Summary for September 18, 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 9/18/20: 

  • 1,809 Total persons tested, 27 persons tested since last Situation Report on Wednesday
  • 19 confirmed positive COVID-19 cases, 0 new cases since last Situation Report on Wednesday
  • Date of last positive test: September 4  
  • 1 person had been hospitalized. Date of last hospitalization: April 10
  • 0 Vashon deaths

King County COVID-19 Case Count as of 9/18/20: 

  • 21,304 confirmed positive cases, 146 new since last Situation Report on Wednesday
  • 748 deaths, 0 new since last Situation Report on Wednesday

Washington State COVID-19 Case Count as of 9/16/20:

  • 81,198 confirmed positive cases, 386 new since last Situation Report on Wednesday
  • 2,031 deaths, 11 new since last Situation Report on Wednesday

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

Health Tip:

Public Health experts urge you take action by getting a flu vaccination this season. It is particularly important this year. Public Health – Seattle & King County (PHSKC ) say the organization is worried about the annual flu outbreak compounding COVID-19 during this fall and winter’s “respiratory virus” season. Dr. Jeff Duchin, Health Officer for PHSKC, explains that flu shots will reduce your risk for becoming ill and for needing medical attention. Preventing flu also helps ensure hospitals and medical resources are available for COVID-19 patients and others who need them.  Getting vaccinated for the flu helps protect our household members and others in the community – especially older adults, young children, pregnant women, and people with chronic medical conditions or weakened immune systems.  https://publichealthinsider.com/2020/09/14/why-flu-vaccine-is-more-important-during-covid-19

Vashon Pharmacy offers a full-line vaccination services, include the yearly flu vaccine.  No prescription is required.  Check with a Vashon Pharmacy pharmacist to see what vaccines and insurance coverages you qualify for, at 206-463-9118. Vaccine paperwork can be completed in advance online at  https://hipaa.jotform.com/202391100977048.  Flu vaccinations also will be available through your medical provider.

New Developments since Last Report:

The state's application for the Lost Wages Assistance program has been approved for a total of 6 weeks, between Aug 1 and Sept 5. Employment Security Department will start processing payments of $300 to eligible claimants for this new program on Monday, Sept. 21. Payments will be retroactive for all weeks for which the claimant was eligible, and for which funding is available from the federal government. Upon the processing date, eligible claimants will receive the funds as soon as their bank processes the payment. Visit:  https://esd.wa.gov/unemployment/lwa 

If you need help filing for unemployment, the Chamber of Commerce Ask the Expert person will consult with you on how to proceed. Email  deborah@vashonbeprepared.org or call (206) 200-3236. 

A Safe Start update will now allow Wedding and Funeral receptions to resume, as long as they meet specific requirements. Receptions and ceremonies must be capped at 30 people, or 25% of venue occupancy, whichever is less. In addition, all tables at the reception must be seated by household, with table sizes capped at 5 people.  Requirements for facial coverings, and social distancing must be maintained.    https://www.governor.wa.gov/sites/default/files/COVID19%20Phase%202%20and%20Phase%203%20Wedding%20and%20Funeral%20Guidance.pdf  

Real Estate guidance has been amended to expand viewings, inspections, and other common activities. The number of people permitted at in-person real estate activities has expanded from three to five. This allows families and other parties to conduct walk-throughs, viewings, appraisals, and inspections. Physical distancing and cloth face coverings remain required precautions.   https://www.governor.wa.gov/sites/default/files/COVID19Phase2RealEstateGuidelines.pdf  

The Washington State Department of Health (DOH) has been working on a COVID-19 vaccination plan, in order to be ready for whenever the vaccine becomes available.  The plan is being developed is based on the CDC prioritization playbook. Because there won’t be a lot of vaccine available in the first round, the state will work on further prioritization. Some likely possibilities for the first priority groups to receive vaccine are: essential workers, health care workers and residents and workers at long-term care facilities. The DOH says that all possible vaccine candidates are in various stages of testing in humans to ensure they are both safe and effective and that the Department will be closely monitoring the FDA approval process to make sure it is thorough and transparent. https://www.doh.wa.gov/Newsroom/Articles/ID/2380/COVID-19-vaccine-update-Prioritization-and-pilot-project-plans  

Two free classes are being offered to help parents detect and deal with substance abuse by their children. Vashon Alliance to Reduce Substance Abuse (VARSA) points out that dealing with COVID-19 for the past 6 months has been stressful for adults, teens and children alike. Parents need to be aware of the signs that their children, or the friends of their children, are suffering from depression or using drugs or alcohol to cope. One of the most effective ways to reduce and prevent underage substance use is to educate parents of teens. VARSA is offering two parent education webinars: (Registration is required, use the links below)

Progress on Community Support Operations

Emergency Operations Center (EOC): The current activation passed the six months mark this past week. It has been 191 days (27 weeks, 2 days) since our EOC was activated on March 12. Our current operational priorities are health, food and shelter. Community economic recovery efforts continue through our partnership with Vashon Chamber of Commerce. We continue at the Maintenance & Monitoring level of activation.

