- 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.
Vashon Vaccine Availability:
COVID-19 Vaccines are starting to become available on Vashon and around the county, however the number of doses are still very limited and the distribution system is still being rolled out.
We will be keeping VashonBePrepared.org/COVID-Vaccine updated between Situation Reports, so please check in there for the latest.
VashonBePrepared is supporting the three providers on the island who are approved by the state to do vaccinations. They are Vashon Pharmacy, Sea Mar at Sunrise Ridge, and Vashon Natural Medicine. The status of vaccination availability on Vashon has been changing daily, so the Emergency Operations Center (EOC) recommends that you check the following four websites to see if there is updated information beyond what we compile in these Situation Reports, which are published Tuesday and Friday.
It's important to note that all providers must follow the state Department of Health directives for eligibility. Failure to do so could jeopardize future vaccine supplies. All providers have been inundated with phone calls and emails because the Governor relaxed the age requirements and the 65 and older age group is now eligible. However, the supply of vaccine doses so far has fallen far short of the number required to meet the demand. So far, it appears that allocations will be revealed to providers each week on Mondays, however there is no assurance at this time that providers will receive vaccines from week to week. Vashonites need to be patient and wait their turn as vaccinators work though the State-mandated phases for distribution.
COVID-19 vaccination site opens on Vashon. Staffing provided by Vashon Pharmacy and elements of the VashonBePrepared coalition including the Emergency Operations Center (EOC), Medical Reserve Corp (MRC), and Citizen Emergency Response Team (CERT). Photos by Michelle Bates
Vashon Vaccine Availability Survey
- Vashon Pharmacy: The drive-through site went live this week and lessons learned from the COVID testing site have been invaluable as EOC Logistics Section, MRC and CERT provide traffic control, check-in, and required post-vaccination observation. Pharmacy staff do the actual injecting and operate the appointment system (VashonPharmacy.com/covid or call 206-463-9118 Option 9). Efficiency has climbed every day with 40 injections on Wednesday afternoon, 80 for the full day yesterday, and 130 projected for today. The Pharmacy reservation system is currently shut down because all 400 doses in the allocation have been spoken for. No new reservations will be taken until it is certain how many doses will be arriving in the next allocation and when. Generally, it appears that allocation amounts are released on Mondays, so that could be a good time to pay particular attention to VashonPharmacy.com/covid.
- Vashon Natural Medicine: Owner Kelly Wright says her clinic has not received any vaccine so far and has no information on when stocks might be expected. VashonNaturalMed.com currently refers people to the Pharmacy drive-through operation. They plan to notify their patients directly if vaccine becomes available.
- Sea Mar at Sunrise Ridge: Manager Kerry Barnes reports that they ran out of this week’s vaccine allocation yesterday. They are considering changes to their dispensing model, which switched to a walk-up plan (instead of appointments) this week. She hopes to get more vaccine next week but, as with all the providers, there is no firm word regarding if or when the vaccine might arrive. Vashon's Medical Reserve Corps and the EOC are working with Sea Mar to see if some form of volunteer assistance might be helpful. As with the other providers, the clinic has faced a tsunami of phone and email queries about availability of vaccination. The main Sea Mar website maintains a list of their clinic locations, including off-island, where vaccine is available: SeaMar.org/covid-vaccine.
If you can't find a vaccination slot, take heed to this advice. As described elsewhere in this report, interest in vaccination has reached a fever pitch on Vashon. Tempers are short, with a few vaccination seekers even yelling at Vashon Pharmacy staff out of frustration. This week, the manager at Sea Mar clinic at Sunrise Ridge fielded 350 phone calls and hundreds more emails from people seeking vaccinations, some of them calling from a hundred miles away. Here's a solution: Just stick with the basic rules we've been following for months. They are easy and cheap steps to keep you safe. Wear a mask. Keep your distance. Clean your hands. Don't get together with people from outside your household, no matter how much you miss them. And remember that a negative COVID-19 test is a snapshot in time, not a get out of jail free card. These steps are very effective and the next best thing to a vaccination until everyone who wants one can get one.
Keep this in mind too: Vashon Pharmacy, Sea Mar clinic, and Vashon Natural Medicine are doing the best they can, even though vaccine doses are in short supply. For our island population of more than 10,000, the state Department of Health has so far allocated only about 500 doses of vaccine. None of our providers can give you a shot if they don't have vaccine. VashonBePrepared, the EOC Team, Medical Reserve Corps, and CERT ask you to take all those islanders trying to help you into your hearts. Please express your thanks next time you see them.
