Summary for July 6, 2020

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

Current Virus Statistics:

Vashon Island COVID-19 Case Count as of 7/6/20:

  • 863 COVID-19 tests reported, 71 additional tests since last Situation Report on Wednesday
  • 7 confirmed positive cases, 0 new since last Situation Report on Wednesday
  • Date of last positive test: June 21
  • 1 person had been hospitalized
  • 0 Vashon deaths

King County COVID-19 Case Count as of 7/6/20:

  • 11,140 confirmed positive cases, 795 new since last Situation Report on Wednesday
  • 591 deaths, 2 new since last Situation Report on Wednesday

Washington State COVID-19 Case Count as of 7/4/20:

  • 35,898 confirmed positive cases, 3,074 new since last Situation Report on Wednesday
  • 1,359 deaths, 27 new since last Situation Report on Wednesday

NOTE: Federal law prohibits Public Health - Seattle & King County from releasing the names of patients (HIPAA Act). Public health experts say we should all assume the virus may be in our community and continue safe distancing and hand washing.

Health Tip of the Day:

·       The New York Times reports that 239 scientists have written an open letter to the World Health Organization (WHO) saying that airborne transmission is a significant factor in the spread of COVID-19, especially in crowded spaces with poor ventilation.  Evidence suggests that viral particles floating indoors are infectious and the virus lingers in the air indoors, infecting those nearby.  “Whether carried aloft by large droplets that zoom through the air after a sneeze, or by much smaller exhaled droplets that may glide the length of a room,” these experts said, “the coronavirus is borne through air and can infect people when inhaled.” The scientists urged WHO to emphasize this issue to a greater degree in its advice. The airborne spread of the disease is the concept behind the state of Washington mandatory mask order. To read the full story, visit: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/07/04/health/239-experts-with-one-big-claim-the-coronavirus-is-airborne.html

New Developments since Last Report: 

     ·       Gov. Jay Inslee and Sec. of Health John Wiesman announced a statewide requirement for businesses to require face coverings of all customers.  This significantly expands the previous order requiring masks in public places because it places responsibility on the businesses in addition to the customers. Under this order, businesses may not serve any customer with services or goods if the customer does not comply with the state-wide face covering order.  “We’re doing this because of a spike in cases of COVID-19 all over the state,” Inslee said. “The better we can protect ourselves from the virus, the better we can avoid repeating some of the painful measures we had to take in the spring to shutdown the economy.”  Visit https://medium.com/wagovernor/inslee-announces-statewide-mask-mandate-812c9ba7a92

·       Correction: Vashon Library’s Curbside to Go service for the first two weeks of the month, through July 15, is reserved for the pickup of holds that were placed prior to the library closure.  Patrons will receive an email notification when their holds are available.  After July 15, patrons may place new holds that will be available for curbside service.  

·       On July 1st Gov. Inslee extended a number of proclamations due to the ongoing pandemic.  Of particular interest is the extension of the waiver for the job search requirement for unemployment benefits until August 1.  This and the other extensions can be found at https://www.governor.wa.gov/news-media/inslee-extends-23-proclamations-relating-covid-19-1 

·      
The state Employment Security Department (ESD) has provided guidance for filing when a person does not expect to qualify for benefits that week.  ESD advises claimants not to file a weekly report for any week they do not expect to receive benefits, since benefits are for a finite number of weeks (26 weeks extended to 39 for COVID).  The 39 weeks do not have to be consecutive.  ESD advises that, If and when you qualify for benefits again, you can re-open your claim.  However, you can’t get the $600 federal weekly benefit without filing so it may make sense in your particular situation for you to file even in weeks where you don’t expect to receive state benefits. Unless it is extended, the $600 federal benefit expires in the week ending July 25, 2020.  To access free assistance for obtaining unemployment benefits, email deborah@vashonbeprepared.org or call (206) 200-3236.

·      
The Community Care Team -- a unit of the Vashon Medical Reserve Corps -- is forming online groups for connection and support during these difficult, isolating times.  The groups will be small; perhaps 5-8 people each and run for 50-60 minutes per session.  Each group will be managed by 2 co-facilitators, at least one of whom will be a trained mental health professional.  If interested in joining a telephone or Zoom group, call 206-701-0694. 

·      
One-on-one help is also available.  If you feel that the pandemic has resulted in increased anxiety, depression, and stress due to feelings of isolation and uncertainty, the Community Care Team Help Line is available for psychological or spiritual assistance, every day from 8am to 8 pm.  The phone number is 206-701-0694.

·      
King County 4Culture is taking applications for Reopen Fund grants that provide support for the training, protective equipment, infrastructure improvements, systems upgrades, additional personnel and other measures needed for cultural organizations to get back into service.  Application deadline is August 17.  For more information visit https://www.4culture.org/grants/reopen

·       Grants for small businesses in unincorporated King County.  The King County Council approved $4 million in supplemental funding for grants, technical support, and translation and interpretation assistance to help small businesses in unincorporated King County recover from impacts of COVID-19 closures. Applications are due by 11:59pm, July 10th..  For more information visit https://kingcounty.gov/localbusinesshelp. Or call 206-331-3275.

