This morning Governor Jay Inslee announced rollbacks that will severely effect of our social, economic and cultural life in Washington. The rollbacks are needed to reverse the trends of COVID spread before our hospitals and medical staff are overwhelmed. Inslee said our statewide cases have “doubled in the last two weeks” and “inaction is not an option”, and that this virus wave is ”more dangerous than the March wave”. The Governor continued “There is light at the end of this tunnel. We will continue to fight, adapt and persevere. It may be months before we’re totally in the clear, but medical advances are putting us closer to the goal of restoring all activities eventually. For now, we have to keep everyone’s interests in mind and take steps that protect all Washingtonians.”
All rollbacks are effective midnight Monday, November 16th, and will remain in place until December 14th. The modified restrictions of restaurants, however, will take effect Wednesday, November 18 at 12:01 am. The announced rollbacks by Gov. Inslee include:
- Restaurants and bars must shutdown indoor service and limit outdoor service to parties of five or less. To-go service is permitted following current guidelines.
- Indoor gatherings with people outside your household will be prohibited unless participants have followed one of two protocols. They may quarantine for fourteen (14) days prior to the gathering or they may choose to quarantine for seven (7) days prior and receive a negative COVID-19 test within two days of the planned gathering.
- Outdoor social gatherings should be limited to no more than five people from outside your household
- Religious services may continue, but indoor attendance must be limited to 25% of capacity, or 200 people, whatever is less. Choirs, bands or ensembles are prohibited from performing.
- Wedding and funeral ceremonies will be limited to 30 people. Receptions of all sizes are prohibited at the ceremonies.
- Retail stores, including grocery and convenience stores must limit occupancy to 25% and must close food court seating.
- Long-term care facilities can accept visitors only in outdoor settings, with limited exceptions for end-of-life care and essential support personnel.
- Movie theaters and museums are to close for indoor service.
- Indoor gyms and fitness centers must shutdown.
- Personal services, such as barber shops and salons, are limited to 25% capacity
Offices are required to mandate employees work from home, if possible, and must limit occupancy to 25% if they remain open for staff. They must be closed to the public.
Gov. Inslee is establishing a $50 million fund for grants to help small businesses with the impacts of the rollbacks. Full details will be available in the next couple days. (11/15/20)
COVID-19 cases continue to soar in King County. In the past four days of reporting, the daily 7-day average in King County has increased over 16% (422 vs 362). Pierce County is seeing a similar outbreak rate of increase, reporting an average 149 daily cases over a 14-day period. Hospitalizations and deaths lag the rise in positive cases, but are showing increases over the past couple weeks. Most of the new cases in King County are in the 20 to 29 year-old age range followed by 30 to 39 year-olds. Transmission sources are largely from non-household family and friends, where patients felt it was safe to relax their precautions. Vashon case numbers are still low compared to the mainland, but have increased over the past six weeks. But that does not mean we can relax, because the Ferry is not a disease proof boundary – quite the opposite. Although ferry traffic is down from a year ago, it’s not down by much. Washington State Ferries statistics show that 3,300 people per day make round trips on our ferries in order to go to work, school, medical appointments and shopping. That shows transmission from mainland hotspots is very possible. https://www.kingcounty.gov/depts/health/covid-19/data.aspx (11/13/20)
King County hospitals are on a trend to run out of ICU and Acute Beds. King County hospitals are listed with a rating of ‘Caution’ by the Healthcare Emergency Coordination Center in the latest weekly report. Across the US, hospitals do not have adequate bed space, ventilators, PPE, and other critical supplies. Field hospitals have been established in some cities —and humanitarian hospital ships deployed—because even large urban hospitals in some locations are not able to handle the patient surge. Notably, the US CDC ensemble model forecasts that weekly mortality could reach more than 8,600 deaths by the first week of December, which would equate to approximately 1,230 daily deaths (50% prediction range: 1,052 to 1,536 deaths per day). (11/13/20)