Incident Command: Planning has started as we look ahead to the next potential phase of the activation, anticipating needs and scaling the organization and incident command activities to match.

Medical Reserve Corps: Much of the MRC testing site operates outdoors. This week, the stock of N95 masks for the site was replenished due to smoke conditions. In addition, plans are being made to adapt the site for changing weather conditions since it appears it will need to keep going for some months to come, even as fall and winter weather arrive. 

Situation Section: The EOC continues to monitor fire weather and air quality, noting that conditions began easing today with the rain and associated changes in air flow that will push smoke out of the region. AirNow.gov predicts good air quality by Sunday.

School Reopening: EOC Team members have completed their core assignment, supporting Vashon Island School District in its exploration of potential outdoor classroom approaches. A catalog of options has been delivered to the Superintendent of Schools ranging from use of existing covered spaces to various types of structures from yurts to light "sail" type fabric panels. The District has already begun implementing one option, light duty tents for one of the preschool classes for small group in-person teaching. The District, in a note to households, indicates it will be taking a methodical, controlled approach going forward, learning as it goes from the initial efforts such as this initial small outdoor space trial. The EOC "Tent Team" will remain on call as needed for consultation on site layouts and other implementation assistance.

Items from Previous Situation Reports:

PDF Archive of items from August here
Food Security:

This section of the report will focus on Food Security for Vashon.  Food Security is the measure of availability of food, including our residents’ access to food and its affordability.  

  • Meals on Wheels offers relief to older adults and caregivers by delivering reliable, nutritious meals on a weekly basis. For many older adults, circumstances can make shopping or preparing food difficult and that may have been exacerbated by the pandemic.  The Meals on Wheels program serves King County residents aged 60 or more, who have difficulty shopping or cooking. For those under 60, a private pay option is available at the cost of $7 per meal. On Vashon, Meals on Wheels currently delivers an average of 100 meals per week to about 20 clients.  You can order 7 to 14 meals per week. Meals are delivered frozen once per week and packaged in trays that are ready to heat in a microwave or conventional oven. Many meal options are available including vegetarian, vegan, low-sodium, kosher, and halal-certified. Vashon folks who want to apply and who speak English should call the Vashon Senior Center at 406-463-5173. The local Meals on Wheels representative will call them back and fill out their application online while talking with the client on the phone. Non-English speakers should call Sound Generations at (206) 448-5767 or 1-888-308-6325 or email them at mealsonwheels@soundgenerations.org.  For more information visit: https://soundgenerations.org/our-programs/food-security/meals-on-wheels/
  • Since March 11, the Senior Center has been delivering hot, nutritious lunches to seniors three days a week, totaling almost 4000 meals.  This fall the meal delivery program will continue.  Regardless of household income the program delivers lunch to anyone age 55 and older who requests it.  Just as with their on-site meals pre-COVID, the Senior Center asks for a donation of $5.00 per lunch to help cover actual cost of $10.38 per meal, but no one will be turned away due to inability to pay.  The delivery program has a secondary benefit of helping with seniors’ feeling of isolation that can have a negative impact on a person’s mental well-being and can lead to depression.  You can sign up for lunches, via phone at (206) 463-5173, by email to lunch@vashoncenter.org, or by using a form at the website https://www.vashoncenter.org/lunch-delivery.
  • Food Access Partnership (FAP), a part of Vashon Island Growers’ Association, provides a channel for island farmers to help feed island residents. FAP provides two programs. The original of the two programs, Farm Bucks, provides scrips (like vouchers) that can be used for shopping at participating island farm stands.  Farm Bucks require shoppers to find a farmer source, and also to affiliate with a social service agency such as VYFS or the Food Bank.  A new program provides a more convenient way for folks in need of fresh local food to shop at participating farm stands. The new Farmstand Credit program launched on August 30th. Itoperates on the honor system and you can opt in right at the farm stand.  To use the Farmstand Credit program find the FAP Credit clipboard at one of the seven participating farm stands.  Choose the foods you need, then record the foods on the Farmstand Credit sheet. FAP will pay the farmers for the foods that are recorded on the Farmstand Credit sheet.   For more information or participating partners, email foodaccesspartnership@vigavashon.orgor visit: https://foodaccesspartnership.vigavashon.org/
  • U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced it has extended summer meals program so operators may continue serving free meals to all children into the fall months and through December 31st to help with the response to the COVID-19 pandemic. https://www.usda.gov/media/press-releases/2020/08/31/usda-extends-free-meals-kids-through-december-31-2020