Current Virus Statistics:
Vashon Island COVID-19 Case Count as of 1/22/21:*
- 95 confirmed positive COVID-19 cases, 1 new case since last Situation Report on Tuesday
- Date of last positive test: January 21
- 1 new positives in past 7 days and 3 positives in the past 14 days
- 3 people have been hospitalized. Date of last hospitalization: December 28
- 2 Vashon deaths, last death reported 1/1/21
King County COVID-19 Case Count as of 1/22/21:*
- 73,801 confirmed positive cases, 1,201 new since last Situation Report on Tuesday
- 1,214 deaths, 29 new since last Situation Report on Tuesday
Washington State COVID-19 Case Count as of 1/20/21:*
- 296,087 confirmed positive cases, 4,098 new since last Situation Report on Tuesday
- 4,065 deaths, 125 since last Situation Report on Tuesday
*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: Federal law prohibits Public Health - Seattle & King County (PHSKC) from releasing the names of patients (HIPAA Act). For consistency of day-to-day data reporting for Vashon, the EOC uses only the Zip code data from the Public Health – Seattle & King County dashboard.
Widespread use of face masks in a community can significantly help prevent large outbreaks of COVID-19, according to a study published in The Lancet Digital Health. Overall, the study found that a 10% increase in self-reported mask-wearing could lead to a three-fold improvement in the odds of maintaining sufficient control over virus transmission in a community. “Wearing face masks or face coverings in public spaces has been mandated by governments around the world to try and stem transmission of COVID-19. The aim is to provide a physical barrier that prevents the spread of virus-laden droplets," said John Brownstein, senior author of the study, from Boston Children’s Hospital. Self-reported mask-wearing was highest among people aged 65 and older, as well as Black and Hispanic people. “An important finding of this research is that mask-wearing is not a replacement for physical distancing and U.S. states that practiced both at high levels had the best probability of controlling disease spread,” coauthor Ben Rader, of Boston Children’s Hospital and Boston University, said.
We still must follow the guidelines to make it through this winter. Even though there is promising news about expanded vaccine distributions and hope for an eventual end to this pandemic, we must realize we are still in the midst of a deadly spike in the disease in King County and throughout Washington State. The latest statewide COVID-19 modeling report from the WA DOH, in partnership with the Institute for Disease Modeling, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, University of Washington and the Microsoft AI for Health program was released last Wednesday. Although case rates and hospitalizations were dropping through most of December, there was a rebound in early January after the holiday season. Additionally, the new UK variant of COVID-19 shows evidence that this strain is substantially more infectious than prior strains, with estimates of a 1.5 - 1.7 -fold increase in transmissibility relative to other strains. Although not yet detected in Washington, it cannot be ruled out that it is already here. As we are months away from reaching herd immunity by getting our population over 70% vaccinated, it is more important than ever to follow the guidelines that we know slow the spread of COVID-19, including;
- Wear a mask around people you don't live with (even close friends and family).
- Stay home as much as possible.
- Follow the Governor's limitations on indoor gatherings.
- Quarantine and get tested at the first sign of illness or if you've been around someone with COVID-19.
Read the report at https://www.doh.wa.gov/Portals/1/Documents/1600/coronavirus/820-114-SituationReport.pdf
If you have symptoms, or think you have been exposed to COVID-19, you can help prevent the spread of the virus to others in your home and community. You should quarantine at home and separate yourself from other people and animals in your home (self-quarantine). Current quarantine recommendations are to stay in quarantine for 14 days after your last contact. Maintain 6 feet of physical distance from others at all times, even if using a mask, and clean your hands often. Contact your health care provider for a test. https://www.doh.wa.gov/Portals/1/Documents/1600/coronavirus/COVIDexposed.pdf
New Developments since Last Report:
One-year anniversary of first COVID-19 case: The first case in the US was found here in Washington State on January 21, 2020. Umair A. Shah, Secretary of Health, Washington State Department of Health (DOH) reminds us of this somber anniversary. To date there have been 3,940 deaths in Washington due to COVID-19. Dr. Shah commits DOH to building the vaccine infrastructure to meet Gov. Inslee’s stated daily dosage goal of 45K per day, as the vaccine becomes available.
