June.

Hospitalization rates much higher for unvaccinated. Washington Department of Health (DOH) has reported that the hospital admission rate in unvaccinated individuals aged 45 to 64 is about 18 times higher than rates for people in this age group who are fully vaccinationed. The hospital admission rate in unvaccinated individuals 65 and older is approximately 11 times that of fully protected individuals in this age group. This difference is growing more pronounced as more people reach full vaccination status.   (5/21/21)

Funding assistance for computers and broadband internet service. Vashon Island School District reminds everyone that the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program is providing both temporary support for monthly internet service bills and one-time discounts for computer purchases, not just for households with students. If your household meets one of several criteria (which are fairly wide and include people on public benefits and/or impacted by COVID income loss), you may receive up to $50/month for broadband and equipment rentals, and a discount of up to $100 on the purchase of a computer or tablet. The program will continue until it runs out of money or the COVID emergency ends. https://www.getemergencybroadband.org   (5/21/21)

Gov. Jay Inslee announced today a two-week pause in phase changes for Washington State’s reopening plan. This means all counties will remain in their current reopening phases for the time being, despite a surge in the number of COVID cases and hospitalizations.  King county will remain in Phase 3, while Pierce county will stay in Phase 2.  Inslee said he decided a pause is the best strategy because the current surge - or "fourth wave" - in the state's number of COVID cases and hospitalizations appears to have reached a plateau.  Hospitalizations are up, but hospital stays are shorter and staff are able to handle the increase, he said.  "While we’re pausing today, it doesn’t mean we have a clear path out of these phases either.  But we do have a choice in these next couple weeks to get vaccinated and take more control over the course of this pandemic," Inslee said,  "We attribute this change to our vaccination progress and our prioritization to vaccinate the most vulnerable first to help save lives."  https://medium.com/wagovernor/inslee-announces-two-week-pause-on-phases-efd9d63c4500    (5/4/21)

●      Voice of Vashon is running new COVID-19 Public Service Announcements (PSAs) to support the Island’s response.  The four PSAs will be posted in the next few Situation Reports.  You can listen to the PSA at the link below.  PSA~COVID 1: “Ever see one of those football highlights where a player is headed for a touchdown and then he gets cocky, slows down just before he scores, starts celebrating early, and a defender knocks the ball out of his hands just before the end zone? Yeah, well, some of us have become that guy when it comes to COVID-19. Maybe we’ve been vaccinated and feel like it’s all downhill from here so we let down our guard and here comes COVID to knock the ball out of our hands. This is not the time to let up. You know the drill. Mask up, keep your distance, avoid crowds, and wash your hands. We will eventually get to do our choreographed end zone dance with our friends, but with cases on the rise, and variants on the move, we aren’t there yet. Stay the course, Vashon.”  http://www.voiceofvashon.org/user-content/psa-covid-1/    (5/4/21)

  • Gov. Jay Inslee approved an update to the guidance documents for operations and visitation at long term care facilities.  The guidance documents were amended to align with recent CDC recommendations regarding what infection control practices should be in place when planning for or allowing communal activities, such as group activities or communal dining.  The changes will allow residents who are fully vaccinated to choose to have close contact with other fully vaccinated individuals, and to not wear masks during the activity.  The changes are effective immediately.  For specific details visit: https://www.governor.wa.gov/news-media/inslee-announces-update-long-term-care-facility-guidance   (5/4/21)

    Gov. Jay Inslee announced updates to the guidance to establish separate sections for vaccinated people at sporting events, graduations, religious services, and other similar activities.  The change, which is effective immediately, allows vaccinated sections to increase allowed capacity.

       

      ●Outdoor facilities may add vaccinated sections until their total capacity is 50% maximum or 22,000 people, whichever is lower,

      ●Indoor facilities may add vaccinated sections until their total capacity is 50% maximum, up to a maximum of 2,000 people. 

      ●Indoor spectator events and religious and faith-based organizations may also increase capacity by adding sections for vaccinated attendees.  

      Under the updated guidance, the following are acceptable as proof of full vaccination: Vaccination card (which includes name of person vaccinated, type of vaccine provided and date final dose administered) OR a photo of a vaccination card as a separate document OR a photo of the attendee’s vaccine card stored on a phone or electronic device OR documentation of vaccination from a healthcare provider electronic health record or state Immunization Information System record. Self-reported vaccination records that are not verified by a health care provider cannot be accepted.  For more details, visit: https://www.governor.wa.gov/news-media/inslee-announces-update-spectator-event-and-religious-organization-guidance    (5/4/21)

      COVID infections and hospitalization rates are ratcheting higher than the initial surge of cases last year in Washington State, public health officials say.  This is happening despite efforts to get more people vaccinated against the contagious disease.  "What we’re seeing is a little bit scary," said Dr. Amy Compton Phillips, CEO for the Providence Hospital System.  "We had about 500 more people this April in our hospitals across our footprint than we had last April, so we’re actually seeing more cases now than we were last April when the whole world was shut down."  And she said those patients are skewing about 10 years younger than last year.  “About one quarter of those cases are under the age of 40 - and they're healthier to start with, with fewer chronic conditions like diabetes or hypertension,” Phillips says.  https://komonews.com/news/local/covid-4th-wave-more-cases-younger-patients-than-initial-surge-in-wash-state     (5/4/21)

      Seattle Sounders FC add vaccines to their game plan.  Now that the players and support staff are fully vaccinated, the team is offering fans vaccinations during Sounders home games at Lumen Field..  All COVID-19 vaccinations are free of charge and are being made available on a walk-up basis with no appointments necessary.  Two locations will serve those in attendance: one in the West Field Plaza outside of section 140, and the second in the East Main Concourse outside of section 104.  Vaccinations will be available starting when gates open, and running through the end of the match.  https://www.soundersfc.com/post/2021/04/29/sounders-fc-announces-team-fully-vaccinated-partners-virginia-mason-franciscan    (5/4/21)

      Restaurant Revitalization Fund (RRF) application period is open.  The federal Small Business Administration has established the RRFto provide funding to help restaurants and other eligible businesses keep their doors open.  For eligibility and how to apply, visit: https://www.sba.gov/funding-programs/loans/covid-19-relief-options/restaurant-revitalization-fund     (5/4/21)

      ●The Washington State Department of Commerce is partnering with ArtsFund to provide over $10 million in grants to help community organizations across the state that have been impacted by the pandemic.  The Nonprofit Community Relief grant program focuses on arts, culture, science and heritage nonprofits, as well as organizations whose primary mission is to serve veterans, neighborhood organizations and sports and recreation programs for adults and/or children. The grant application portal opens May 10.  http://www.artsfund.org/ncrgrants    (5/4/21)

      ●The King County Eviction Prevention and Rental Assistance Program (EPRAP) is now accepting landlord applications. EPRAP will help King County residents in danger of eviction by paying past, current, and future rent.  Payments go directly to landlords or property owners.  The goal is to deploy multiple ways to get rent assistance efficiently to those at the highest risk of eviction.  The phased enrollment should significantly reduce duplication of registrations and facilitate smoother and faster payments for all. Landlords with five units behind on rent can now sign up to receive rent assistance for eviction prevention. For tenants needing rental assistance, King County is scheduled to make applications for tenants starting on May 17th.   https://kingcounty.gov/depts/community-human-services/COVID/eviction-prevention-rent-assistance.aspx    (5/4/21)

      ●The White House on Tuesday told states that coronavirus vaccine supply they choose not to order will become available to other states, instead of allowing unordered doses to carry over week to week.  The strategy could transform how vaccine supplies flow across the country.  In the next phase of the immunization campaign, defined by efforts to improve access and build confidence, “there is a need to add more flexibility to the current system,” said Jeff Zients, coordinator of the White House coronavirus task force.  https://www.washingtonpost.com/health/2021/05/04/vaccine-distribution-biden/    (5/4/21)

      Vaccine hesitancy is a complex combination of challenges facing ongoing vaccination efforts, including barriers to accessing vaccination, vaccine hesitancy, and denialism.  A Kaiser Family Foundation survey observed declining vaccine hesitancy from December 2020 through March 2021.  Overall vaccine hesitancy and opposition—those who would “wait and see,” get vaccinated “only if required,” or “definitely not” get vaccinated—decreased from 64% to 37%.  Notably, “wait and see” responses fell from 39% to 17% over that period, indicating increased confidence among those who were uncertain.  These data were collected prior to the temporary suspension of the J&J-Janssen vaccine.  With vaccine supply now exceeding demand, it is critical to identify and implement effective mechanisms to engage individuals and populations that have not yet been vaccinated.  Some people in higher-risk professions—including law enforcement, long-term care facility personnel, and healthcare workers in rural areas—as well as in certain rural communities, have lower vaccination coverage.  It is also important to continue public education regarding the benefits and timing of second doses, to ensure vaccinated individuals develop full protection.  https://khn.org/news/article/covid-vaccine-hesitancy-drops-among-americans-new-kff-survey-shows/    (5/4/21)

      The Overview: Both of the island's active vaccination providers have been working to pivot in response to the trend of declining demand for vaccination at the same time that vaccine supplies have been readily available.   For some weeks, one or the other or both of the island's two active providers have been providing at least some vaccine doses each day, Monday through Saturday.  They both plan to continue that level of service.

      Free: All vaccinations are free to all.  You'll be asked for insurance information if you have it, but there's no co-pay.  If you do not have insurance, the cost is covered anyway and you will not be charged.

      12- to 15-Year Olds: The FDA will likely authorize Pfizer vaccine for this new younger age group, possibly as soon as this coming week.  Plans are in the works to provide vaccinations for this age group at McMurray Middle School and Vashon High School.  The timing of these school-based vaccination clinics will be announced soon, pending availability of vaccine and following final FDA authorization.