  • Vashon Island School District food service will offer breakfast and lunch every school day for all VISD students, even during this pandemic remote learning period. Island-wide meal delivery service begins tomorrow September 1stand meals can also be picked up at High School for all VISD students, between 8 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. on scheduled school days. Delivery locations, pricing for meals and applications for free meals can be found at https://www.vashonsd.org/Page/2516

  • The Washington State Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) announced a new emergency program for ALL children in grades K-12 in Washington who receive free or reduced-price school meals. The benefit allows up to a maximum of $399 of P-EBT for families to buy groceries while schools are on pandemic remote learning.  The program will not affect immigration status. The deadline is September 11th.  Apply at https://www.washingtonconnection.org/home/

  • Public Health – Seattle & King County has released a new study on the county’s food needs.  The study found about 9% of adults in King, Pierce, and Snohomish counties combined reported in June 2020 that their households did not have enough food, compared to about 5% experiencing this before March.  Enrollment in basic food assistance program increased by 18% among King County households from January to June 2020.  The report noted that younger adults (ages 18-44), low-income adults (<$25,000/year), adults with less than a high school education, and adults who had never been married were more likely to lack sufficient food.  The study did not release information by detailed race/ethnicity information and so American Indian/Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander, people of multiple races, and people identifying with another race are reported together and are unable to be disaggregated.  This group was the most likely to not have enough food (31%), followed by Black and Hispanic/Latinx respondents (both 13%). Full report at: https://www.kingcounty.gov/depts/health/covid-19/data/impacts/~/media/depts/health/communicable-diseases/documents/C19/food-insecurity-brief-report-august-2020.ashx
  • Suicide Prevention Day is Tomorrow: VashonBePrepared’s Community Care Team kicks off suicide prevention month with a free live broadcast: "Tales from the Edge: Suicide Survivors Share Their Stories."  The live-streaming broadcast is tomorrow September 10that 7pm. It will include two suicide survivors and a clinician, who will share their stories with host Susan McCabe.  The program is co-sponsored by Vashon Center for the Arts and Voice of Vashon. Community Care Team is a unit of Vashon Medical Reserve Corps. Join the live stream at: https://vashoncenterforthearts.org/event/tales-from-the-edge-suicide-survivors-share-their-stories/  (9/9/20)
  • September is National Suicide Prevention Month.This year, with the extra stress of the pandemic, getting help when needed is more important than ever. On Vashon, we have two free support groups ready to help.  Vashon Youth and Family Services (VYFS) can provide counseling for residents of all ages, via phone, Zoom, or outdoors with social distancing. Contact VYFS at 206-463-5511. A VashonBePrepared volunteer unit also offers a mental health resource, the Medical Reserve Corps Community Care Team Help Line at 206-701-0694. The Help Line is staffed from 8am to 8am every day, for referrals to spiritual support as well as mental health counseling.   (9/9/20)
  • Washington State Department of Health recommends you reduce your exposure to wildfire smoke particularly with the impacts of COVID-19.  Early evidence indicates wildfire smoke exposures can make people more susceptible to respiratory infections, likely including COVID-19.  Wildfire smoke exposure increases health impacts for people with heart and lung diseases, people with respiratory infections, people with diabetes, stroke survivors, infants, children, pregnant women, and people over 65 years of age, and persons with, or recovering from, COVID-19.  Visit  https://www.doh.wa.gov/Portals/1/Documents/1600/coronavirus/WFSCOVID_Recommendations.pdf    (9/9/20)

  • National Weather Service (NWS)has announced a Red Flag warning for most of the Puget Sound area through Thursday night due to gusty winds, low humidity, and unstable conditions for fire weather zones. The hottest days of the week will be Wednesday and Thursday. Eastern winds later this evening will impact air quality in the Puget Sound area.  While Vashon is not included in the current Red Flag warning, it is important to be very careful to avoid causing fires.  https://forecast.weather.gov/wwamap/wwatxtget.php?cwa=sew&wwa=red%20flag%20warning (9/9/20)