COVID-19 is spreading rapidly across Washington. The best estimates of the reproductive number (how many new people each COVID-19 patient will infect) are 1.29 in western Washington and 1.36 in eastern Washington as of October 30. As of November 11th, the King County reproductive number was at 1.2. The goal is a number well below one, which would mean COVID-19 transmission is declining. “I am extremely concerned about what seems to be an accelerating trend in the spread of COVID-19. Immediate action is needed from all of us to avoid new restrictions and prevent our hospitals from becoming overwhelmed.” said State Health Officer Dr. Kathy Lofy. “This situation is extraordinarily urgent, and we’re running out of time to change direction. We need everyone in Washington State to take action now to stop the spread of COVID-19.” PHSKC recommends you wear a mask around people you don’t live with (even close friends and family). Stay home as much as possible, limit the number, size and frequency of gatherings, and only attend gatherings that are essential. Wash your hands frequently, get your flu shot, and stay home if you’re sick. People who want to visit family for Thanksgiving should limit themselves to only the most essential activities now, and essentially quarantine for two weeks before even a small outdoor gathering. For full report see: https://covid.idmod.org/data/WA_Situation_Report_20_COVID-19_transmission_across_Washington_State.pdf (11/13/20)
The Washington Post reports the United States again shattered pandemic records, reporting more than 153,000 new coronavirus cases on Thursday, as some 66,000 people were hospitalized nationwide. It was the seventh time in nine days that reported U.S. infections reached new heights. The alarming increases in nearly every state are primarily the result of small social gatherings that take place behind closed doors, experts say, including dinner parties, game nights, sleepovers and carpools. https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/2020/national/coronavirus-us-cases-deaths/?itid=lk_inline_manual_3 (11/13/20)
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a statement that using masks does protect wearers. This is a step beyond its previous declaration that wearing masks would only protect others. CDC encourages Americans to wear masks, and advises that mask use could prevent an infected person from spreading the virus to others. “The main protection individuals gain from masking occurs when others in their communities also wear face coverings,” the CDC said. The new document listed several studies that “have confirmed the benefit of universal masking.” https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/more/masking-science-sars-cov2.html (11/13/20)
Researchers at Georgia Tech have built a COVID-19 Risk Assessment Planning Tool. The tool is designed to help policymakers, event planners and individuals easily grasp the risks associated with gatherings of different sizes throughout the United States and, increasingly, across the world. The risk level is the estimated chance (0-100%) that at least 1 COVID-19 positive individual will be present at an event in a county, given the size of the event. Visit https://covid19risk.biosci.gatech.edu/ (11/13/20)
Public Health – Seattle & King County issued a statement on this week’s announcement about the Pfizer vaccine candidate. PHSKC said it’s hopeful that a safe and effective vaccine against COVID-19 vaccine will be available before the end of the year but added that it’s important to remember no vaccine is approved for use in the United States yet. Many vaccine candidates are in clinical trials and must still apply for an Emergency Use Authorization from the Food and Drug Administration. We won’t know many details about a vaccine until that happens. PHSKC said it wants to give residents the highest confidence that they are getting clear and accurate information about COVID-19 vaccines. Vaccines are held to very high safety standards, and the COVID-19 vaccine will be no different. In addition to the safety studies done before its emergency use authorization, any approved vaccine will continue to be monitored for safety concerns. https://www.doh.wa.gov/Newsroom/Articles/ID/2461 (11/13/20)
Gov. Jay Inslee issues travel advisory for Washington. The Governor joined the Governors of California and Oregon by recommending a 14-day quarantine for interstate and international travel. It strongly asks residents to stay close to home and urges visitors entering the state or returning home from travel outside their home state to self-quarantine to slow the spread of the virus. As hospitals across the West are stretched to capacity, we must take steps to ensure travelers are not bringing this disease home with them,” said Oregon Gov. Brown. “If you do not need to travel, you shouldn’t. This will be hard, especially with Thanksgiving around the corner. But the best way to keep your family safe is to stay close to home.” https://www.governor.wa.gov/news-media/inslee-issues-travel-advisory-washington (11/13/20)
Nashi Orchards has temporarily closed their tasting room and orchard to the public until further notice. The orchard and cider production facility on Wax Orchard Road is open by appointment only for to-go purchases. Text Jim at 206-734-5551. Or visit https://www.nashiorchards.com/ (11/13/20)