·      
VOTE: Don't forget to VOTE for Vashon's Unofficial Mayor.  Each candidate has chosen a charity to raise funding for and will campaign to raise those funds.  The winner (candidate who raises the most funds) will be announced on July 18th, 2020. See each candidate’s platform and vote at https://business.vashonchamber.com/store/unofficial-mayor

·
      
Vashon’s Medical Reserve Corps testing program has tested 283 patients of the 792 residents and island employed who have been tested for the COVID-19 virus.  It’s important to understand that the convenient on-island testing operation may not be the best choice for a few special circumstances. The MRC test turnaround time is 48-72 hours, occasionally longer.  Some people may need faster test turnaround prior to medical procedures or tests that need to be done within 72 hours for travel or medical reasons. In those circumstances, MRC recommends Walgreen on N. Pearl St, Tacoma. Testing at that location free, unrestricted and has less than 6 hour turnaround for results.  Appointments are required so, to start the process, visit https://www.walgreens.com/findcare/covid19/testing?ban=covid_testing


·      
COVID testing on Vashon is performed weekdays by MRC at the O Space parking lot.  Testing is done only by appointment and requires a doctor’s order. If you do not have a doctor and need testing or an appointment for testing call (844) 469-4554 Monday through Friday, 9am-6pm. Testing is still available the same-day for freeVashonBePrepared is covering costs for those without insurance.

·      
Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security reports researchers are finding viral mutations as the COVID-19 pandemic accelerates.  One mutation in particular is garnering increased attention, as the mutation prevalence appears to be increasing in COVID-19 patients.  “The mutation could enable the virus to replicate more efficiently once it infects someone, which could increase viral load and make those individuals better able to transmit the infection to others. At this time, the mutation does not appear to have an effect on disease severity.” 

·      
King County Parks reminds residents to recreate safely and responsibly this summer.  When you’re on the trail or in a park, wear a face covering when physical distance can’t be maintained, such as at trailheads, parking lots, and restrooms.  For more tips to recreate responsibly to keep each other safe and to learn which parks and trails open or have restrictions, visit https://kingcountyparks.org/covid

Progress on Community Support Operations:

·       Emergency Operations Center (EOC): This is day 117 since EOC activation on March 12.  Volunteers working during the current activation have contributed 11,340 hours since activation began.

·      
EOC Reorganization: The transition from full Type 1 activation to Maintenance and Monitoring status has been completed. The Medical Reserve Corps and the Community Care Team remain at full force. The Community Support Operations Section functions have generally been put into the hands of community partners. Vashon COVID Relief Fund support continues in the previously designated priorities of health, food, shelter and economic recovery. Traditional Incident Command System support teams for logistics, planning and finance have been consolidated, scaled back, or demobilized.

·       Medical Support Branch: Demand for local Vashon testing has doubled. Vashon Medical Reserve Corps (MRC) has conducted close to 300 tests to date, representing roughly one-third of all tests administered to Vashon residents, according to data from Public Health. MRC volunteers believe local demand has increased due to greater awareness of the availability and convenience of the service, as well as increased anxiety due to reports of spiking COVID-19 cases in the region and in other states (see above for information on getting tested).

·      
Recovery Operations: Vashon COVID Relief Fund disbursement #5 has been paid out. In this latest Relief Fund disbursement, payments are going to support community needs being met by social service and economic recovery organizations, including the Food Bank, Senior Center, Vashon Youth and Family Services, Interfaith Council for Prevention of Homelessness, St. Vincent de Paul Vashon, and Vashon Chamber of Commerce. Funding is also going to the Heritage Museum for its history collection effort supporting the EOC Documentation Unit

·      Finance: VashonBePrepared and Vashon COVID Relief Fund expenditures to date have reached nearly $124,000, not including a $50,000 reserve set aside to sustain the Vashon Medical Reserve Corps COVID-19 testing program. Community donations to the Relief Fund total $263,000 so far. That means our community support for food, shelter and economic recovery should be able to continue through mid-August at the current rate of expenditure.