  • King County Fire Marshal Chris Rickettshas issued a Stage 2 burn ban for King County, which prohibits all outdoor recreational fires. Outdoor cooking and heating appliances are limited to approved manufactured gas and charcoal units only.   (9/9/20)
  • Puget Sound Clean Air Agencyhas posted that air quality is considered unhealthyfor all groups (not just sensitive groups) in many areas of the central Puget Sound region due to wildfire smoke. Variable winds are making it difficult to know how long these conditions will persist.  See a map of the region’s air quality at: https://secure.pscleanair.org/AirQuality/NetworkMap(9/9/20)

  • Washington State Department of Healthstrongly discourages employers from requiring their employees to test negative before returning to work after a confirmed COVID-19 infection. People with confirmed COVID-19 infection who are not hospitalized can return to work after:
    • At least 10 days since symptoms first appeared, and
    • At least 24 hours with no fever without fever-reducing medication, and
    • Other symptoms of COVID-19 are improving (Note: Loss of taste and smell may persist for weeks or months after recovery and need not delay the end of isolation)

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

  • household on Vashon is self-isolatingafter four family members tested positive for COVID-19.  Positive family members had only mild or no symptoms, underlining the importance of testing people with mild symptoms as well as all household contacts of those who test positive.   Based on initial interviews with the Vashon MRC, it appears the family has had no concerning close contacts with others.  The family is being monitored daily by a member of the Medical Reserve Corps plus a household support liaison from the Emergency Operations Center.   While support for this family is being provided by close friends, it is important for Islanders to know that a variety of social service groups are available to help families cope with the requirements of quarantine or isolation. Household members have been instructed on how to safely receive food and other deliveries.   (9/4/20)

  • King County Water Taxi will not run on Monday Sept 7 due to the holiday.  Water Taxi schedule is at https://www.kingcounty.gov/depts/transportation/water-taxi.aspx   (9/4/20)
  • Vashon Park Districtreminds residents that Ober Park Playground is closed.  The playground lacks the required sanitizing stations and staff to preform disinfections as required by state Safe Start orders.  Park’s plans to reopen the playground when Vashon moves to Phase 3 reopening.    (9/4/20)
  • Washington State Department of Health has said it “is closely monitoring progress toward development of a vaccine for COVID-19. We are engaged in vaccine planning efforts and we will be ready to distribute a safe and effective vaccine as soon as the time comes. However, all vaccine candidates are still in clinical trials to determine their safety and efficacy.  DOH’s position is that any COVID-19 vaccine should complete Phase 3 trials before being distributed, unless an independent board of scientists reviewing the data finds otherwise based on data from those trials. At this crucial juncture, it is incumbent upon the federal government to critically evaluate these new vaccines for their safety and efficacy in an unbiased way”.  (9/4/20)

  • The Department of Employment Securityis offering monthly small business webinars to provide up-to-date information to assist businesses during the pandemic recovery. Topics include unemployment insurance, returning employees to work, PPP and EIDL loans, workplace safety, face covering requirements, and other topics important to employers.  The next webinar will be held on Sept. 9 at 1:30 p.m. Visit: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/small-business-requirements-and-resources-sbrr-covid-19-impact-webinar-tickets-105298340170    (9/4/20)

  • Department of Employment Security reports a small reduction in Vashon unemployment claims for the week of August 29.  Vashon claims totaled 578, down from 598 the week prior.  The unemployment rate on Vashon is 12% compared to King County as a whole of 8.3%.  If you need help filing for unemployment, the Chamber of Commerce Ask the Expert person will consult with you on how to proceed.  Email deborah@vashonbeprepared.org:or call (206) 200-3236.    (9/4/20)

  • Gov. Inslee has extended the waiver and suspension of rules relating to a one-week waiting period to collect unemployment insurance through the Employment Security Department.  The waiver is extended until Sept 1st.  (9/4/20)