Gov. Jay Inslee issued extensions of 26 emergency proclamations on Jan. 15. The proclamations cover a broad range of statutory waivers that support state and local services during the COVID-19 pandemic, including those necessary to support long-term care and behavioral health facilities, to provide Zoom style access to government in compliance with the public meetings laws, to provide relief from tax penalties and fees, and to protect federal stimulus payments from collection for consumer debt. These emergency orders are effective throughout the state of emergency, unless rescinded by the governor or the Legislature, whichever occurs first. https://www.governor.wa.gov/news-media/inslee-extends-26-proclamations-relating-covid-19-0
President Biden makes masks mandatory nation-wide for a number of federal settings. One of Biden's first executive orders mandates the use of face masks while inside federal buildings, a measure designed to slow the spread of the virus. In a separate order he mandated mask usage in airports and on many planes, trains, ships and intercity buses. “They will be anchored by science and fact-based public health guidance. The Administration will work to counter misinformation and disinformation by ensuring that Americans are obtaining science-based information,” White House officials said.
President Joe Biden took action in the United States’ battle against COVID-19. On January 20, shortly after President Biden's inauguration, the White House published its national COVID-19 response plan, which highlights priorities such as “listen[ing] to science,” increasing access to testing, bolstering the supply of personal protective equipment (PPE), providing support for schools and businesses, protecting high-risk individuals, and vaccination. The announcement was accompanied by a detailed, 200-page document that outlines goals and policies for a wide range of challenges facing the COVID-19 response. https://www.whitehouse.gov/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/National-Strategy-for-the-COVID-19-Response-and-Pandemic-Preparedness.pdf
Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler has extended two emergency orders. His order requiring health insurers to waive copays and deductibles for any consumer requiring testing for coronavirus (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 Feb 21, 2021.
Washington State Department of Health announced that based on Governor Jay Inslee’s Healthy Washington – Roadmap to Recovery plan, all eight (8) regions in Washington will remain in Phase 1 until at least Monday, February 1, 2021 (the date of the next weekly review). As outlined in the governor’s COVID-19 plan, regions must meet four metrics in order to move into Phase 2. These metrics provide an overview of current COVID-19 trends and healthcare system readiness in each region. https://www.governor.wa.gov/sites/default/files/HealthyWashington.pdf
The New York Times reports that Pfizer Will Ship Fewer Vaccine Vials to Account for ‘Extra’ Doses. Pfizer plans to count the surprise sixth dose toward its previous commitment of 200 million doses of Covid vaccine by the end of July and therefore will be providing fewer vials than once expected for the United States. “Now there’s more pressure to make sure that you get that sixth dose out,” said Michael Ganio, the senior director for pharmacy practice and quality at the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists.
Progress on Community Support Operations:
Emergency Operations Center (EOC): The EOC activated in response to the pandemic emergency on March 12th, more than ten months ago (317 days). Four operational priorities established by the Incident Commander, Fire Chief Charlie Krimmert, and approved by the VashonBePrepared Board, continue to guide our work: health, food security, housing security and economic recovery.
EOC Focus: Much of the focus this week has been on vaccination, including compilation of the vaccination availability survey, logistics to support the Vashon Pharmacy drive-through vaccination project, coordination between VashonBePrepared elements including Medical Reserve Corps (MRC) and Community Emergency Response Team (CERT), and fielding dozens of questions that come in via email, phone and Facebook.
EOC Situation Section: Strong communication lines have been established with vaccination providers on the island and that has been helpful in collecting status reports on vaccine dosage supplies and forward planning.
EOC/MRC/CERT: As described in the New Developments section, the support effort for the Vashon Pharmacy drive-through vaccination site has gone live after a fast-track planning and set-up period, including two trial runs. In just a few days, the site has reached full efficiency. Although allocations so far have been minimal, the site will be able to dispense all the vaccine doses likely to be allowed by the state Department of Health.
MRC/Sea Mar: Two initiatives have taken place this week to support the Sea Mar clinic at Sunrise Ridge. One meeting explored the possibility of significantly increasing Spanish language service at the health center. Discussions are also underway regarding the possibility of MRC providing support to the health center's COVID-19 vaccination program.
VashonBePrepared/Vashon COVID Relief Fund: A new round of support is going out to Vashon social service agencies this month. Since the relief fund went live in March last year it has paid for:
- 2,580 bags of groceries.
- 17,186 meals.
- 120 packets of $20 VIGA farm bucks.
- 153 cases of rent relief.
- 74 basic needs vouchers.
- 357 cases at VYFS and DOVE.
Relief Fund recipient partners have included the Food Bank, School District Nutrition Program, Vashon Youth and Family Services, Interfaith Council to Prevent Homelessness, St. Vincent de Paul Vashon, DOVE Project, and the Senior Center, among others.