      Vashon Pharmacy: The Pharmacy site begins vaccination this week for people who just walk up with no appointment.  Check in at the Pharmacy vaccination tents any Tuesday, Thursday, or Saturday from 9:00am to 4:00pm for a no-appointment-required vaccination.  If you prefer to make an appointment, you can go to the schedule page at VashonPharmacy.com/COVID.  It's wide open most days, with none of the computer traffic jams of a few months ago.  Those arriving with appointments by car should check for signs at the alley entrance and at the welcome tent in the movie theater parking lot.  Depending on the day's work load, arrivals may be directed through a drive-through vaccination process, or they may be asked to park somewhere in the area and go on foot to the vaccination site next to the Pharmacy.  Again, vaccinations are free to all.

      Sea Mar Clinic: The clinic at Sunrise Ridge also will vaccinate walk-ups without an appointment most weekdays. You can check availability on the Sea Mar website daily to find out what vaccine is on offer, and to make sure they'll be open: SeaMar.org/COVID-Vaccine.  If you'd like to make an appointment, you can do it by calling Sunrise Ridge clinic at (206) 463-3671, or you can stop by in person to make an appointment.  Like the Pharmacy, there's no charge.  They will take your insurance information and there's no co-pay. If you don't have insurance, the federal government covers the cost.

      King County COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations rising sharply.  Since our last report on Tuesday, new cases per 100,000 residents over 14 days has risen from 229 to 245.5.  Hospitalizations per 100,000 residents over seven days is up to 6.1 from 5.5.  These data greatly exceed the values King County must maintain (under 200 new cases and under 5 hospitalizations) to remain in Phase 3 of the recovery plan.  In a press conference yesterday, Gov. Jay Inslee said they have no plans to make adjustments to the stated plan targets, meaning King County will roll back to Phase 2.  The next evaluation day is Tuesday, May 3, and typically the orders to roll back have been made effective a few days later. More than 90% of the newly hospitalized cases are in unvaccinated people, so encourage Vashon Island School District Healthy Start program is establishing a Bus Safety Monitor program.  They are looking for volunteers who would help monitor bus safety on our AM routes.  It is preferable that volunteers are fully vaccinated against COVID-19.  The deadline for responding for filling out the request form is Sunday, May 2nd.  Coordination of the program and training of volunteers will begin the week of May 3rd with the volunteer monitor program starting May 10th.  Visit: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1S6unvUXUyIQeU4Hrh12Lr6b8jZ6Xq3iDyrvCS5AWGgo/edit   (4/30/21)

      Vashon Island is showing signs of economic recovery after over one year of the pandemic.  The number of unemployment claims from island residents is less than one-third of the number of claims from one year ago.  Current claims are at 339, down from 1,080 last April.  If you have questions about unemployment or need assistance in filing, contact deborah@vashonbeprepared.org or phone/text her at 206-200-3236.     (4/30/21)

      PHSKC has updated its frequently asked questions about schools and child care during COVID-19.  A new section has been added to answer questions about cleaning and disinfecting school facilities.  The website provides guidance for proper and improper cleaning techniques for use in the school and child care settings.  Go to the bottom of the website at: https://kingcounty.gov/depts/health/covid-19/schools-childcare/FAQ.aspx      (4/30/21)

      People who misplace their CDC COVID-19 vaccination cards can easily view their immunization records online using MyIR, which is the state’s free and secure immunization records system.  Once registered, you can access your family’s immunizations records any time you need them.  If you are unable to access your records online, you can visit a local pharmacy, clinic, or school to register for MyIR, request records from your healthcare provider, or request an immunization record from DOH.  If a provider has an extra CDC card available, they may be able to issue a new vaccination card.  DOH recommends you laminate your card once you have completed your vaccine series, and keep it in a secure location. Take a photo of it for your records and keep the photo on your phone. Visit: https://wa.myir.net/      (4/30/21)

      Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler has extended two emergency orders. One requires health insurers to waive co-pays and deductibles for any consumer requiring testing for COVID-19. The other protects consumers from receiving surprise bills for lab fees related to medically necessary diagnostic testing for COVID-19. Both are extended until May 30, 2021.   https://www.insurance.wa.gov/sites/default/files/documents/emergency-order-20-02-extension-13.pdf      (4/30/21)

      The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) announced Friday it has extended its orders requiring people to wear masks in transportation settings, including at airports, on commercial aircraft and on buses and trains, through Sept. 13.  TSA officials said the extension of its mask requirements is consistent with updated policies from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Under TSA rules, penalties for noncompliance start at $250 and increase to $1,500 for repeat offenders.  (4/30/21)

      The Overview: The trend of evening out of demand and plentiful vaccine supply continues.  For some weeks, the island’s two active providers have been offering some vaccine doses each day. They plan to continue providing some vaccination availability each day, Monday through Saturday.  Vashon's first-dose vaccination rate is currently at 76.4% for those 16 years and over.

      Vashon Pharmacy: The Pharmacy site has been converted to a hybrid traffic pattern.  It can now easily switch between drive-through and walk-up vaccination services as needed, depending on the number of people who are expected on any given day for shots.  The tent area just outside the Pharmacy has been expanded to more comfortably provide shelter for injections and the seating for the 15-minute required medical observation period.  A walk-up greeter desk has been set up so that on walk-up days, patients do not need to drive through the greeter/staging area at the movie theater parking lot.  Next week, there will be two days when walk-up patients will get vaccinated on an all-comers basis, with no appointment required.  The Vashon Pharmacy appointment signup website has been open most of this past week for those who prefer to plan ahead to a specific time: http://www.VashonPharmacy.com/COVID

      Sea Mar: The Sunrise Ridge clinic will be open for walk-up vaccinations each day next week. However, the clinic requests that patients check in advance before coming, so the vials of vaccine can be managed to avoid wasting any doses.  Also, there will be some Pfizer vaccine available for first doses in the coming week, which is helpful for 16- and 17-year olds, since only Pfizer vaccine is approved for that age group.  To verify vaccine availability, and to make an appointment if desired, Sea Mar asks that patients check the website or call a central vaccination-only appointment number.  The website listing is: https://seamar.org/covid-vaccine.  The central vaccination appointment number is (855) 289-4503.

      High School: The vaccination campaign at Vashon High School has been completed, with roughly 80 16-, 17- and 18-year olds getting their first COVID-19 vaccination shots.  They have also been scheduled for their second doses.

      Second dose appointments can be made at Vashon Pharmacy for those that received their first shot off-island.  To make an appointment, call the Pharmacy at 206-463-9118 and select option 9 to leave a message for an appointment; include which vaccine you received for your first dose.  Do not use the online portal for second dose appointments.  Make sure your appointment is the appropriate time from the first dose, three weeks for Pfizer and four weeks for Moderna.  If you received your first dose at the Pharmacy, you already have an appointment scheduled. For all second-dose appointments, bring your vaccine card with you. 

      Rollback to Phase 2 for King County seems likely after the state evaluates data on May 3rd.  “Our current metrics put us at a very high risk of rolling back to Phase 2,” according to King County Health Officer Dr. Jeff Duchin.  In order to remain in Phase 3 of reopening, King County must maintain a case rate under 200 new cases per 100,000 residents over 14 days, and under 5 hospitalizations per 100,000 over seven days.  As of today’s Situation Report, the county is over those marks by a wide margin. King County’s 14 day average shows more than 229 new cases per 100,000 and 5.5 hospitalizations.  Dr. Duchin continued: “As of today, this surge has continued to grow, despite the precautions we’re currently taking as a community,” he cautioned.  More troublingly, hospitalizations are rising in younger people, indicated by the fact over the last week, more people aged 20 to 29 years old were hospitalized in King County than people over 70.  Meanwhile, 8% of the county’s COVID-related deaths in the last 28 days have come from the 25 to 49 year-old age group, up from 2.5%.   https://publichealthinsider.com/2021/04/23/video-dr-jeff-duchin-discusses-covid-19-trends-and-vaccine-distribution-april-23-2021/     (4/27/21)

      What will Phase 2 rollback mean for Vashon?  Capacity for many businesses would be reduced from the current 50% capacity to 25%, including eating and drinking establishments, retail stores, personal and professional services, and worship services.  Indoor and outdoor sports, fitness, and entertainment capacity would be reduced by half.  Social and at-home gatherings (indoor and outdoor) would be reduced for both the maximum number of persons and limits on the number of participating households.  For a Phase summary, visit: https://www.governor.wa.gov/sites/default/files/HealthyWashingtonPhasedChart.pdf    (4/27/21)

      Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) relaxes mask guidance for fully vaccinated persons.  If you are fully vaccinated, you no longer need to wear a mask outdoors if you’re walking, running, hiking or biking alone, are with members of your household, or are attending a small outdoor gathering.  But the CDC is continuing their advice on other safety measures, saying vaccinated adults should continue wearing masks and staying six feet apart in large public spaces, like outdoor performance or sports events, indoor shopping malls and movie theaters, where the vaccination and health status of others is unknown.  And you still should avoid medium and large gatherings, crowds, and poorly ventilated spaces.  Proper mask usage not only protects you, but helps protect unvaccinated people.  Early evidence suggests that vaccinated people may be significantly less likely to transmit the virus, but the exact risks are not yet known.  https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/daily-life-coping/participate-in-activities.html     (4/27/21)

      Gov. Jay Inslee announced the authorization of resuming use of the Johnson & Johnson/Janssen COVID-19 vaccine by the Western States Scientific Safety Review Workgroup, effective April 24th.  “The benefits of the J&J vaccine outweigh the risks associated with it,” Inslee said. “We want to keep as many people free from COVID and out of the hospital as possible, and the J&J vaccine will help us get through this pandemic.  I encourage people to get whatever vaccine is available to them.  If you have questions or concerns, consult a provider to help answer questions you have.”  https://www.doh.wa.gov/Newsroom/Articles/ID/2756/Washington-state-resumes-use-of-Johnson-Johnson-vaccine    (4/27/21)