Items from Previous Situation Reports:

PDF Archive of items before June 14 here

Still Important Items since June 15:

Metro resumed charging full fares on all its services today, including buses as well as Link and Sounder trains.Due to social distancing resumed Metro services are running at reduced capacity and subject to possible service delays.Metro service will operate a Sunday holiday schedule on Friday, July 3, in observance of Independence Day. https://www.soundtransit.org/ride-with-us/how-to-pay/fares (7/1/20)

Voice of Vashon has joined with the Heritage Museum to put together the Vashon COVID History Project.The Museum's expert historians will be interviewing residents on camera, recording experiences to preserve the COVID story.In addition to interviews, if you have a journal entry, pieces of art or a COVID craft to share.Museum historians will snap a picture to go with your story.VoV's broadcast van will be out in neighborhoods in July - primarily on the weekends.Dates and times will be posted 3 days in advance (due to weather) on voiceofvashon.org and vashonheritagemuseum.org. It will be Burton day on July 5, starting at 9 am right by the Burton Coffee Stand. Just look for the VoV van.(7/1/20)

King County Library System today started curbside pick-up of library materials in a safe, contact-free manner.You can put material on hold online or with the mobile app. Then you can pick up the book or other material by going to the library.Pick-up is available to patrons who arrive by car, on foot, by bike and with or without an appointment.The Vashon Library is open for curbside pick-up Tuesday-Saturday 10-1 and Tue-Thur 4-7pm.For more information call 425-507-3252 or visit https://kcls.org/curbside (7/1/20)

The King County Council passed new legislation on June 23 to protect tenants who are unable to pay their rent due to the financial impacts of the COVID-19 outbreak. The ordinance extends protections to residential tenants, including manufactured homeowners, and small commercial tenants in unincorporated King County through September 1st. https://www.kingcounty.gov/council/news/2020/June/6-23-CB-tenant-protections-release.aspx (7/1/20)

NY Times reports a study by the Institute for Disease Modeling in Bellevue, Washington that found that most infected people don’t pass on the coronavirus to someone else.But a small number pass it on to many others in so-called superspreading events. The study found that a lot of transmission seems to happen, even before symptoms emerge, in a narrow window of time starting a couple days after infection.If these carriers are not around a lot of people during that transmission window, they can’t pass it along.“Certain places seem to lend themselves to superspreading.A busy bar, for example, is full of people talking loudly. Any one of them could spew out viruses without ever coughing. And without good ventilation, the viruses can linger in the air for hours.” https://www.nytimes.com/2020/06/30/science/how-coronavirus-spreads.html (7/1/20)

Washington State Gov. Jay Inslee announced that he’s pausing the option for eligible counties to move into phase 4 of reopening due to rising cases across the state and concerns about the continued spread of Covid-19. Inslee said in the statement. "We all want to get back to doing all the things we love in Washington during the summer, and fully open our economy, but we aren’t there yet. This is an evolving situation and we will continue to make decisions based on the data." King County, including Vashon Island, is still in phase 2. https://www.governor.wa.gov/news-media/inslee-and-wiesman-announce-pause-county-progressions-phase-4 (6/29/20)

The New York Times reports that the coronavirus was initially thought to be a respiratory illness. But it has now been found to impact not just the lungs, but the kidneys, heart and circulatory system — even, somehow, the senses of smell and taste.According to the Times, “In many patients hospitalized with the coronavirus, the immune system is threatened by a depletion of [T cells], suggesting eerie parallels with H.I.V.Some experts have wondered whether antiviral treatment makes sense for severely ill Covid-19 patients, if their main affliction is an immune system overreaction.”Dr. Hayday at King’s College London said if the virus directly causes the immune system to malfunction then an antiviral treatment makes sense. https://www.nytimes.com/2020/06/26/health/coronavirus-immune-system.html (6/29/20)

King County has updated COVID-19 data by race & ethnicity, showing that it is disproportionately impacting communities of color. Case and hospitalization rates per population for Hispanics are about 5 times that for whites, and death rates are 2.5 times. Case rates for Blacks are triple that of whites. https://www.kingcounty.gov/depts/health/covid-19/data/race-ethnicity.aspx (6/29/20)

The success of the Safe Start reopening relies on Washingtonians wearing face coverings and now it is the law.  You must wear a face covering in indoor public settings like the grocery store, pharmacy, hardware store, health clinic, and other locations. Wearing a face covering outside is required if you cannot keep six feet (or two meters) away from other people at all times.   (6/26/20)

Need a Cloth Mask!  Part of the county mask allotment for Vashon was given to the Chamber of Commerce which has provided 500 masks each to the island's two supermarkets and is making hundreds more available for all other island businesses to pick up at the Chamber offices.  These masks are washable so please only take one per person.   (6/26/20)

Public Health – Seattle & King County announced some negative trends in the county COVID-19 numbers.  The Safe Start target for new cases in the county is 25 or less per 100,000 population per day, in the past week the average has been 40.  These numbers are not just due to increased testing.  They are due to a significant increase in the rate of infection.  Over the last two weeks, 8.5% of the tests in King County have come back positive. That’s triple the rate two weeks prior when only 2.3% of tests were returning positive. Over that same period 28.3% of the positive test were from persons in the 20-29 age group and over 50% were under 40.  On the positive side, the number of available hospital beds remains stable at about 53% of total hospital bed inventory.   (6/26/20)