Governor Jay Inslee has extended 27 proclamations relating to COVID-19 ranging from requirements for long term care facilities to waivers for late penalties and fees. Some of these proclamations impact the Employment Security Department by waiving and suspending statutes relating to job search requirements to collect unemployment insurance and the waiver of the one-week waiting period. All proclamations have been extended until December 7th. For the full list, visit https://www.governor.wa.gov/news-media/inslee-extends-27-proclamations-relating-covid-19 (11/13/20)
New study in journal PLOS found coronavirus to be stable on human skin for up to 14 days at 4 Celsius, compared to at least 96 hours at 22 Celsius under laboratory conditions. The virus also exhibited greater stability on paper currency and clothing at colder temperatures. Refrigerated conditions also enhance stability of coronavirus across all tested surfaces. The study demonstrates the continued need for strict public health measures to combat the ongoing pandemic particularly during cold weather months. https://journals.plos.org/plosntds/article?id=10.1371/journal.pntd.0008831 (11/13/20)
Public Health – Seattle & King County is investigating a new confirmed measles case in a child, with possible exposures at Sea-Tac Airport. Measles is a highly contagious and potentially severe disease that causes fever, rash, cough, and red, watery eyes. It mainly spreads through the air after a person with measles coughs or sneezes. If you were at Sea-Tac Airport, North Satellite (Gate N-11) to Baggage Claim (Carousel 13) on Thursday Nov. 5th, between 10:00 p.m. – 12:30 a.m., contact your healthcare provider. https://www.kingcounty.gov/depts/health/news/2020/November/11-measles.aspx (11/13/20)
Vashon Youth & Family Services (VYFS) is partnering with Granny's Attic to distribute Community Wellness Vouchers. As part of the VYFS Case Management program, they plan to distribute thousands of dollars in vouchers to low-income island residents or those facing extraordinary medical costs. Vouchers are redeemable for medical care at a variety of island medical providers, the Vashon Pharmacy, and a variety of other medical and wellness-related expenses. Ferry travel vouchers are also available to cover transportation to off-Island medical appointments. To obtain vouchers, you must first complete an intake with Wellness Voucher Coordinator Deborah Rieschl, call (206) 463-5511 to make an intake appointment. For more information visit https://vyfs.org/vouchers. (11/13/20)
Department of Employment Security reports a leveling off in Vashon unemployment claims. As of the week of October 26th, Vashon unemployment claims show a slight increase to 414 from 409 reported two weeks prior. To date the Chamber of Commerce Ask the Expert program has completed 946 telephone consultations. If you need help filing for unemployment, the Chamber’s Ask the Expert person will consult with you on how to proceed. Email firstname.lastname@example.org call (206) 200-3236. (11/13/20)
King County has seen the highest COVID-19 case counts experienced to date. Dr. Jeff Duchin, Health Officer for Public Health – Seattle & King County said “We can choose our path forward or we can let the virus choose it for us. Ignoring COVID-19 prevention is a recipe for unnecessary suffering. We need to do things safer, smaller, and smarter. We need to come together to support one another and protect each other in this difficult time. We still have time to change course, but we must act now”. A video of Dr. Duchin’s talk is at https://publichealthinsider.com/2020/11/09/video-november-6-2020-update-on-covid-19-in-king-county-with-dr-jeff-duchin/ (11/10/20)
On Vashon, seven new cases have been confirmed in the past 30 days, bringing the total positives to 34. “People think we are safer because we live on an island and are somehow isolated from the mainland infection. But that's just not true. We all know that hundreds of people are on the ferry every day for work, school, shopping and to visit friends and family.” said, Dr. Zach Miller, infectious disease expert, Vashon Medical Reserve Corps. Dr. Miller continued “I worry very much about what we will be facing as the weather gets colder and more people are inside, especially with the holiday seasons coming. People should think long and hard about gatherings of any kind. Already, we know that most of our Vashon cases are from off-island social events such as family gatherings”. (11/10/20)