      COVID-19 immunity increases, but not enough to slow transmission, reports Washington State Department of Health (DOH).  “Vaccination is working, but immunity isn’t high enough yet to combat increasing disease levels.  All of us, including people who are fully vaccinated, need to keep taking steps to slow the spread while we vaccinate more people,” said Acting State Health Officer Dr. Scott Lindquist.  The report includes two estimates of the reproductive number (Re), which tells us how many additional people each new COVID-19 case will infect.  The behavior-based Re only reflects the impact people’s actions have on transmission, with a best estimate of 1.72 on April 2.  The total Ralso includes the effects of immunity from vaccination or previous infection, with a best estimate of 1.29 on April 2.  To reduce new cases and hospital admission rates, the total Re needs to stay well below one for a substantial amount of time, and it depends on both population behavior and immunity.  https://www.doh.wa.gov/Portals/1/Documents/1600/coronavirus/data-tables/820-114-SituationReport-20210421.pdf    (4/27/21)

      COVID-19 Vaccines: Just the Facts! is a two part Q&A presented by DOH to help with misinformation about COVID-19 vaccines that has been circulating.  The two blog posts provide information on the need for receiving the COVID-19 vaccine, side effects, and home remedies.  Visit: https://medium.com/wadepthealth/covid-19-vaccines-just-the-facts-92f9a2d80024 (part 1) and https://medium.com/wadepthealth/covid-19-vaccines-just-the-facts-part-2-56d895d13904 (part 2).    (4/27/21)

      The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued the anticipated updated guidance for summer camp operators, just weeks before many camps resume operations in mid-May.  A theme that runs throughout the updated guidance is the emphasis on conducting as many activities as possible outdoors, where the risk of infection is considered much lower than indoors. When activities must be brought indoors, spaces should be well-ventilated and windows should be kept open (windows should also be open on camp buses and vans), the CDC said.  The guidance urges steps to keep children from sharing toys, books or games.  Each camper should have a labeled cubby for their belongings, and nap mats should be assigned to individual children, and sanitized before and after use.  Some activities should still be avoided altogether, including close-contact or indoor sports, and large gatherings or assemblies.  Higher-risk activities that should be conducted outdoors include singing, chanting, shouting, and playing instruments.  https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/schools-childcare/summer-camps.html     (4/27/21)

      Unemployment benefits have helped many Vashonites survive during the COVID-19 pandemic.  Washington employers do not pay for each employee's benefits directly, but contribute to a pooled fund that provides benefit payments.  The system is funded by employers paying a percentage of their total payroll in unemployment taxes.  There are two major components of state unemployment taxes: an experience-rating tax based on an average of the employer's layoff history over the past four fiscal years, and a shared-cost (social) tax based on costs from the previous year that can't be attributed to a specific employer.  Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, a weekly boost payment is contributed by the federal government.  If you have questions about unemployment or need assistance in filing, contact deborah@vashonbeprepared.org or phone/text her at 206-200-3236.    (4/27/21)

      ●The state Department of Health (DOH) reports that about 16 percent of Washingtonians are overdue for their second shot as of April 6.  King and Snohomish counties had about 14 percent of overdue second doses, while Pierce County was at about 20 percent missed second doses.  "We continue to stress that the percentage needs to stay as low as possible for us to defeat the pandemic.  We encourage people to get their second dose as soon as they are due," said Julie Grauert, the state's Covid-19 Public Information Officer.  The CDC recommends that you get your second shot as close to the recommended 3-week (Pfizer) or 4-week (Moderna) interval as possible. If necessary, you can receive your second dose up to six weeks after your first shot.  https://www.q13fox.com/news/state-health-officials-say-more-than-15-percent-of-second-dose-appointments-overdue-in-wa     (4/27/21)

      ●A Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) report predicts a tipping point across the nation in the near future, when vaccine supply will be greater than demand.  Because vaccine supply has increased significantly, and eligibility for adults is fully open, KFF estimates vaccine enthusiasm will level off in the next two to four weeks.  Timing may differ by state, but once this happens, efforts to encourage vaccination will become more critical, to reach the levels required for herd immunity.  Studies suggest that 61% of the U.S. population is willing to be vaccinated, a measure of vaccine enthusiasm. The latest data from the CDC indicate that almost 131 million adults (or about 40% of the US population of 328 million people) have been vaccinated.  Over time, people have moved from the “wait and see” group to the vaccine enthusiasm group, suggesting that the 61% vaccine enthusiasm level may be a floor, not a ceiling.  If half of the “wait and see” group move to getting vaccinated, it would take about 28 days to reach the tipping point.  https://www.kff.org/policy-watch/supply-vs-demand-when-will-the-scales-tip-on-covid-19-vaccination-in-the-u-s/      (4/27/21)

    • King County is at or above the Phase 3 targets in the state's Healthy Washington pandemic reopening plan.As of today’s Situation Report, King County has a 14-day average for cases of 217.4 (target <200) and a 7-day hospitalization rate of 4.8 (target <5).  The County cases are above the target value needed to remain in Phase 3.  Failing both the case count and hospitalization rate metrics could mean rolling back the county to Phase 2. The next phase evaluation is set for Monday May 3, to determine if the county will move back one phase.  If the county is required to roll back to Phase 2 restrictions, it will mean Vashon restaurants, along with other businesses and nonprofits, will need to cut back to 25% capacity limits.  Pierce County was rolled back to Phase 2 on April 16th https://kingcounty.gov/depts/health/covid-19/data/key-indicators.aspx      (4/23/21)

      Washington State has entered its fourth wave of the COVID-19 pandemic as cases continue to rise, Gov. Jay Inslee said Thursday.  Department of Health data is showing an increase in cases, a rise in hospitalizations, and the spread of new virus variants.  Hospitalizations for COVID-19 are rising particularly among younger people, he said.  Data showed marked increases in hospitalizations for children, as well as for people between the ages of 40 and 59.  The trends of the fourth wave do not look good as we look ahead to the state’s May 3 evaluation that determines whether we’ll need to tighten restrictions.  "We would like to be done with the virus, but the virus is not done with us," Inslee said.  He said that the continuation of coronavirus prevention measures, including, masking, handwashing and social distancing, as well as vaccinations, will help curb the spike.  https://www.tvw.org/watch/?clientID=9375922947&eventID=2021041234     (4/23/21)

      Public Health Alert: The public should avoid bogus COVID testing operations that are springing up in some parts of King County (none yet reported on Vashon).Through public reports and Public Health staff observations, portable testing operations have been spotted in several Seattle locations, including Green Lake Park, Gas Works Park, Ballard and Capitol Hill. In Auburn, Public Health has received a report of a door-to-door operation.  If you have received a COVID test from an operation with these concerning practices, the results may not be accurate, and you should consider getting retested.  Reputable COVID-19 testing options are widely available across King County, which provide free testing with rapid and highly accurate results. With COVID-19 currently spreading at high rates in King County, getting tested is as important as ever.  To find valid testing locations, visit https://kingcounty.gov/depts/health/covid-19/testing.aspx .  Read more on this testing warning at  https://publichealthinsider.com/2021/04/22/public-alert-get-tested-if-you-have-covid-19-symptoms-or-exposure-but-avoid-unusual-testing-operations/    (4/23/21)

      Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) panel recommends Johnson & Johnson shots restart, with a label noting the rare blood clot risk.  The clotting disorder is “rare but clinically serious,” Dr. Tom Shimabukuro, the deputy director of the C.D.C.’s immunization safety office.  The overall risk of developing the clotting disorder is extremely low.  Women between 30 and 39 appear to be at greatest risk, with 11.8 cases per million doses given.  There have been 15 cases per million doses among women between 18 and 49 in the US.  https://www.nytimes.com/live/2021/04/23/world/covid-vaccine-coronavirus-cases#johnson-covid-vaccine-blood-clots    (4/23/21)

      Washington State is doubling its COVID-19 vaccination goals, as case counts rise and concerning coronavirus variants spread.  “We are setting a new goal for the state of Washington for 90,000 vaccines per day,” said Dr. Umair Shah, the state’s health secretary.  Earlier this winter, the state was striving for 45,000 shots each day, but progress has come faster than anticipated and Shah said the state’s vaccine infrastructure is ready to handle more if the federal government can provide enough supply.  “We are seeing some concerns over demand and the willingness of Washingtonians to seek vaccines,” Shah said, adding that the state had heard many scheduled appointments were going unfilled.  Some of these cancelations are from double-booked appointments; Shah asked that Washingtonians cancel extra appointments as soon as you have confirmed or received your shot, freeing that appointment for others.  https://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/health/covid-vaccine-demand-softens-in-some-parts-of-washington-state-as-variants-cases-rise    (4/23/21)

      ●The United States and Canada border closure to non-essential travel due to COVID-19 was extended for a 13th time.  The border closure is now set to last until at least May 21.  The border closure extension also means that U.S. recreational boaters should remember that Canadian and some tribal marinas remain closed, according to a release from the U.S. Coast Guard 13th District Pacific Northwest.   (4/23/21)

      The US Department of State updated its travel advisories, resulting in nearly 80% of countries being placed in the “Do Not Travel” category.  Previously, the State Department issued Level 4 (Do Not Travel) guidance for only 34 countries, but the recent additions bring the total to more than 150.  Among the Level 4 category countries are Austria, Brazil, France, India, Italy, Mexico, Russia, and the UK.  The department said the additions were made "to better reflect CDC's science-based Travel Health Notices" as well as to consider the logistics of testing availability and other travel restrictions for US travelers.  The department also noted it is continuing to monitor COVID-19 data across the globe and will regularly update destination-specific advice as conditions evolve.   https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/traveladvisories/traveladvisories.html/    (4/23/21)