Vashon Chamber of Commerce maintains business listings and reopening information for food/restaurant & virtual/essential businesses on the island.  The Situation Report no longer maintains business updates.  The Chamber will be reaching out to businesses already listed for updates and will seek to include businesses not already listed.  If a business desires to be listed on these pages, visit https://www.vashonchamber.com/virtual-essential-vashon/  or contact the Chamber directly.  (6/26/20) 

Vashon Events also maintains a list of restaurants with information on takeout, delivery and dining in.  Restaurants should send any updates directly to Vashon Events for inclusion in that list.  For the latest information on island restaurants visit  https://www.vashonevents.org/togo   (6/26/20)

Seattle Department of Transportation continues to evaluate options for the repair or replacement of the West Seattle High-Rise Bridge.  According to Councilmember Lisa Herbold the “SDOT proposed to allow general use of the lower bridge at Spokane Street from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m., when traffic levels are lower. School buses will also be allowed anytime. Other types of uses, such as employer shuttles, healthcare workers and maritime users, are recommended for further consideration”.  This will ease some traffic issues while allowing for priority vehicles to get through.  For more on the project and alternative traffic routes visit https://www.seattle.gov/transportation/projects-and-programs/programs/bridges-stairs-and-other-structures/bridges/west-seattle-high-rise-bridge-safety-project   (6/26/20)

The Superintendent of Public Education has released common questions and answers about the K-12 reopening plan announced on June 11.  This Q & A can be found at https://www.k12.wa.us/sites/default/files/public/communications/Reopening%20Washington%20Schools%20FAQ%20for%20School%20Districts.pdf   (6/26/20
)

Property taxpayers in King County who have not yet paid the first half of their 2020 taxes now have the option of setting up a payment plan. Payment plans are available for taxes on homes, commercial businesses, land, and mobile homes and the plans can spread payments out over a period of up to 18 months.For more information visit kingcounty.gov/propertytax/paymentplans. (6/25/20)

Effective June 26, a statewide order requires individuals to wear a face covering in indoor public spaces such as stores, offices and restaurants. The order also requires face coverings outdoors when you can't stay 6 feet apart from others.Cloth face masksare not only about providing some protection to the wearer. They protect other people from getting COVID-19 from us when we talk, cough or sneeze. Between 20-40 percent of people with COVID-19 don't show any symptoms but can still spread the virus to others. Recent research suggests wearing a face covering can significantly reduce community spread of COVID-19. For more on the requirements and proper use of face coverings visithttps://www.coronavirus.wa.gov/information-for/you-and-your-family/face-masks-or-cloth-face-covering (6/25/20)

A story on NPR's All Things Considered makes two conclusions. It says that anecdotal information from contact tracing shows parties and similar gatherings are spreading COVID-19 but a study in Whatcom County did not show spread from the recent large protests. Also, spread is happening in a much younger age range. Whatcom County Health Department Director Erika Lautenbach said: "Almost everyone at the rally was wearing a mask, and it's really a testament to how effective masks are in preventing the spread of this disease."By contrast, Lautenbach cited one party with more than 100 attendees where 14 cases were found and then tracing showed spread to double that number. The story also cites Florida, where the median age of patients dropped from 65 in March to half that age now in late June.   https://www.npr.org/sections/coronavirus-live-updates/2020/06/24/883017035/what-contact-tracing-may-tell-about-cluster-spread-of-the-coronavirus. (6/25/20)

The Chamber of Commerce webinar series, Chamber Chat, will be Thursday July 2nd from 9-9:45am, the topic will be Paycheck Protections Program (PPP) Forgiveness with Heather Russel.For more information or to register visit https://www.vashonchamber.com/. (6/25/20)

Grants for small businesses in unincorporated King County. The King County Council approved $4 million in supplemental funding for grants, technical support, and translation and interpretation assistance to help small businesses in unincorporated King County recover from impacts of COVID-19 closures. Applications open tomorrow Friday June 26.For more information visit https://kingcounty.gov/localbusinesshelp. (6/25/20)

Gov. Jay Inslee released the Safe Start guidance for reopening in-person instruction at higher education institutions in the fall.Inslee said “Each campus is different — varying in size, location, mission, and academic programs. But everywhere, students and educators are clearly ready to get back to campus both to learn and to enjoy this unique period in their lives,”For full guidance visit https://www.governor.wa.gov/sites/default/files/2020.06.23%20Campus%20Reopening%20Guide%20FINAL.pdf (6/25/20)

Washington State Department of Health Guidance on Cloth Face Coverings.  The Washington State Department of Health requires you to wear a cloth face covering in public when you cannot stay six feet (or two meters) away from others. This order goes into effect on Friday.  You must wear a face covering in indoor public settings like the grocery store, pharmacy, hardware store, health clinic, and other locations. You should also wear a face covering outside if you cannot keep six feet (or two meters) away from other people at all times.  Full Guidance at https://www.doh.wa.gov/Portals/1/Documents/1600/coronavirus/ClothFacemasks.pdf (6/24/20)