Vashon Medical Reserve Corps has made an initial assessment of the Pfizer announcement this week of its preliminary vaccine trial result. MRC describes the announcement as welcome news, but points out that the vaccine is still a long way off for general distribution, in particular for distribution on Vashon. "As exciting as this development may be, everyone needs to keep in mind that right now, today, the danger of infection in our region is worse than it has been since the pandemic started, with new case count records being set almost daily," according to Dr. Jim Bristow. "The focus right now needs to be on keeping yourself, your family and your friends safe by practicing all the COVID-19 safety measures we have been learning about since March. Also, gatherings with people outside your household are dangerous, even though everyone really wants to get together for holidays." Dr. Ina Oppliger points out several factors that will be major challenges for anyone trying to administer the Pfizer vaccine on Vashon. She reminds everyone that the state Department of Health plan is to distribute the limited amount of vaccine for prioritized categories such as health care workers, first responders and individuals at higher risk and it may be many months before the vaccine is generally available to clinics and the pharmacy on Vashon. In addition, the Pfizer vaccine requires a level of cold storage not currently available on the island. (11/10/20)
Washington State Coronavirus Response Joint Information Center today stressed the disturbing trend of accelerated COVID cases throughout Washington State. Dr. John Wiesman, Secretary of Health, Washington State Department of Health called for action now, to flatten the curve and avoid rollbacks of Safe Start reopenings. Dr. Kathy Lofy, State Health Officer, Washington State Department of Health noted that exponential growth in cases, while testing has been flat, represented a real increase in positive cases. Increased cases are starting to translate in to hospitalizations and will start to stress these facilities and the medical workers. To flatten the curve we need to wear face coverings, gather only with household members or limit the size of gatherings with people outside our household, and maintain social distance of 6 or more feet from people outside the household. (11/10/20)
Public Health – Seattle & King County has a page of frequently asked questions about COVID symptoms, prevention and testing. The site also provides information on current health orders and sources for more information. Visit: https://www.kingcounty.gov/depts/health/covid-19/FAQ.aspx (11/10/20)
Vashon Senior Center has capacity to add more people to the list to receive delivered lunches three days per week. The service is available to anyone age 55 or older, and it's free, although a $5/meal donation is welcomed. The organization currently delivers 70 to 75 lunches on each of the three delivery days, about 35% more lunches than this time last year. The Senior Center also notes that the extended isolation has been hard, resulting in some seniors feeling lonely, depressed, and even afraid. Meal deliveries give seniors a brief respite from being alone. If you would like to join the volunteer effort, email Pamela Wickard at coordinator@VashonCenter.org. If you would like to receive meals, call (206) 463-5173. (11/10/20)
Suicide Prevention with LEARN, a step-by-step easy to understand suicide prevention technique. This week, the second part of the LEARN program is step “E”. The “E” in LEARN stands for Empathize and Listen. The short video features high school senior Laila Rhenifel as she shares her experiences about suicide. https://vimeo.com/472822200 For more on suicide prevention or where to get help, visit https://intheforefront.org/learn-saves-lives/ (11/10/20)
King County COVID numbers continue to rise sharply. Data from the Public Health – Seattle & King County Dashboard reports the county daily positive cases at 303, based on a 7-day average. This compares to the week prior where the average was at 213 and has greatly surpassed the July peak of 195. Positive cases are led by the 20-29 age range at 21.5%, followed by the 30-39 age group with 18.6% of the COVID-19 infection cases, meaning more than 40% of all cases are between 20 and 39 years old. These two groups also account for over 12% of the hospitalizations. However, older patients have much more serious trouble with COVID-19 and patients aged 50+ dominate the hospitalization and death statistics. “Increasing cases over the past two weeks means we are having more contact with one another but not taking more precautions, giving COVID-19 too many opportunities to jump from person to person. There seems to be a misconception that because we are reopening, the risk of COVID-19 has receded. But the truth is that the virus is still widespread in the community and the risk for infection remains serious,” said Dr. Jeff Duchin, Health Officer for Public Health—Seattle & King County. “We face a long-term challenge from COVID-19 that requires us to fundamentally change the way we interact with one another for the foreseeable future if we are to move forward safely,” said Dr. Duchin. (11/6/20)
The Interfaith Council to Prevent Homelessness (IFCH) responds to the needs of those who are either currently experiencing homelessness or are at risk of becoming homeless. If you need assistance with rent or utilities during this pandemic, call Hilary Emmer at 206-463-7277 or email her at email@example.com (11/6/20)