      Gov. Jay Inslee announced that Washington COVID-19 Immigrant Relief Fund applications are being accepted for the next round of assistance.  The additional $65 million allocated by the Legislature this year will provide additional relief to support new applicants.  Similar to the first round, the fund will rely on the continued partnership between the state and community organizations, including Scholarship Junkies and the Washington Immigrant Solidarity Network, with the Department of Social and Health Services providing oversight.  Applicants must demonstrate Washington state residency; be at least 18 years old; have been significantly affected by the coronavirus pandemic; be ineligible for federal stimulus payments or unemployment insurance benefits due to their immigration status; and have an income at or below 250% of the federal poverty level.  Visit the website at immigrantreliefwa.org, or call the Washington Immigrant Solidarity Network at 844-724-3737, which is staffed every day from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m.   (4/23/21)

      Dr. Ozlem Tureci, chief medical officer, of BioNTech told CNBC on Wednesday that people will likely need a third shot of its two-dose Covid-19 vaccine as immunity against the virus wanes.  That’s because, she said, scientists expect vaccine-induced immunity against the virus will decrease over time.  She expects people will need to get vaccinated against the coronavirus annually, like for the seasonal flu.  Researchers say they still don’t know how long protection against the virus lasts after six months of being fully vaccinated, though public health officials and health experts expect protection to wane after some time.  “We are studying the durability of the antibody response,” said Biden administration’s COVID response chief science officer, David Kessler. “It seems strong, but there is some waning of that, and no doubt the variants challenge …. they make these vaccines work harder.  So I think for planning purposes, planning purposes only, I think we should expect that we may have to boost.”  https://www.cnbc.com/2021/04/15/pfizer-ceo-says-third-covid-vaccine-dose-likely-needed-within-12-months.html     (4/23/21)

      Sea Mar: The clinic’s daily first dose vaccination rate has dropped, from a peak of 100 down to 30 per day.  The Sunrise Ridge clinic expects to hold vaccination clinics daily, Monday through Friday in the coming week.  There will be supply to meet commitments for both Pfizer and Moderna second doses as scheduled.  At this time, all the first doses at Sea Mar are Moderna vaccine.  That means first dose vaccinations for 16- and 17-year olds are not currently available at Sea Mar.  To increase ease of access for patients, Sea Mar has added an appointment service, in addition to its daily walk-up vaccination offering. To make an appointment patients can call a central appointment line (not the local clinic) at 1-855-289-4503.

      Vashon Pharmacy: The Pharmacy's website page to make appointments has been open all week. This is a big contrast to the early days of the drive-through vaccination operation, when hundreds of people were simultaneously trying to make appointments and sometimes overloaded the system.  Pharmacy owner Tyler Young says that going forward he hopes to avoid the crush of Monday night appointment website openings by keeping the appointment portal open full-time.  It appears there will be at least two vaccination days this coming week.  A team has been looking at ways to make the site even more convenient for the remaining 16 year old and above of Vashon residents who have yet to be vaccinated.  Those plans will be widely announced when they are finalized.

      High School: Vaccination for young people will take place at Vashon High School this coming week, on Monday morning for Cohort A, and on Thursday morning for Cohort B.   It is important that 16- and 17-year olds have their parents fill out the advance pre-registration form to give parental consent.  Here is the pre-registration page for the high school vaccination program: https://bit.ly/VashonHSvax

      New Youth Soccer Quarantine: Twelve Vashon High School students are in 14-day quarantine due to a potential COVID-19 exposure at a junior varsity soccer game that took place on Vashon on Tuesday, April 20th.  The quarantined students were potentially exposed to a student on the opposing team who tested positive for COVID-19.  "This is the third school sports related event in four weeks," said Dr. Zach Miller, the infectious disease expert who leads contact tracing investigations on the Medical Reserve Corps team.  "We see this happening all over the country, and the problem is often actually on the sidelines, or on the way to a competition, or some other related event.  We are learning the infections are spreading around school athletic events because of things like sideline parent chats, celebration huddles and hugs, carpooling, or going out for treats afterwards.  Also, please keep in mind that outside is not a no-COVID zone.  People think they don't need to worry because they are outside, so they get sloppy and forget basics such as masking, distancing and hand washing."    (4/23/21)

      Sea Mar: The Sunrise Ridge clinic expects to continue holding vaccination clinics daily, Monday through Friday, and has been providing first doses to an average of 60 people per day. That's down a bit from an earlier daily count of 100 or more. At this time, all the first doses are Moderna vaccine, although the clinic has Pfizer vaccine as needed for any required second doses. Because Pfizer/BioNTech is the only vaccine approved for people under 18,  first-dose vaccinations for 16- and 17-year olds are not currently available at Sea Mar. To increase ease of access for patients, Sea Mar has added an appointment service; in addition to its daily walk-up vaccination offering, patients may call a central appointment line (not the clinic) at 1-855-289-4503.

      Vashon Pharmacy: There was a light turnout for the online appointment portal opening last night, an indicator of easing demand given the 72% level of adult population first-dose vaccination on the island. As a result, one day of drive-through vaccination was cancelled for tomorrow, but the drive-through site will still operate on Thursday and Saturday. To encourage signups, the appointment portal for the drive-through site will be open the rest of this week until Friday night, or until all appointment slots have been taken. It will also be possible to make appointments for a few days next week, in addition to the two days scheduled for this week.

      High School: The pre-registration page has been opened for the high school vaccination program: https://bit.ly/VashonHSvax  The pre-registration form will put the paper work in place for the vaccination days when they have been set.  Students under the age of 18 must have a parent or guardian complete and sign the form.  If all goes well, there will be a half day for each of the two high school student cohorts, and students will need to designate their cohort on the online form. Vaccine will be coming from Vashon Pharmacy.  Vaccinators and post-shot observers will be provided by the Pharmacy and volunteers from the Medical Reserve Corps.

      King County Health Officer Dr. Jeff Duchin raises concern over the county’s continued high COVID-19 case count, as well as efforts to equitably distribute COVID-19 vaccines.  “We’re in a standoff with this virus and this is not the time to blink.  The growing number of people being vaccinated is undoubtedly limiting damage from these new variants and from our increasing activities.  And, the relatively low numbers of deaths currently is a tribute to the effectiveness of vaccination in our high risk adults.  Increasing vaccine coverage ultimately is our best weapon against COVID-19.  But at the moment, we can’t rely on vaccine alone to fully counteract the effect of a variant-driven surge in the next month.  Depending solely on vaccine right now is like fighting with one hand behind our back when we need a double-fisted strategy.  So let’s continue to do all we can to work together to knock this virus out once and for all.”-Dr. Jeff Duchin.  See his full comments at  https://publichealthinsider.com/2021/04/16/video-dr-jeff-duchin-discusses-steady-rise-in-covid-19-cases-and-hospitalizations-april-16-2021/    (4/20/21)

      Vashon residents can get permission to use the West Seattle Low Bridge (Spokane St. Swing Bridge) if they are receiving lifesaving medical treatment.  Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) has included Vashon residents in its bridge access program.  Access is on a pre-authorization basis and you must register your license plates and receive SDOT approval before using the low bridge. Visit:  https://sdotblog.seattle.gov/2021/04/09/were-starting-the-application-process-for-people-to-use-the-spokane-st-swing-bridge-to-reach-lifesaving-medical-appointments-while-the-west-seattle-bridge-is-under-construction  (4/20/21)

      Metro will begin gradually increasing passenger limits on buses.  On Saturday, April 17, Metro increased seating to 50% capacity.  This means the passenger limit will move from 12 to 20 riders on 40-foot buses, and from 18 to 30 customers on 60-foot buses.  This increase in load limits is in step with other transit agencies and in line with Governor Inslee’s guidance for public transit agencies.  https://kingcountymetro.blog/2021/04/02/metro-to-gradually-increase-passenger-limits/    (4/20/21)

      Employment Security Department data shows that Vashon’s unemployment has been steady over the past three weeks, current active claims are at 339.  If you need assistance filing claims for unemployment benefits, or have questions on eligibility with the COVID-19 relief programs, the Chamber of Commerce’s Ask the Expertis available for free consultations, and will guide you on how to proceed with filing for unemployment, PPP loans, or tax returns.  Email deborah@vashonbeprepared.orgor call (206) 200-3236.    (4/20/21)

      Washington residents can dispose of prescription drugs and vaping products at take-back events and locations.  On Vashon, prescription drug take-back is hosted at Vashon Pharmacy, any day during normal business hours.   Prescriptions, over-the-counter medications, vape pens, and other e-cigarette devices will be accepted. Medications can remain in their original containers and labels do not need to be removed.  Medications not in their original containers also will be accepted. Vape and e-cigarette with batteries removed will be collected.  “Participating in these take-back events is one way people can help tackle the opioid crisis and protect loved ones,” said Dr. Charissa Fotinos, HCA deputy chief medical officer.  https://content.govdelivery.com/accounts/WAHCA/bulletins/2cdeafc   (4/20/21)

      Department of Health (DOH) Care Connect Washington is designed to get services and support to people who need them in order to quarantine or isolate at home.  Through the program, regional networks of community-based partners connect clients to services they are eligible for, such as medication delivery, health care, help applying for unemployment, local housing agencies, food banks, childcare providers and more.  Care Connect also provides kits with crucial food and personal care items needed during isolation or quarantine at home.  https://www.doh.wa.gov/Emergencies/COVID19/CareConnectWashington    (4/20/21)