Mask distribution has begun on the island from the large quantity that were obtained from King County. Residents who wish to obtain one of the free masks should look for them within the next few days at both supermarkets and at other businesses around town since masks are now being provided to stores through the Chamber of Commerce, which is not planning to directly distribute masks to the public. The Social Services Support Network has moved about half of it's 3500 masks to island service agencies. The EOC is finalizing its plans for distribution to fill in gaps that have not already been filled by the other two allocations. (6/24/20)

Fireworks Safety.  Vashon’s public fireworks display has been cancelled due to the pandemic.  If you decide to use consumer fireworks, please do so with caution and follow local rules and regulations.  In this year of the pandemic, safety also includes measures to protect others and yourself from disease.  Social distancing, wearing a face covering and hand-washing are still very important.  Fireworks are only allowed to be discharged in unincorporated King County – including Vashon - on July 4, not in the days before or after.  Fireworks are not allowed in King County Parks or Vashon Parks District properties. (6/24/20)

The Vashon Library Book Drop is now open Tuesday to Thursday: 10am-7pm, and Friday & Saturday: 10am-1pm.  All materials must be returned through the manual book drop. Materials will not be accepted in-person by staff. Returned materials will be quarantined – and remain on patron accounts – for a minimum of 3 days before being checked in.  Any fines or fees accrued during that time will be waived. (6/24/20)

New quarantine imposed by New York, New Jersey and Connecticut.  The rule requires any person arriving from a state with a positive test rate higher than 10 per 100,000 residents, or a state with a 10 percent or higher rate over a seven-day rolling average, to be quarantined for 14 days upon arrival.  Washington was initially reported as one of nine states that will require travelers’ quarantines, however has said the inclusion of Washington was in error and the state will be removed from the list.  https://www.nytimes.com/2020/06/24/nyregion/ny-coronavirus-states-quarantine.html   (6/24/20)

Gov. Inslee announced today and formally issued by State Health Secretary John Wiesman a state-wide mandate requiring face coverings in public to reduce the risk of spreading the infection of COVID-19 virus.Failure to conform to the requirement will be a misdemeanor.The order requires face covering in public indoors spaces (such as work or stores) and outdoors whenever 6 foot social distancing cannot be maintained.Order is effective Friday June 26. (6/23/20)

King County’s COVID Dashboard is an excellent place to see graphical views of the virus status and to see the data by numerous classifications.However, you may have noticed data totals for Vashon are inconsistent, depending on which view you select. The zip code view is the accurate one. After speaking with Public Health we now understand why this happens.The different parts of the dashboard have different location criteria.Obviously the zip code tab uses the zip codes for Vashon, but other parts of the dashboard use street addresses but ignore P.O. Boxes.So some of the reports do not include data for a test where only a person’s P. O. Box is listed in the database.When you use the dashboards to look at data for Vashon Island, the zip code data will be the most accurate. (6/23/20)

US Food and Drug Administration is advising consumers not to use hand sanitizer products manufactured by Eskbiochem SA de CV in Mexico due to the potential presence of a toxic chemical.The FDA has discovered methanol (wood alcohol), a substance that can be toxic when absorbed through skin or ingested.If you hand sanitizer label says it was made in Mexico, check to see if it appears on the FDA list at https://www.fda.gov/drugs/drug-safety-and-availability/fda-advises-consumers-not-use-hand-sanitizer-products-manufactured-eskbiochem (6/23/20)

As the reopening extends to Phase 2, Public Health - Seattle & King County wants citizens to remember how this disease spreads—mostly person to person, by respiratory droplets released when an infected person talks, coughs, or sneezes. So, when you gather, it’s better to be outside. Keep your distance–at least 6 feet away. Be diligent that you and your friends and family are washing hands. And wear those masks when in public.And remember, just because you can do something doesn’t mean it’s risk free or a good idea for your personal circumstances.https://publichealthinsider.com/2020/06/19/the-virus-hasnt-let-up-and-we-cant-either (6/23/20)

The Vashon Medical Reserve Corps COVID-19 testing site has expanded its hours in order to serve a sharp increase in demand. MRC says the number of tests has gone up to an average of six or seven per day, occasionally to as many as ten. That's double the daily average a few weeks ago. The increased demand for testing may be caused by increased anxiety because of new cases on the island in the last week as well as news media reports of many states around the country showing spikes in infection. In addition, Public Health's contact tracing capacity has increased and each discovered contact requires a test.   (6/22/20)

     Vashon reports another increase in COVID-19 cases.  In the past week, the positive COVID-19 tests on Vashon have risen from 4 to 7, after a period of over two months with no new positive cases.  During that same period over 100 residents have been tested.  The number of tests and positive results are still below the county wide averages as a percentage of population.  However, the increase is still significant for our small community.   (6/22/20)