  • University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) released its first worldwide COVID-19 projections by country.  The report offers a daunting global forecast, as well as a roadmap, toward relief from COVID-19.  The study predicts nearly 770,000 lives worldwide could be saved between Sept. 3 and Jan. 1 by people wearing masks and social distancing.  Researchers said deaths could reach 2.8 million by Jan. 1, which is about 1.9 million more from now until the end of the year with daily deaths in December reaching as high as 30,000 worldwide.  “We are facing the prospect of a deadly December, especially in Europe, Central Asia and the United States. But the science is clear and the evidence irrefutable: mask-wearing, social distancing and limits to social gatherings are vital to helping prevent transmission of the virus” said IHME Director Dr. Christopher Murray. http://www.healthdata.org/news-release/first-covid-19-global-forecast-ihme-projects-three-quarters-million-lives-could-be   (9/4/20)

  • In the same report theInstitute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME)at the University of Washington presented new modeling for the U.S.  The studies most likely scenario predicts an estimated 410,451 deaths in the US by January 1st, which would mean an estimated 224,000 additional deaths in the next four months.   (9/4/20)
  • Lost Wages Assistance:  The federal Lost Wages Assistance program has been approved by the federal government for up to five weeks of additional relief funding. This will allow the Washington Employment Security Department (ESD) to pay a boost of $300 per week for the weeks ending August 1st, 8th, 15th, 22nd, and 29th, to workers who received state unemployment benefits due to COVID-19 disruptions during those weeks. Participating states will be applying each week for funds from the LWA program, until LWA program funds are depleted. Payouts will be sent out starting on September 21st.  More info athttps://esd.wa.gov/unemployment/lwa   (9/2/20)
  • Governor Inslee has announced that job search requirementsfor unemployment benefits remain suspended through Oct. 1. This means the soonest claimants will be required to actively seek work is Oct. 4.  If you need help filing for unemployment, the Chamber of Commerce Ask the Expert person will consult with you on options. Email deborah@vashonbeprepared.orgailto:or call (206) 200-3236.    (9/2/20)
  • King County Eviction Prevention and Rent Assistance Program announced a new $41.4 million program for emergency housing aid to for individuals and families throughout King County who have been economically impacted by COVID-19.  To be eligible for assistance, all tenants must have an income that is at or below 50 percent of the Area Median Income over the past 60 days, and must be partially or fully behind at least one month of rent since March 1, 2020. Tenants must also meet one of several secondary criteria, such as having high rent burden, a history of homelessness or eviction, or a disability. Visit:  https://kingcounty.gov/depts/community-human-services/COVID/eviction-prevention-rent-assistance.aspx  (9/2/20)
  • King County Local Services will kick off a series of Town Hall meetings for residents and businesses in the unincorporated parts of the County.  Each event will run from 6 to 9 p.m.  Local Services will post Zoom links that users can use to join each meeting as it gets closer to the day of the event.  The Town Hall for Vashon-Maury Island will be held on Oct. 22.  (9/2/20)
  • The King County Small Business Assistance Grantis open until the end of the week.  These grants are for businesses that have been hurt by the COVID-19 pandemic and are located in unincorporated parts of King County, such as Vashon.  The updated requirements mean more businesses are potentially eligible for grant money than during the first round.  The new deadline to apply is this Friday, Sept. 4. Visit www.kingcounty.gov/LocalBusinessHelp   (9/2/20)

  • Washington Emergency Management Divisionis offering a two-part webinar series for the general public titled Re-Prepare.  The purpose of these webinars is to encourage everyone to re-evaluate their preparedness, review their family plan, and re-stock their disaster kits.  Topics will also include mental and emotional resiliency, identifying home hazards, and how to talk to others about disaster preparedness.  There is no registration; simply click the appropriate link at 11:30am on the two Thursdays, September 3rdand September 17th. These webinars are FREE and everyone is welcome to join (including people outside WA)!
  • The CDC advises that most Americans who have tested positive for coronavirus can return to work or school 10 days after the onset of symptoms, unless the illness requires hospitalization.  That’s because the patient has not been considered contagious after 10 days. However, new research suggests that the patients are often nowhere near back to 100% within the benchmark period.  Some 35% of patients surveyed by the agency said they still weren't back to their usual good health even two to three weeks after testing positive for the disease.  According a research paper just published in the British Medical Journal, proposes that patients may need to wait over a month before being retested to know whether they have cleared the virus.  Even once patients do test negative, many report that their symptoms -- from aches to loss of the sense of smell to brain fog and affected mood -- can last months longer. "We think that this long-term damage may in part be due to vascular damage, kind of a footprint that the virus leaves even when it's gone from the body," Dr. William Li told CNN.  http://www.cnn.com/2020/09/01/health/long-haul-coronavirus-doctor-patient/index.html    (9/2/20)

Situation Reports

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

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

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

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