      Public Health – Seattle & King County has issued updated guidance on improving indoor air quality for pandemic safety.  The guidance for building operators and business owners provides ventilation strategies to reduce the risk of COVID-19 in indoor settings.  In addition to general HVAC considerations the document provides some specific strategies for shared/congregate housing, schools and child care, and restaurants.  https://kingcounty.gov/depts/health/covid-19/~/media/depts/health/communicable-diseases/documents/C19/improving-indoor-ventilation-guide-EN.ashx    (4/20/21)

      Questions about Healthy Washington - Roadmap to Recovery reopening plan?  Gov Inslee’s office has a website with all the latest COVID-19 Reopening Guidance for Businesses and Workers.  Visit: https://www.governor.wa.gov/issues/issues/covid-19-resources/covid-19-reopening-guidance    (4/20/21)

      The European Union’s drug regulator said a warning should be added to the Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccine indicating a possible link to rare and unusual blood clots, but stopped short of recommending it be pulled from use, saying its benefits outweigh its risks.  “The reported combination of blood clots and low blood platelets is very rare, and the overall benefits of Covid-19 Vaccine Janssen in preventing Covid-19 outweigh the risks of side effects,” the European Medicines Agency said in a statement, referring to the division of Johnson & Johnson that develops vaccines, Janssen.  The rare clots were “very similar,” the agency added, to those associated with the AstraZeneca vaccine, for which the agency made a similar recommendation.  https://www.ema.europa.eu/en/news/covid-19-vaccine-janssen-ema-finds-possible-link-very-rare-cases-unusual-blood-clots-low-blood    (4/20/21)

      The federal Small Business Administration has established the Restaurant Revitalization Fund (RRF) to provide funding to help restaurants and other eligible businesses keep their doors open.  This program will provide restaurants with funding equal to their pandemic-related revenue loss up to $10 million per business and no more than $5 million per physical location. Recipients are not required to repay the funding as long as funds are used for eligible uses no later than March 11, 2023.  For eligibility and how to apply, visit:  https://www.sba.gov/funding-programs/loans/covid-19-relief-options/restaurant-revitalization-fund     (4/20/21)

      Youth Soccer Quarantine:  Nine middle school-aged youths are in quarantine this week due to a potential COVID-19 exposure at an off-island soccer game.  They are all members of a private youth soccer league, and the exposure was not at a school event.  Eight of the nine are students at McMurray Middle School and the ninth participates in McMurray sports.  All nine have been tested, but none of the tests have come back positive.  The contact tracing investigation has been conducted by Vashon Medical Reserve Corps (MRC) physicians, in cooperation with the School District nurse.  The decision to quarantine was reached in discussions between MRC, the school nurse, and Public Health -- Seattle & King County.   (4/20/21)

      Vashon Island Fire & Rescue is dealing with two COVID-19 situations.

      • ●There was a concern that nine first responders may have been exposed to COVID-19 when they were called to a serious auto accident in the Quartermaster area of the island.  One of the vehicle occupants tested positive, so an exposure investigation has been conducted.  Fortunately, it appears that the nine responders escaped exposure due to a combination of proper use of PPE and vaccination.  All nine will be complying with follow-up monitoring and testing protocols.
      • ●In an unrelated situation, one off-duty firefighter has reported to the Fire District that he has tested positive for COVID-19.  The firefighter will continue in quarantine with a testing regimen, in compliance with Fire District safety protocols.  A workplace investigation concluded that there was no exposure at VIFR.  (4/20/21)


      ●The Washington State Department of Health (DOH) is reporting a total of 217 COVID-19 vaccine breakthrough cases among 1.7 million fully vaccinated individuals in Washington State.  Vaccine breakthrough occurs when a person tests positive for COVID-19 two weeks or more after receiving the full course of an approved COVID-19 vaccine.  Large-scale clinical studies found that COVID-19 vaccines prevented most people from getting COVID-19 illness.  However, the vaccines are not 100% effective.  This means a very small number of fully vaccinated people will still get sick with COVID-19; these cases are mostly mild. Scientists note that breakthroughs are expected with any vaccine. In the case of COVID-19 vaccines, none of the approved vaccines are more than 95% effective, leaving room for the breakthroughs even for fully vaccinated people.. "Finding evidence of vaccine breakthrough cases reminds us that, even if you have been vaccinated, you still need to wear a mask, practice social distancing, and wash your hands to prevent spreading COVID-19 to others who have not been vaccinated," said Dr. Umair A. Shah, Secretary of Health.   https://www.doh.wa.gov/Newsroom/Articles/ID/2740/Update-on-vaccine-breakthrough-cases-in-Washington-state     (4/16/21)

      Justice Department warns about fake post-vaccine survey scams.  Consumers are receiving requests via email and text message to take a bogus COVID-19 survey, promising cash or free gift – such as an iPad Pro – for doing it.  In reality, the survey is designed to steal your personal information in order to commit identity theft, the Justice Department warns.  That’s because you’re required to pay shipping and handling to get your free prize. The Justice Department cautions “You should never click on links in text messages or email unless you expected that communication, and are certain you know who sent it.” https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/justice-department-warns-about-fake-post-vaccine-survey-scams      (4/16/21)

      How to spot a restaurant that’s following the right practices to maximize your safety.  Many of the COVID-19 safeguards required for food and beverage businesses are designed to minimize how much air we share.  That’s why a restaurant allows fewer people inside, why everyone who isn’t eating or drinking should wear a mask, and why good airflow and ventilation is the top priority indoors.  Public Health – Seattle & King County has posted food service guidelines to allow customers to make informed choices about safety where they eat.  The site provides required safety practices and examples of how you will know they are followed by the establishment. Visit:  https://publichealthinsider.com/2021/04/15/dining-during-covid-how-to-spot-signs-that-a-restaurant-is-doing-it-right/     (4/16/21)

      Regular cleaning is usually enough to keep you from catching COVID-19 from surfaces.  New research suggests that the risk of getting sick this way is actually pretty low with the right precautions.  Cleaning doesn’t kill germs, but it washes them away and lowers your risk of getting sick.  DOH suggests you use soap, water, and a tightly woven cloth; choose a soap without fragrances or dyes; and frequently clean surfaces that are dirty or touched often.  Disinfecting procedures are an extra degree of prevention that kill germs left on surfaces even after cleaning.  You should disinfect if someone in your home is sick or tested positive for COVID-19 in the past 24 hours.  https://medium.com/wadepthealth/safer-spring-cleaning-for-covid-19-and-beyond-f10962c9d74f      (4/16/21)

      Public Health – Seattle & King County (PHSKC) is hosting a community event, “COVID Vaccines:  A Community Conversation,” on Thursday April 29, from 5 to 6:30pm.  Community members can learn more about COVID vaccines, ask questions, and hopefully gain confidence in vaccination.  Medical and health panelists will share their own reasons for getting vaccinated, address common concerns, and discuss how to talk with hesitant friends and family.  The Zoom link is: https://kingcounty.zoom.us/j/91748415135#success  Simultaneous translation in Spanish, Somali, Vietnamese, and Russian, as well as ASL interpretation and live captioning will be available.  (4/16/21)

      Has COVID-19 made you feel symptoms of trauma, anxiety, or depression? Maybe it is time to try yoga.  The DOVE Project is hosting ReGrowing Our Wings: Yoga for People Healing from Trauma.  The four-week program, led by Deborah King, will run Thursdays from April 22 to May 13, from 5 to 6:30pm.  To register, email Nyn Grey at nyn@vashondoveprojet.org.       (4/16/21)

      ●If you missed the streaming conversation The Vashon Model: A Community-based Response to COVID, it is now posted on the Vashon Heritage Museum’s website.  The discussion between doctors James Bristow, Ina Opplinger, Clayton Olney, and Jinna Risdal from the Vashon Medical Reserve Corps, all of whom are key players in Vashon’s nationally-recognized response to the COVID pandemic, can be viewed at  https://vashonheritagemuseum.org/event/vashon-model/      (4/16/21)

      State Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI), Chris Reykdal, has announced students will not take the Smarter Balanced Assessments or the Washington Comprehensive Assessment of Science this spring.  OSPI will continue to use locally determined assessments that his department believes are more informative and actionable measures of student learning, as school districts prepare for next school year and beyond. https://content.govdelivery.com/accounts/WAOSPI/bulletins/2cce418     (4/16/21)

      Public Health – Seattle & King County (PHSKC) has updated all sections of its COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) website to reflect updated information and guidance.  The site is a source for information on virus, vaccine and response questions.  It also provides links or contact information for more assistance to safely get through the pandemic.  Visit:  https://www.kingcounty.gov/depts/health/covid-19/FAQ.aspx     (4/16/21)

      Washington State Department of Health (DOH) has updated the guidance document for Child Care, Youth Development, and Day Camps during COVID-19.  Updates include recommendations for physical distancing, cohorts, sensory materials, and program types included in this guidance.  Full document at https://www.doh.wa.gov/Portals/1/Documents/1600/coronavirus/DOH-OSPI-DYCF-SchoolsChildCareGuidance.pdf      (4/16/21)

      COVID-19 Vaccination FAQs document for Critical Workers' Employers has been published by Washington State Department of Health (DOH).  The document considers common questions and answers about COVID-19 vaccination from employers in workplace (non-health care) settings.  Visit: https://www.doh.wa.gov/Portals/1/Documents/1600/coronavirus/120-053-FAQStepsCriticalWorkersVaccination.pdf      (4/16/21)

      Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler has extended two emergency orders requiring health insurers to waive copays and deductibles for any consumer requiring testing for COVID-19, and his order protecting consumers from receiving surprise bills for lab fees related to medically necessary diagnostic testing for COVID-19 are both extended until May 16, 2021.  https://www.insurance.wa.gov/sites/default/files/documents/emergency-order-20-01-extension-13.pdf      (4/16/21)

      Johnson & Johnson Vaccine put on hold: Vaccinations were able to continue today at the Vashon Pharmacy drive-through site with an alternate vaccine available for patients who desired it. The CDC and FDA have decided to pause administration of the J&J vaccine nationwide; the federal announcement came early this morning and WA Department of Health joined the pause later in the day. The precautionary step was taken because six cases have been identified in the U.S. with patients affected by a severe type of blood clot problem. However, nearly seven million J&J vaccinations have taken place in the U.S., so the potential side effect was described by officials as extremely rare and still under investigation. Fewer than 20 people on Vashon have received the J&J vaccine from the Vashon Pharmacy drive-through site and none at Sea Mar, although a number of Vashon residents probably received J&J doses at off-island vaccination providers. There were roughly six dozen people scheduled for J&J vaccinations today, and they were offered Moderna as a replacement so their vaccinations could go ahead. They were automatically booked for the necessary second dose appointments.