·       Governor Jay Inslee announced over the weekend that he intends to issue a proclamation mandating mask use in public in Yakima County, which is experiencing increased community transmission. According to The Seattle Times, more than 20% of Washington’s cases and 22% of its COVID-19-related hospitalizations can be attributed to Yakima County, despite it only accounting for only 4% of the state’s total population. https://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/inslee-to-order-masks-worn-in-yakima-county-where-coronavirus-is-on-runaway-trajectory/    (6/22/20)

·       Safe Start guidance for Weddings and Funerals has been issued by the Governor’s Office.  These activities must comply with the guidance for Religious and Faith-based services, even if activity is a non-religious service. If food is served, the guidance for Restaurants and Taverns must also be followed.  King County is in Phase 2 which permits weddings and funerals to hold indoor services up to 25% of building capacity or 200 persons, whichever is less.  https://www.governor.wa.gov/sites/default/files/COVID19%20Weddings%20and%20Funerals%20Memo.pdf 

      Vashon Community Pool will open up for limited lap swim operations, beginning July 1.  Reservations for lanes begin online tomorrow, June 23.  Information is at the Vashon Parks District website.  https://www.vashonparks.org/vashon-pool     (6/22/20)

·       Vashon Island School District has developed a set of potential models for reopening of schools.  Superintendent, Dr. McSheehy has said “It is imperative that we make the Health and Safety of our community our primary goal. VISD will follow all Health and Safety Guidance by the King County Department of Health (DOH) and the Department of Labor and Industries (L&I).  VISD is hosting a Reopening Schools Q & A, Tuesday, at 6:00 p.m. via Zoom. All families are invited to join the  Zoom Meeting  https://zoom.us/j/92819370789     (6/22/20)

·       The Food Bank’s Picnics-To-Go program started today and will run until Aug. 21.  The program is not only for kids this year.  Picnics-to-go will also give a meal to anyone (including adults) who needs one, regardless of age or income.  This year the meals will be for pickup at the School District weekdays (9:30 to 1:30) and via limited school bus stops on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. For more details and bus stops serviced visit https://www.vashonfoodbank.org/programs-1   (6/22/20)

·       VashonBePrepared and the Vashon Emergency Operations Center have taken delivery of 10,000 masks for distribution to island residents. Roughly one-third of the masks will be given away through businesses on the island, an effort being coordinated by the Chamber of Commerce.  Another third of the masks have gone to the Social Service Network of nonprofit service organizations. VashonBePrepared has taken responsibility for distribution of the remaining masks including a quantity going to the Medical Reserve Corps for handout to those coming in for COVID-19 testing. A quantity of hand sanitizer was also picked up with the masks on Saturday. King County purchased the COVID-19 prevention supplies and is relying on community organizations to get them to King County residents.   (6/22/20)

·       The EOC Unemployed Worker Support Branch reminds those collecting unemployment benefits that unless the Governor extends the waiver further, the work-search requirement will go into effect July 1, 2020.  You can still answer No to the work-search questions for the weeks ending 06/20/2020 and 06/28/2020.  For the week ending July 4, 2020, you will need to enter 3 job-search efforts.  For free assistance with questions or for obtaining unemployment benefits, Email deborah@vashonbeprepared.org or call (206) 200-3236.   (6/22/20)

·       The EOC Unemployed Worker Support Branch reminds self-employed individuals who have no employees, and therefore no actual payroll expenses, can qualify for Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan forgiveness by simply paying themselves so-called owner compensation replacement. The amount that can be forgiven is based on your 2019 net self-employment income and can be up to 100% of the loan amount. However, the maximum loan amount for a self-employed person with no employees is $20,833.  For free assistance with questions on the PPP benefits, Email deborah@vashonbeprepared.org or call (206) 200-3236.   (6/22/20)

·       Welcome to Phase 2: The state Department of Health approved King County’s application to move to Phase 2 of the Governor’s four phase reopening plan. However, public health experts say it is crucial to continue social distancing, regular hand washing and wearing cloth masks. There’s no vaccine for COVID-19 and there’s still active disease in our community. Taking steps for safety not only protects you but all those around you.  For the list of permitted activities and the limitations visit https://www.kingcounty.gov/depts/health/covid-19/safe-start.aspx   (6/19/20)

·       What’s Allowed: Phase 2 allows one gathering per week with no more than five people living outside of a single household.  Phase 2 allows significantly reduces restrictions on a range of businesses. Some examples include:

  •    Restaurants may offer indoor and outdoor dining at 50% of capacity, but with no bar seating;
  •    In-store retail may operate at up to 30% capacity;
  •    Personal Services (such as barbers, salons and tattoo studios) at 50% capacity;
  •    Professional services (such as accountants and attorneys) may return to their offices at 50% capacity;
  •    Fitness studios may offer group workouts but only if limited to 5 or fewer people;
  •    Real Estate offices may operate at 50% capacity and no more than 3 person at an appointment;
  •    Pet grooming may operate with occupancy below 50%  (6/19/20)