The Eviction Rent Assistance Program (ERAP) Grant is part of Washington State’s response to the COVID-19 disaster. The program intends to prevent evictions that would contribute to the spread of the virus by paying past due, current due and future rent. The ERAP is targeting limited resources to those with the greatest needs while working to distribute funds equitably. Visit: https://www.commerce.wa.gov/serving-communities/homelessness/ (11/6/20)
Washington State Department of Health (DOH) released a new report by the Institute for Disease Modeling (IDM) which quantifies how various diagnostic screening scenarios could help mitigate the risk of COVID-19 transmission associated with reopening schools. The study concluded that transmission in schools is greatly reduced through a combination of school-based countermeasures and hybrid or phased-in scheduling. The report also reaffirms the importance of reducing community transmission prior to reopening K-12 schools for in-person learning and implementing school-based countermeasures. Full report at:https://covid.idmod.org/data/Testing_the_waters_time_to_go_back_to_school.pdf (11/6/20)
New study examines COVID-19 in children. According to data published by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), more than 61,000 pediatric cases of COVID-19 were reported in the US in the last week of October, the highest weekly total to date. Through October 29, more than 850,000 pediatric cases have been reported nationally since the onset of the pandemic, representing 11% of all US cases. The data continue to indicate that severe illness is relatively rare among children; however, a number of states recently reported deaths in teenagers. The AAP calls for expanded efforts to evaluate the risk of longer-term health effects due the virus, including physical and mental health issues. This is particularly important for Black and Hispanic children, who are disproportionately affected by COVID-19. The AAP also notes that the pediatric data likely underestimate the true COVID-19 incidence in children. While many pediatric infections result in mild illness or asymptomatic infection, they can still lead to longer-term health effects or allow transmission of the infection to higher-risk individuals. https://services.aap.org/en/news-room/news-releases/aap/2020/american-academy-of-pediatrics-reports-highest-one-week-increase-in-child-cases-of-covid-19-since-onset-of-pandemic/ (11/6/20)
Medical Reserve Corps and VashonBePrepared Community Care Team will be running weekly LEARNmodel stepsto Suicide Prevention. Look for the videos in local social media postings and in emails. The program will provide weekly information and short videos on the 5-steps of suicide prevention. The first part, ‘L’ in LEARN stands for Look for Signs, was posted this weekat https://tinyurl.com/L-LookForSigns. More LEARN tips can be found at https://intheforefront.org/learn-saves-lives/ (11/6/20)
The Roasterie coffee shop will reopen on Thursday, November 12th, instead of November 9th, as originally planned. All staff who worked at the same time as the employee who tested positive for COVID-19 have also been tested and the tests all came back negative. The extended closing is to be doubly cautious and allow time for staff members involved to be tested a second time as they come off a 14-day quarantine period. The only exposure for the general public took place on Saturday, October 24th. The Medical Reserve Corps has asked anyone who was served at the barista counter on that day to call the testing site help line. You will be screened for possible testing. The Medical Reserve Corps number is: (844) 469-4554. (11/6/20)
Vashon's Eyeland Optical and the Vashon office of 20/20 Eyecare Centers is scheduled to re-open next Monday, November 9th, after being closed most of the week as a precaution. No COVID-19 exposure took place here on Vashon but 20/20 Eyecare Centers decided to take extra care and closed four of its six locations because two staff members at two different mainland offices tested positive for COVID-19. The two cases were determined to be unrelated. All of their co-workers have been tested and all tests have come back negative. Once reopened, the Vashon location will continue to maintain its COVID-19 safety protocols, including limited hours, a requirement to call ahead for an appointment, and a pre-entry screen and health check. (11/6/20)
As announced earlier this week by Vashon Island School District, a District custodial employee tested positive for COVID-19. The Vashon Medical Reserve Corps has worked closely with the other six members of the staff member's family. All of the family have been tested and all of the tests came back negative. All will remain in voluntary quarantine for the rest of the recommended period of 14 days. One of the family grouping members has a connection with Camp Sealth, including the student computing program for remote learning. That member also has a connection with the Vashon High School football team. The MRC has studied those two connections for potential exposure risk and concluded that there was no actionable exposure and that no further testing will be needed for either situation. However, as a precaution, Camp Sealth and the High School football program both shut down for a few days until the negative tests came back.(11/6/20)