      The Overview: Vaccination availability on the island has been moderate this week at both of the active vaccination providers.  On Thursday, demand will ramp up when nearly all restrictions are removed and everyone 16 years or older becomes eligible. However, it will be important to bear in mind that eligibility does not equal vaccine supply, and demand will probably far exceed the available doses at first.

      Governor Inslee announced on Monday that King County will stay at Phase 3 reopening status and will not be required to roll back to Phase 2 restrictions.  That means Vashon restaurants, along with other businesses and nonprofits, can stay open at 50% capacity limits and will not need to cut back to 25%. Although King County’s case count and hospitalization metrics have been increasing sharply in recent weeks, performance indicators on the Public Health – Seattle & King County (PHSKC) data dashboard stayed short of the red line that would have triggered a rollback.  On the decision deadline date, Monday, April 12th, King County averaged 195 cases per 100,000 population over 14 days, just five points below the red line mark of 200.  New COVID hospitalizations were at 3.7 per 100,000, well below the red line mark of five.  https://www.governor.wa.gov/news-media/inslee-announces-three-counties-rollback-phase-2     (4/13/21)

      Pierce County didn’t meet requirements to remain in Phase 3 of the Healthy Washington–Roadmap to Recovery plan, said Governor Inslee.  The county will move back to Phase 2 effective April 16.  Pierce county case data reports 250.3 new cases per 100,000 population averaged over 14 days and 6.8 new hospitalizations per 100,000 population over 7 days.  Both metrics exceed the levels required to sustain the more relaxed Phase 3 COVID safety measures. Phase 2 will reduce maximum gathering sizes and capacity of retail, food, worship and entertainment establishments.  https://www.tpchd.org/Home/Components/News/News/230/286  (4/13/21)

      Three Counties moved back to Phase 2 of the Healthy Washington–Roadmap to Recovery plan.  In addition to Pierce County, Whitman and Cowlitz were also rolled back to Phase 2.  "When we see increased rates of cases and hospitalizations, we need to act fast and do the right thing county-by-county to prevent more serious consequences from COVID-19 in our state,” said Dr. Umair A. Shah, Secretary of Health, describing the move as a tough decision.  Shah said, “There is still time to turn the tide and slow the spread of COVID-19 before it turns into a fourth wave, but we need to take these preventative measures over the next few months at least to get numbers going in the right direction again.  Vaccine is a crucial tool, but it isn’t the only tool, and we don’t have enough vaccine yet to keep the majority of Washingtonians safe from the spread of disease.  To keep yourself and others safe we still need to follow simple protection.”  Everyone, including fully vaccinated people, should continue to:

      • ●Wear masks and socially distance in public.
      • ●Avoid medium or larger-sized gatherings
      • ●Delay domestic and international travel. If you do travel, you still need to follow CDC requirements.
      • ●Watch for symptoms of COVID-19, especially if you have been around someone who is sick. If you have symptoms of COVID-19, get tested and stay home and away from others.
      • ●Follow guidance at your workplace.  (4/13/21)

      Vashon High School students return to hybrid in-person learning this week.  The return will be phased in over several days, starting with freshman orientation.  Students will be assigned to one of two hybrid learning groups. The move completes the weeks-long process of bringing back all the Vashon Island School District students to at least some classroom learning.  https://www.vashonsd.org/site/Default.aspx?PageID=13   (4/13/21)

      Vashon Senior Center Virtual Talk presents: “Are We Prepared Yet?”  Presenter Vicky de Monterey Richoux, President of VashonBePrepared, will give an interactive presentation about easy steps to take to increase our preparedness for any kind of adverse incident in our homes, our neighborhoods, and beyond.  People who attend preparedness talks are often surprised to learn how resilient they already are.  Bring your ideas as well as your questions.  The Zoom talk is Friday, April 16 from 1:00 to 2:30 pm.  Zoom Meeting ID: 925 3699 0595  (4/13/21)

      Free Home Fire Safety Sessions: The Red Cross wants to teach you how to prevent a home fire and stay safe if one does occur, and you can get the help virtually.  Home fires claim seven lives every day in the United States, but you can help change that.  At the link below you can learn about home fire safety topics including the most common causes of home fires, the importance of creating an escape plan, how to test your smoke alarms, and how to prepare for an earthquake or wildfire.  And, you can schedule a free one-on-one call with one of our virtual Home Fire Campaign safety team members.  You will be offered a free smoke alarm installation once it is safe to do so. Visit  www.redcross.org/nwhomefire or call 833-918-1531 to request a virtual home fire safety appointment.  (4/13/21)

      Pfizer/BioNTech has requested amendments to the US FDA Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for their SARS-CoV-2 vaccine to expand its use to adolescents ages 12 to 15 years.  The current approval authorizes the vaccine’s use among people ages 16 and older.  The request is based on data from a Phase 3 clinical trial among adolescents ages 12 to 15 with or without evidence of prior SARS-CoV-2 infection, which demonstrated 100% efficacy and robust antibody responses after vaccination.  The trial data are not yet published, but the companies plan to submit the results for publication in a peer-reviewed journal. CDC Director Rochelle Walensky predicted the vaccine could be authorized for the younger age group by mid-May.  (4/13/21)

      Washington State Department of Health indicated Wednesday that King and Pierce counties could soon be facing a move back to Phase 2 of reopening.  In order to remain in Phase 3, large counties need to have 200 or fewer new cases per 100,000 residents over two weeks, and five or fewer hospitalizations per 100,000 residents over the past week.  Cases and hospitalizations in both counties — as well as several others — are also continuing to rise at a significant rate.  A shift back to Phase 2 would decrease capacity of indoor dining, retail, fitness centers, salons, and entertainment from 50% to 25%.  The state does not plan to add any new, additional restrictions to the phase.   https://mynorthwest.com/2764621/gov-inslee-echoes-concerns-roll-back-phase-2/  (4/9/21)

      Gov. Jay Inslee today updated and clarified the criteria for counties to stay in Phase 3 of the state's Healthy Washington pandemic reopening plan.  Each county will be evaluated on Monday April 12 to determine its phase that will be effective on April 16.  In order to move down one phase, a county must fail bothmetrics for case counts and hospitalizations.  Under the previous plan, a county only needed to fail one metric to move back one phase.  As of today’s Situation Report, King County has a 14-day average for cases of 187.8 and a 14-day hospitalization rate of 3.9.  Both of these targets are just below the values needed to remain in Phase 3. Pierce County reports a 14-day case average of 197.9 and a hospitalization rate of 5.1, which is slightly above the Phase 3 threshold.  Official determinations of Healthy Washington status will be made on Monday, April 12th. https://www.governor.wa.gov/news-media/inslee-updates-healthy-washington-criteria-county-phases  (4/9/21)

      Hospitals are seeing more adults in their 30s and 40s admitted with severe cases of Covid-19, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said Wednesday.  “Data suggests this is all happening as we are seeing increasing prevalence of variants, with 52 jurisdictions now reporting cases of variants of concern,” Walensky said.  Scientists say new variants of the coronavirus are more transmissible and some of them may be more lethal as well, resulting in more severe cases.  The highly contagious B.1.1.7 variant from the United Kingdom has become the dominant strain circulating in the United States, Walensky said.  “I’m pleading with you, for the sake of our nation’s health,” Walensky said, warning that traveling for spring break could lead to another rise in cases, especially in Florida where the variant was rapidly spreading.  The B.1.1.7 variant has since spread, and is about 50% more transmissible than the original strain of the coronavirus. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/cases-updates/variant-surveillance/variant-info.html#Concern  (4/9/21)

      Johnson & Johnson production issues will result in a substantial decrease in the number of COVID-19 vaccine doses being delivered to Washington State.  On April 1, the state expected to receive 109,000 Johnson & Johnson doses in the first full week of April, and 41,000 each week for the following two weeks. Now, the state expects 12,900 Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine doses for the week of April 11, and 4,300 doses in subsequent weeks.  Nearly 15 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine were ruined at a manufacturing plant.  The quantity of Pfizer and Moderna doses being delivered in April remains stable, with the number of those doses being delivered expected to be slightly higher than previously anticipated.  https://www.doh.wa.gov/Newsroom/Articles/ID/2731/COVID-19-vaccine-distribution-update-from-the-Washington-State-Department-of-Health   (4/9/21)

      Guidance for Graduation Ceremonies has been updated by the Governor’s office.  Schools should plan to prevent large gatherings and to keep physical distancing.  Ceremonies must align with the Governor's Healthy Washington Roadmap to Recovery guidance.  The guidance recommends ceremonies should be outdoors in a well-ventilated area, have no more than five people, and should have no person-to-person contact. https://www.kingcounty.gov/depts/health/covid-19/schools-childcare/graduation.aspx   (4/9/21)