·       The New York Times reports that numerous states continue to report concerning COVID-19 trends.  The analysis indicates that 20 states are reporting significant increases in COVID-19 incidence, based on a 7-day average.  Among these states, 12 appear to be reporting record daily incidence over the past several days. Texas reported its highest one day new case tally and its highest COVID-19 hospitalizations numbers yesterday, in addition to the state’s second highest test positivity since April.  Florida has seen an increase of 90% over the previous week and today reported a record 4000 new cases.  Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the director general of the W.H.O. said “Many people are understandably fed up with being at home. Countries are understandably eager to open up their societies and their economies.  But the virus is still spreading fast. It is still deadly and most people are still susceptible.”  He “urged individuals to continue to maintain distance from others, to cover their noses and mouths with masks when appropriate and wash their hands.”   (6/19/20)

·       Public Health – Seattle & King County reports that over 50% of the COVID-19 positive tests in the county over the past week have been from persons under the age of 40.  This change in age demographics should not be taken lightly.  Persons under 40 with preexisting health issues are very susceptible unusually to serious illness from the virus.  If you think you have been exposed to someone with the virus, get tested, regardless of age.   (6/19/20)

·       Vashon Island Chamber of Commerce is maintaining a list of business status as activities become eligible to reopen.  Some business / non-profits may open, some may elect to keep their doors closed, or they might opt to open but operate in a slightly different way.  Visit https://www.vashonchamber.com/virtual-essential-vashon (6/19/20)

·       The Vashon Unofficial Mayor fundraiser race has started.  Each of the four candidates represents a charity, and the candidate that raises the most money wins.  Winner will be announced on July 18th.  See the candidate platforms and vote at the Chamber of Commerce’s polling site. https://vashonislandchamber.chambermaster.com/store/unofficial-mayor   (6/19/20)

·       The latest Washington State Department of Health (DOH) report shows a significant increase in viral activity in Eastern Washington with concentrated spikes in Yakima, Spokane, Benton and Franklin counties.  Recent Re -- best estimate of infected person transmit rate – shows increases in both Western and Eastern Washington suggest increasing transmission statewide. In Western Washington, the latest is Re = 1.16. In Eastern Washington, the latest best estimate is Re = 1.48. The statewide goal is Re = 1.00.   (6/18/20)

·       Requirements for religious and faith-based organizations under Start Smart Phase 1.5 and 2 have been modified to increase capacity.  Both Start Smart levels are now permitted to hold indoor services up to 25% of building capacity or 200 people whichever is less.  These maximum capacity allowances assume that 6 foot social distancing can be achieved so service capacity may need to be lowered to meet social distancing requirements.  Full guidance at  https://www.governor.wa.gov/sites/default/files/Phase%201-3%20-%20Religious%20and%20faith-based%20orgs%20FINAL_6%2018%202020.pdf

·       The Vashon Community Care Team is a branch of the Medical Reserve Corps. in collaboration with VashonBePrepared.  CCT asks help in identifying ways to better support the efforts of our essential workers and caregivers.  They are conducting a brief survey to determine how best to do that. The survey is at  https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/8BD6CWL   (6/18/20)

·       The Vashon Community Care Team Help Line is available for psychological or spiritual assistance, every day from 8am to 8 pm.  This pandemic may result in increased anxiety, depression, and stress due to feelings of isolation and uncertainty, if you need some assistance call 206-701-0694. If your call is not immediately answered you will be able to leave a message for a call back from a counselor on duty.   (6/18/20)

·       The Vashon Senior Center reports, despite a huge increase in demand compared to last year, they still have capacity to provide more meals to seniors aged 55 or over. Seniors who would like a break from cooking lunch, are invited to call the Center at 206/463-5173, or request lunch delivery online at https://www.vashoncenter.org/lunch-delivery   Delivery team follows all virus safety protocols.  (6/18/20)

·       Vashon's Meals on Wheels program, which is served in King County by the nonprofit Sound Generations, delivers frozen meals to Vashon residents who are over age 60 or with a disability, for whom it's difficult to shop or cook. Currently they have about 15 active clients on Vashon, with room for more. They can also cater to some special diets. Reach them at 206/448-5767 or online at https://soundgenerations.org/our-programs/food-security/meals-on-wheels/   (6/18/20)

·       King County Metro will restore some bus and water taxi service starting June 22.  Vashon bus routes 118 and 119 will resume service on the island, but the schedule will not be posted until Saturday.  A note on the announcement indicates 118 and 119 are in a category of routes that will have fewer trips or reduced hours. Also on June 22, the Water Taxi will resume its full schedule to Vashon of three morning and afternoon trips.  For complete schedule visit  https://kingcounty.gov/depts/transportation/metro/schedules-maps.aspx  (6/17/20)