The south end ferry, M/V Chetzemoka, was removed from service for two hours today, cancelling 5 crossings. The entire vessel was deep-cleaned because two employees in the vessel’s engine room – which is not accessible to the public – tested positive for COVID-19. While these employees did not work in any passenger/public areas, all the vessel’s surfaces were sanitized and disinfected. You can read WSF’s COVID Response Service Plan at https://wsdot.wa.gov/sites/default/files/2020/09/15/WSF-2020COVIDResponseServicePlan.pdf (11/6/20)
How to take care of ourselves during stressful times. When we are anxious and fearful, working some of these things into our lives can be empowering and comforting. Public Health Seattle & King County recommends you focus on establishing new practices of self-care. That can support your immune system and overall physical and mental health. Types of self-care include:
King County offers assistance through WA Listens, a program that provides nonclinical support to people experiencing elevated stress due to COVID-19. Call (833) 681-0211 to be connected to a live support specialist. The support specialist will listen and connect you to community resources in your area. The program is anonymous, and no identifying information is maintained. https://www.walistens.org/
On Vashon the Care of The Spirit Team (COST), an interfaith project sponsored by MRC and VashonBePrepared, offers free and confidential phone support to the Vashon-Maury Island community. The term "spirit" is intended broadly, to embrace the universal mysteries within, between, and beyond us as humans. COST welcomes callers from all beliefs and religious affiliations, as well as those with none. The Team respects and is guided by the values, beliefs, experiences and goals of each caller. Islanders might call COST for supportive listening, or perhaps they want help in processing major questions, or decisions made more urgent in the pandemic. COST members are islanders. They can be reached from 8am to 8pm seven days a week at 206-701-0694, Option #2.
The Vashon Community Care Team is organized to help islanders with the challenges of, isolation, self-care, relationships, and financial hardships that have been made more pronounced because of COVID-19. The Community Care Team Help Line providers on both the mental health and spiritual health extensions, provide a caring compassionate listener, comfort and engagement, stabilization (if needed), needs assessment, information on coping practical assistance, and linkage with collaborative services. All assistance is treated confidentiality to allow safety in discussion. To learn more or participate, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call the CCT Helpline at (206) 701-0694 (8am – 8pm) and leave a message with your contact information. Someone will call you back. (11/3/20)
New Island health care provider starts next week. Vashon Healthcare District has signed an agreement to have Sea Mar Community Health Centers as the new service provider for Vashon’s health center at Sunrise Ridge. The health center is currently closed for a brief transition to Sea Mar from the previous provider, Neighborcare. The clinic reopening next week on Monday Nov 9. The clinic hours will be Monday-Friday from 8am to 5 pm. To learn more about Sea Mar visit https://www.seamar.org. They also offer telehealth services at https://www.seamar.org/telehealth (11/3/20)
King County is seeing rapidly increasing daily case counts (226 7-day average) resulting in record high numbers – 13% higher than peak levels in April and July. Fortunately, thus far in King County, COVID-19 related hospitalizations remain below critical levels. However, health officials are raising alarms over the increasing COVID-19 caseloads we are experiencing. Dr. Kathy Lofy – State Health Officer and the Chief Science Officer for Washington State: said “Winter weather will challenge us to move gatherings indoors where COVID-19 spreads more easily, so we have to stay vigilant and find safer alternatives.” Dr. Jeff Duchin – Health Officer, Public Health – Seattle & King County said: “When COVID-19 cases rise too high from too much risk-taking in the community, we lose the ability to track cases & contacts to prevent further spread & identify sources of infection. There’s just too much out there. Please take steps to stop the spread.” We all know what we need to do – but we need to recommit and work even harder to make it happen: Avoid gathering in groups and limit the time when you must gather; wear masks, both outdoors and indoors when you are around anyone outside your household; and keep physically distanced. Gathering indoors is riskier than outdoors. Ventilation helps, but doubling down by keeping gatherings small, wearing masks and staying at least 6 feet apart is even more important. For more information visit https://www.kingcounty.gov/depts/health/covid-19/support.aspx (11/3/20)