      CDC has updated guidance for domestic and international travel and Gov. Inslee has confirmed these are the travel guidelines for Washingtonians.  The most important recommendation is that CDC recommends limiting non-essential travel to reduce the spread of COVID-19, even if vaccinated.  The PHSKC website for frequently asked questions about COVID-19 has a summary table for domestic and international travel recommendations based on vaccination level.  Visit question 24 at https://www.kingcounty.gov/depts/health/covid-19/FAQ.aspx  (4/9/21)

      Starting April 15, everyone ages 16 and older will be eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine. Those age 16 or 17 may need consent from a parent or guardian to get the vaccine, unless they are legally emancipated.  Currently Pfizer-BioNTech is the only COVID-19 vaccine authorized for people 16 years of age and 17. Moderna and Johnson & Johnson are authorized for people 18 and older.  (4/9/21)

      Appointments are now being taken for people 16 and up for COVID-19 vaccine doses at Seattle vaccination sites beginning April 15.  You can also sign up for the City of Seattle Vaccine Notification list to receive email notifications for available appointments at  bit.ly/VaxNotificationList.  Please note that the King County mass-vaccinations sites (KingCounty.gov/covid/registration) block appointments from Vashon’s zip code, but the City of Seattle sites will allow Vashon appointments.  (4/9/21)

      CDC has updated its surface-cleaning guidelines and noted that the risk of contracting the virus from touching a contaminated surface was less than 1 in 10,000.  “People can be affected with the virus that causes Covid-19 through contact with contaminated surfaces and objects,” said Dr. Rochelle Walensky, the director of the C.D.C.  “However, evidence has demonstrated that the risk by this route of infection of transmission is actually low.”  “The most important part of this update is that they’re clearly communicating to the public the correct, low risk from surfaces, which is not a message that has been clearly communicated for the past year,” said Joseph Allen, a building safety expert at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.  Catching the virus from surfaces remains theoretically possible, he noted.  But it requires many things to go wrong: a lot of fresh, infectious viral particles to be deposited on a surface, and then for a relatively large quantity of them to be quickly transferred to someone’s hand and then to their face.  “Presence on a surface does not equal risk,” Dr. Allen said.   https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/disinfecting-building-facility.html   (4/9/21)

      Washington State Department of Commerce launched a new round of free online business trainings for small businesses interested in achieving significant growth in the wake of COVID.  The Rebuild Edition is focused on helping small businesses restart and rebuild by improving their strategic decision-making, creating new operational efficiencies, and strengthening the bottom line.  Interested businesses can choose from three different tracks in the ongoing series at http://MyStartup365.com/programs/scaleup:  (4/9/21)

      Even though the tax filing deadline has been moved to May 17, tax experts are saying you should not procrastinate.  If you need tax assistance, there are two free options available on Vashon.  You can call or text Deborah Diamond, (206) 200-3236, to set up an appointment to prepare your 2020 tax return by phone.  The second option is to set up a socially distanced appointment with an AARP Tax Aide at the Vashon Lutheran Church.  This assistance is provided on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons through May 6, 2021.  Contact Jim Hauser at (206) 463-5117 to set up an AARP appointment.  (4/9/21)

      April 1 was the last day of Vashon Island School District food delivery by bus/van routes.  Every student will have the opportunity to pick up food when they are at school, free of charge.  The pickup location at the west side of VHS will continue to be available for the Vashon community, including students who are remote learning or alternative schooling and community members, from 8am to 1pm, Monday through Friday, on scheduled school days.  During the 2020-2021 school year, meals are available to all children ages 1 through 18 free of charge, and meals are available to adults for $5.00.  (4/9/21)

      Casa Bonita Opening: The Casa Bonita quarantine period ends this weekend and, after deep cleaning has been completed, the restaurant will be open this coming week. Negative COVID-19 tests have come back for all of the staff and all of the other potentially exposed people identified during the Medical Reserve Corps contact tracing.  (4/9/21)

      ●      Patty's Place Closing: Patty’s Place restaurant has voluntarily closed for two weeks as a COVID-19 safety measure.  A staff member tested positive yesterday.  The closure could be a significant financial drain on the family-owned and operated business.  However, owner Patty Freebourn decided to close to help protect the community. VashonBePrepared thanks the owner for this community-minded step.  Patty and the MRC have issued an appeal for customers from this past week to call the MRC phone number to get screened in case they need testing.  “We need to help everyone stay safe and we love our customers. Those two things will get us through this. Safety is number one,” said Freebourn.“ We are working with the Medical Reserve Corps to help with the contact tracing. Please, everyone get vaccinated.  Wear your mask.  Wash your hands.  Maintain social distancing.  Thank you for joining us in this safety effort and we can’t wait to open again in two weeks.”  Please call the Medical Reserve Corps if you dined inside the restaurant Monday through Thursday midday, April 5 through 8. The Medical Reserve Corps number is: (844) 469-4554.  There’s no need to call if you simply picked up a takeout order. Callers will be screened to see if they require testing. MRC experts consider the risk to be relatively low, since most customers of Patty’s Place do take-out. But everyone should call for the screening in order to be safe.   (4/9/21)

      Vashon Library will be opening to the public on Friday, April 9th with limited capacity (20 people at a time).  The in-building service will initially be limited to Fridays and Saturdays for alternating one-hour time slots.  The library will continue to offer curbside service on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.  For more information and hours visit kcls.org.    (4/6/21)

      Public Health-Seattle & King County has updated their Frequently Asked Questions webpage about COVID-19 vaccine.  The site answers questions on vaccine safety, how the vaccines work, availability, and what to expect when receiving the vaccine.  Information is available in many languages.  Visit: https://www.kingcounty.gov/depts/health/covid-19/vaccine/FAQ.aspx    (4/6/21)

      Go behind the scenes of the Vashon emergency response to the pandemic by streaming The Vashon Model: A Community-based Response to COVID, on Thursday April 8 at 7pm.  Well-known island writer and radio personality Susan McCabe will moderate the discussion between doctors James Bristow, Ina Opplinger, Clayton Olney, and Jinna Risdal from the Vashon Medical Reserve Corps, all of whom are key players in Vashon’s nationally-recognized response to the COVID pandemic.  To register for the free Zoom event, go to  http://bit.ly/liveswelllived(4/6/21)

      Seattle area residents are among the most likely to get vaccinated based on a national survey by the US Census Bureau.  A nationwide survey conducted in early March asked people whether they would get vaccinated.  Seattle had the highest intention to vaccinate of any city at 73%, a jump of 5 points since a previous poll in January.  The Puget Sound metro area also had a higher intention to get vaccinated than other metro areas in the survey.  https://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/data/seattle-metro-jumps-to-no-1-for-willingness-to-get-covid-vaccine/(4/6/21)

      Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler extended his emergency order until May 2, directing all state-regulated health insurers to make additional coverage changes to aid consumers during the coronavirus pandemic.  The order continues coverage for providing telehealth; coverage of all medically necessary diagnostic testing for flu and certain other viral respiratory illnesses billed during a provider visit for COVID-19 with no copay, coinsurance or deductible; and for insurers to treat drive-up testing sites for COVID-19 as provider visits with no copay, coinsurance or deductible.  https://www.insurance.wa.gov/news/kreidler-extends-emergency-order-telehealth-may-2   (4/6/21)

      Children may be susceptible to contracting COVID-19 from the more contagious variant B.1.1.7 first detected in the U.K.  “It infects kids very readily. Unlike the previous strains of the virus, [where] we didn’t see children under eighth grade get infected often,” said Dr. Michael Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota.  Dr. Danielle Zerr, the division chief of Pediatric Infectious Disease Research at Seattle Children’s said if the B.1.1.7 variant is found to be spreading in children, vaccinating them will be an important part of reaching herd immunity.  She said, “I think we really need to wait to see the data, really analyze the evidence on that as to whether or not kids are truly going to experience more severe illness with the U.K. variant.” Implementing safety measures is the key to keeping children safe — social distancing, wearing masks and washing hands.  https://www.kiro7.com/news/local/concerns-rise-more-children-contract-covid-19-variant/AX2TINK2JRDCZKYYVUQIL6XERQ/   (4/6/21)

      Pfizer-BioNTech announced findings from a Phase 3 clinical trial of its SARS-CoV-2 vaccine among adolescents ages 12-15 with or without evidence of previous infection.  No symptomatic COVID-19 cases were identified in the vaccinated group of more than 1,300 kids. Eighteen symptomatic COVID-19 cases were identified in the placebo group of 1,129 children. Those figures translate to 100% vaccine efficacy among vaccinated participants.  Vaccinated participants demonstrated strong immune response one month after their second dose, and the vaccine was well-tolerated.  Both immune response and side effects were consistent with results seen in previous trials among participants 16 to 25 years of age.  Pfizer-BioNTech plans to submit amendments to the US FDA and the European Medicines Agency for use of the vaccine among individuals 12 and older under the current US Emergency.  https://www.pfizer.com/news/press-release/press-release-detail/pfizer-biontech-announce-positive-topline-results-pivotal    (4/6/21)

      End-of-Day Waitlist/Cancellation: Vashon Pharmacy has added two features to its vaccination signup page. At the beginning of each day, up to twelve people can put their names in to be called if any vaccine doses are left at the end of the day.  This morning the waitlist filled in 15 minutes.  The waitlist of eligible persons is reset to zero each day.  In addition, there's now an appointment cancellation feature that will help reduce the number of no-shows.  Both features are available at the appointment signup website: www.VashonPharmacy.com/COVID

      Vax Access: The outreach to Spanish speaking residents of Vashon has so far helped more than 60 people book vaccination appointments.  The Vax Access program helps promote access equity for people experiencing significant barriers to vaccination, such as physical challenges, lack of computer, and lack of English language skills.  Work also continues on providing mobile vaccinations to homebound residents.