·       Public Health – Seattle & King County has updated the Race and Ethnicity Dashboard.  A summary of the results are through June 15 and include 8,791 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in King County.   “Rates for nearly all communities of color are higher, with statistical significance, than Whites (190.2 per 100,000). The rate of confirmed cases is highest among Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islanders (1120.3 per 100,000) and Hispanics (1053.8 per 100,000); followed by Blacks (567.8 per 100,000), American Indians/Alaska Natives (329.1 per 100,000) and Asians (223.1 per 100,000). Small numbers, limited availability of testing, and missing data should be considered when interpreting the data.”  Visit https://www.kingcounty.gov/depts/health/covid-19/data/race-ethnicity.aspx   (6/17/20)

·       AARP Foundation Tax-Aide offers free online tax prep assistance. The tax filing deadline has been postponed to July 15, 2020.  Due to COVID-19, all AARP Tax-Aide locations are currently closed, but tax prep assistance is still available online.  Visit  https://www.aarp.org/benefits-discounts/all/aarp-foundation-taxaide/    (6/17/20)

·       Public Health – Seattle & King County cautions that “Wildfire smoke may increase the severity of symptoms for people with COVID-19.  COVID-19 can make it much harder to breathe.  Poor air quality caused by wildfire smoke may make it even harder for people to fight COVID-19 since both have the potential to affect the lungs, and other overlapping parts of the immune system. Many people most susceptible to COVID-19 are also those most vulnerable to the impacts of wildfire smoke.”  For tips on how to be prepared for wildfire season visit https://publichealthinsider.com/2020/06/16/wildfire-smoke-preparedness-during-the-covid-19-pandemic/   (6/17/20)

·       New COVID-19 case reported on Vashon.  Public Health – Seattle & King County reported today 1 new positive test from a Vashon resident.  This is the first positive test on Vashon since April 13.  Vashon still remains significantly lower in confirmed virus cases at only 46.3 per 100,000, compared to the county as a whole at 397.7 per 100,000.   (6/16/20)

·       Vashon Events is now maintaining a list of restaurants with information on takeout, delivery and dining in.  The list will be maintained on their website and updated as frequently as possible.  Restaurants should send any updates directly to Vashon Events for inclusion in the list.  For the latest information on island restaurants visit  https://www.vashonevents.org/togo   (6/16/20)

·       Small Business Administration has reopened the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) and EIDL Advance program portal to all eligible applicants experiencing economic impacts due to COVID-19.  The application portal will assist all new applicants, additional small businesses and non-profits to apply and receive long-term, low interest loans and emergency grants.  Visit https://www.sba.gov/funding-programs/disaster-assistance   (6/16/20)

·       King County Emergency Management has said “Amidst high unemployment hovering around 15% in King County, triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic, more people need help getting food. In King County, 10,000 more households received Basic Food assistance in April than in January, a 10.5% increase. Basic Food assistance includes the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), previously known as food stamps, and the state Food Assistance Program (FAP).”  To help finding food resources King County has an interactive map that provides location specific details.  Visit https://humaninterests.seattle.gov/2020/03/27/seattle-area-food-resources-map/    (6/16/20)

·       Washington State Department of Health has issued guidance for K-12 school openings for summer and fall sessions.  The guidance allows for the possibility of in-person classes with local district decision making about the approach. The guidance requires masks, social distancing and other protections if in-person teaching is conducted.  The full documents are listed under Schools and Child Care at https://www.doh.wa.gov/Emergencies/NovelCoronavirusOutbreak2020COVID19/ResourcesandRecommendations   (6/15/20)

·       Employment Security Department (ESD) is getting help form the National Guard to verify the validity of the backlog of unemployment claims in the state.  CNN reports that 190,000 claims have been held up as potentially fraudulent since mid-May.  The agency is targeting the end of the month to have the claims resolved, a delay from the original target due to the high volume of applications.  https://www.cnn.com/2020/06/12/politics/unemployment-benefits-washington-state-national-guard/index.html     (6/15/20)

·       County Executive Dow Constantine has described race as a public health crisis, “King County government and Public Health – Seattle & King County are committed to working in stronger and better resourced partnerships with community organizations and leaders to disrupt and dismantle racism and protect the health and well-being of Black, Indigenous People and People of Color.” He continued: “We recognize that historically and currently King County has been complicit in maintaining and perpetuating structural racism, and that as an institution we must be a vital player in dismantling oppressive systems that are grounded in white supremacy.”  https://publichealthinsider.com/2020/06/11/racism-is-a-public-health-crisis (6/15/20)

·       Coaching & technical assistance is available for businesses in unincorporated King County.   Technical assistance coaches can help with information about the latest (federal, state, and local) funding and loan resources, utility bill assistance, grant or funding application forms, and coaching to help businesses survive the impacts of Covid-19 closures.  Call 206-331-3275 (Relay 711) and leave a voice mail with your contact information or visit  www.kingcounty.gov/LocalBusinessHelp (6/15/20)

Situation Reports

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

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

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

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