Affordable Care Act (ACA) health insurance enrollment has now opened. Due to COVID, many people are now in a different financial situation because of unemployment or reduced working hours. ACA offers low cost health insurance based on income. Or, you may qualify for the free health insurance through Washington State’s Apple Health. Open enrollment will remain open through December 15, 2020 for health insurance that becomes effective starting January, 2021. For information on either program visit https://www.wahealthplanfinder.org (11/3/20)
King County will be here on Vashon to help residents sign-up or renew insurance coverage through the Affordable Care Act. The two in-person sessions are both on Saturdays; November 14th and December 12. This year it will be held at Vashon Youth and Family Services (VYFS) at 20110 Vashon Hwy SW. No appointment needed, Se Habla Espano! All COVID Precautions will be observed: Masks and temperature checks are required. (11/3/20)
Washington Healthplanfinder has opened enrollment for health and dental insurance coverage. New for 2021 is Cascade Care, a group of plans that offer high value with standard benefits. Cascade Care is expanding access, choice, and value for Washingtonians at a time when they need it most. These plans offer deductibles that are on average $1,000 less per year than other plans, and cover more services prior to meeting a deductible, including primary care visits, mental health services, and generic drugs. For more information and enrollment visit www.wahealthplanfinder.org/ or contact customer support at 855-923-4633. (11/3/20)
On Vashon, the Brown Agencyoffers free health insurance consultation and assistance as part of the Chamber of Commerce Ask the Expert program. Call (206) 567-4600 (11/3/20)
Department of Employment Security reports a continued reduction in Vashon unemployment claims. As of the week of October 12th, Vashon unemployment claims are down to 409 (8.4% of approx. 4,850 working population), from a high in April of 1,200 (24.7% of the working population). To date the Chamber of Commerce Ask the Expert program has completed 912 telephone consultations. If you need help filing for unemployment, Ask the Expert person will consult with you on how to proceed. Email email@example.com call (206) 200-3236. (11/3/20)
The Interfaith Council to Prevent Homelessness (IFCH) is responding to the needs of those who are either currently experiencing homelessness or are at risk of becoming homeless. In March they set up a fund to specifically assist those affected due to impacts COVID-19. Since April they have provided monthly rental assistance for an average of 29 families. In the current month of November, IFCH has provided rental assistance to 29 families (62% were Latino) and provided utility payments for three families. IFCH is one of several social service agencies that has been supported by the Vashon COVID Relief Fund operated by VashonBePrepared. If you need assistance or want more information visit www. https://ifchvashon.org/ (11/3/20)
King County Department of Local Services will hold a free PPE distribution event on Vashon. The no-contact drive-through event will offer free masks, hand sanitizer and educational materials. The event will be on Thursday, November 5th from 3 to 6 pm in the Vashon IGA parking lot. (11/3/20)
Governor Jay Inslee announced the allocation of $24 million in Coronavirus Relief Funds to purchase approximately 64,000 computing devices for students across the state. These devices will enable students to receive their education in the new COVID-19 remote learning environment. The first shipment of 20,000 devices is expected in the coming weeks. This is in addition to the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) allocation of $8.8 million in CARES Act funds to buy internet plans for 60,000 families who cannot afford them. https://medium.com/@WAStateGov/inslee-announces-technology-investment-for-washington-students-and-staff-9a10a05a9a25 (11/3/20)
LEARN Model Steps reminds us that everyone has a role in suicide prevention, it’s a step-by-step easy to understand suicide prevention technique. The ‘L’ in LEARN stands for Look for Signs. “....check in on your family and friends...are they particularly isolated, are they withdrawn...showing signs of depression, anxiety...?” This short video helps with this first step, at https://tinyurl.com/L-LookForSigns (11/3/20)
Suicide Prevention Lifeline at (800) 273-8255 or chat online. Confidential support is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. Visit: https://intheforefront.org/LEARN/ (11/3/20)
If you missed VashonBePrepared’s Community Care Team Suicide Prevention Day program -- "Tales from the Edge: Suicide Survivors Share Their Stories", it can now be streamed at https://vimeo.com/vashoncenterforthearts/download/453355602/cdf0eed652 (11/3/20)