      “Disease transmission is increasing and we are seeing concerning signs.” said Dr. Umair A. Shah, Secretary of Health.  “Case counts are showing increases in King County, Pierce County, Snohomish County.”  Shah said health officials believe people could be letting up on the measures known to prevent transmission, such as masking and distancing.  “We are not out of the pandemic until we’re out of the pandemic, meaning: Don’t let your guard down,” Shah said.  And coronavirus variants of concern — which could spread more easily, cause more harm, or more readily escape treatment or immunity by vaccination — now make up a majority of most recent cases to receive genomic sequencing by Washington laboratories.  Scientists believe two variants, named B.1.429 and B.1.427, are roughly 20% more transmissible. They may be resistant to some types of treatments, and could cause some reduction in vaccine performance.  The B.1.1.7 variant, which scientists believe is about 50% more transmissible and could cause more severe COVID-19 symptoms, is also spreading, according to state data.  https://www.doh.wa.gov/Portals/1/Documents/1600/coronavirus/data-tables/420-316-SequencingAndVariantsReport.pdf    (4/2/21)

      State health leaders are pleading for people to stay home for spring break.  COVID-19 cases are climbing, and this is not the time for Washingtonians to let down their guard.  “Don’t travel unless it’s absolutely necessary,” said Dr. Scott Lindquist, acting state health officer.  He said to stay home even if you are fully vaccinated.  “I know that’s a hard message to send to folks who want to go on spring break. But truly, we are seeing cases in vaccinated people that are breakthrough, that have done just that, people who traveled to spring break, etc.”  The state is following Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines, which state you should get tested for COVID-19 before you fly and when you get back. They want travelers to self-quarantine for a full seven days after travel, even if their test is negative.  https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/page/spring-break-travel   (4/2/21)

      "We are getting closer to knocking out the pandemic, but we are not there yet, and there are very concerning warning signs that we could be headed for a fourth major spike in infection.  Our community has the lowest infection rate in King County, but all around us the numbers are rising" said Dr. Jim Bristow, Co-Coordinator of Vashon Medical Reserve Corps and leader of the island's COVID-19 testing effort.  "For some weeks at the test site, a big percentage of our patients have been requesting testing so they can travel. It's easy to understand why, after more than a year of pandemic.  Unfortunately, the number one source of infections for the past year has been people traveling off island and bringing the infection home with them.  If we can hold out for another couple of months, many more people will be protected by vaccination and it will be much safer," he continued.  His advice: stay home a bit longer, mask, distance, and wash hands to keep our community safe.  (4/2/21)

      Mask-wearing is essential in preventing the spread of COVID, said King County Health Officer Dr. Jeff Duchin.  Adding “COVID-19 spreads through the air, and the risk is highest in crowded and indoor spaces with poor ventilation.”  New data from King County from November to February found that 89% of county residents were following the state mandate and wearing a mask that covered their nose and mouth.  One goal of the study was to identify any areas of lower mask usage to tailor messaging to those communities.  Masking was highest in grocery stores and hardware stores (94-97%) and lower for people entering convenience stores and at transit centers (76-84%). Children were less likely than other age groups to be wearing masks. “Wearing a well-made and snug-fitting mask is one of our best tools against COVID-19.” Said Duchin.  https://publichealthinsider.com/2021/02/09/its-a-good-time-to-improve-our-masks-and-how-we-wear-them-as-more-contagious-covid-19-variants-emerge/    (4/2/21)

      Gov. Jay Inslee announced that everyone 16 and older who wants a COVID-19 vaccine will be eligible to receive one in Washington state, starting on April 15.  The state’s phased eligibility approach was designed to ensure the most vulnerable people got vaccinated first, including older adults, those in long term care facilities, critical healthcare workers, and more.  The expansion of eligibility comes, in response to a recent uptick in COVID cases in the state, and a forecast of increased vaccine allocations by the federal government.  Currently, Pfizer-BioNTech is the only COVID-19 vaccine authorized for people 16 years of age and older.  Moderna and Johnson & Johnson are authorized for people 18 and older.  Those age 16 or 17 may need consent from a parent or guardian to get the vaccine, unless they are legally emancipated.  https://www.governor.wa.gov/news-media/inslee-announces-vaccine-eligibility-expansion-all-adults-april-15    (4/2/21)

      CDC has updated its travel recommendations for vaccinated travelers.  International travel poses additional risks, and even fully vaccinated travelers are at increased risk for getting and possibly spreading new COVID-19 variants.  CDC recommends delaying international travel until you are fully vaccinated.  Even after you are fully vaccinated with an FDA-authorized vaccine, you should continue to follow CDC’s recommendations for traveling safely, and get tested 3-5 days after travel.  Vaccinated travelers do NOT need to get tested before leaving the United States unless your destination requires it, and you do NOT need to self-quarantine after arriving in the United States.  Full recommendation at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/international-travel-during-covid19.html    (4/2/21)

      The Washington Department of Health has updated some of its Phase 3 business guidance.  These updates include farm and agricultural workers, long-term care facilities, food workers and establishments (including outdoor farmer’s markets), and homeless shelters.  For the full updates visit: https://www.doh.wa.gov/Emergencies/COVID19/ResourcesandRecommendations#business    (4/2/21)

      The Washington State Department of Health (DOH) is investigating reports of people in the state who tested positive for COVID-19 more than two weeks after being fully vaccinated. Scientists call these “vaccine breakthrough” cases, which are expected with any vaccine.  “It is important to remember that every vaccine on the market right now prevents severe disease and death in most cases,” said Dr. Umair A. Shah, Secretary of Health.  “People should still get vaccinated as soon as they are eligible, and encourage friends, loved ones, and co-workers to do the same.  Finding evidence of vaccine breakthrough cases reminds us that, even if you have been vaccinated, you still need to wear a mask, practice socially distancing, and wash your hands to prevent spreading COVID-19 to others who have not been vaccinated,” said Secretary Shah.  https://www.doh.wa.gov/Newsroom/Articles/ID/2720/Cases-of-COVID-19-vaccine-breakthrough-confirmed-in-Washington-state (4/2/21)

      Cassie Sauer, president of the Washington State Hospital Association, says it’s important to protect those most at-risk, but that it’s also tough to ignore that rises in case counts can be traced back to younger populations not yet eligible for the vaccine.  “The states that are seeing an uptick are seeing transmission fueled by people in that 25, 30, 35 age range — they’re not eligible but they’re spreading it,” she said.  https://www.kiro7.com/news/local/washington-hospital-leaders-not-opening-up-vaccine-eligibility-could-be-fueling-rise-cases/MO5U63LNZBDLLNNJC3QHAS2NS4/    (4/2/21)

      Lives Well Lived, a new series by Vashon Heritage Museum (VHM) and Vashon Community Care (VCC), will host a talk entitled The Vashon Model: A Community-based Response to COVID, on Thursday April 8 at 7pm.  Well-known island writer and radio personality Susan McCabe will moderate the discussion between doctors James Bristow, Ina Opplinger, Clayton Olney, and Jinna Risdal from Vashon Medical Reserve Corps, all of whom are key players in Vashon’s nationally-recognized response to the COVID pandemic.  To register for the free Zoom event, go to http://bit.ly/liveswelllived (4/2/21)

      Vashon Hwy SW CLOSED at Judd Creek Bridge (South of SW Quartermaster Drive) - April 5 until April 28.  Starting as soon as 8 a.m. on Monday, April 5 through 8 a.m. Wednesday, April 28, both directions of Vashon Highway SW at Judd Creek between SW 227th Street and SW 225th Street (just south of SW Quartermaster Dr.) will be fully closed around the clock for Judd Creek Bridge repairs.  Local access to homes and businesses north and south of the Judd Creek Bridge will be maintained throughout construction.  A signed detour will direct through traffic off of Vashon Highway SW between SW Burton Drive and SW 204th Street. View the detour and get more information on the project website: http://Kingcounty.gov/JuddCreekBridge    (4/2/21)

      Special enrollment period for health insurance has again been extended through August 15 for people who are uninsured.  Anyone who doesn’t have health insurance can buy a plan directly from an insurer or through the Washington Health Benefit Exchange.  If you buy a plan through the Exchange, you may qualify for federal help paying your premium; additional funding is now available to subsidize health coverage, even eliminating premium payments for some.  https://www.wahealthplanfinder.org/     (4/2/21)

      If you lost your health insurance or had a reduction in income you may now qualify for the free Apple Health Insurance.  Public Health - Seattle & King County is offering to assist people signing up for health insurance plans, including Apple Health, as well as SNAP (food stamps) and Orca Lift transit cards. Contact Miguel Urquiza directly at 206-491-3761 (cell) or 206-477-6965 or email  miguel.urquiza@kingcounty.gov.  Miguel speaks Spanish and helps Vashon residents access health-related resources..   (4/2/21)

      Washington State DOH has released a report of COVID-19 outbreaks in Washington state K-12 schools.  The report covers the period between Aug. 1, 2020, and Feb. 28, 2021, where 134 COVID-19 outbreaks and 526 COVID-19 cases in K-12 schools were reported to DOH. For the full report visit https://www.doh.wa.gov/Portals/1/Documents/1600/coronavirus/data-tables/420-312-K12SchoolsOutbreakReport.pdf (4/2/21)

      Casa Bonita restaurant has closed for two weeks as a voluntary COVID safety measure and the staff are in voluntary quarantine and being tested. Two staff at the restaurant tested positive earlier this week. The Vashon Medical Reserve Corps (MRC) and the owner of the restaurant issued an appeal for members of the public who may have been exposed to call the MRC phone line to be screened for possible testing. Please only call if you were served inside the restaurant on Thursday, Friday, or Saturday, March 25 through 27. You need not call if you were ordering or picking up to go orders unless you spent more than 15 minutes in the restaurant. The MRC number is: (844) 469-4554. So far, a total of 32 Vashon residents have been tested and only the two original cases have tested positive.   (4/2/21)

      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.