COVID-19 Vashon Situation Report 
 
The Vashon Emergency Operations Center produces this briefing for our emergency workers and for the community. The situation report is published Tuesday and Friday and includes information on Vashon community response actions and support.

You can read the full text of today's report as a PDF and access older ones at:

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Vashon Vaccine Availability: 

Vashon's vaccination availability for the next week depends greatly on the national severe weather situation. Allocations for next week have been approved by the state Department of Health, and that ordinarily would mean a solid vaccination schedule, especially at the Pharmacy drive-through site. However, this week's shipments were delayed by bad weather and there are warnings the same might be true for next week's shipment.  If the pending deliveries arrive, there will be little vaccine available for new first dose patients, since second doses are now due and in some cases already slightly delayed.

Overall Vaccination Progress:  To date, the island's three registered vaccination providers have administered over 2,800 first vaccination doses. All of the vaccinations so far have been done at the Vashon Pharmacy drive-through site or at the Sea Mar clinic. Vashon Natural Medicine has not so far received any of its requested vaccine allocation. The total number of first dose vaccinations by island providers equals about one-third of the adult population of the island based on the latest Vashon EOC tracking. However, it is not possible to compute a precise percentage of vaccinated islanders because a number of them have gone off island to get their shots and there have been some mainland people coming to the island to get vaccinated. The Public Health dashboard reports more than 60% of Vashon residents 65 or older have received at least one vaccination dose, well above the rate for other regions of King County.

VashonBePrepared continues to support the three providers who are approved by the state to do vaccinations on Vashon. They are Vashon Pharmacy, Sea Mar at Sunrise Ridge, and Vashon Natural Medicine. The Emergency Operations Center (EOC) recommends that you check the following four websites to see if there is updated information beyond what we compile in these Situation Reports, which are published Tuesday and Friday.

Vashon Pharmacy: If the allocated shipments arrive, virtually all of the Pharmacy drive-through vaccinations will be for approximately 1,500 second doses. Much of the next week's schedule was supposed to take place this week and some days next week are being doubled up, due to the weather delay mentioned above, as well as some issues revolving around access problems for the new state online ordering process. MRC and CERT volunteer shifts have been expanded to accommodate what promises to be the greatest number of projected vaccination injections since the drive-through site opened. The current record for injections has grown from 60 per day when the site first opened, to a one-day record last week of 240 injections. Two days next week have 280 injections scheduled, again assuming the vaccine arrives in spite of the bad weather around the country. Given the emphasis on second doses, the online appointment portal will probably not be open to schedule first doses during the coming week.

Sea Mar at Sunrise Ridge: Sea Mar continues to primarily serve the second dose needs of patients who had previously been vaccinated at the clinic. Like the Pharmacy, Sea Mar has had to reschedule a number of appointments into next week because anticipated vaccine doses did not arrive due to the severe weather back east. Patients are being notified by phone if they are being rescheduled. 

Vashon Natural Medicine: VNM reports that it has been told it will not receive any shipments until the vaccine is available in much greater supply.

It is important to note that no Social Security number or other government identification is required in order to receive a vaccination. The state Department of Health has confirmed that vaccination is available regardless of citizenship or immigration status, assuming patients are eligible in the current vaccination priority phase. DOH issued the guidance to help reduce fears that Immigrations and Customs Enforcement might use vaccine clinics to detain and deport people due to their immigration status.

Washington State Department of Health (DOH) announced that as of Feb. 15, more than 1,201,120 doses of vaccine have been given across the state, which is nearly 83 percent of the 1,453,425 doses that have been delivered to our providers and long-term care programs.  Washington is currently averaging 26,204 vaccine doses given each day, still short of its goal of 45,000 per day.  As mentioned above, winter storms are causing vaccine shipment delays across the nation. DOH estimates that more than 90% of the state’s allocation for this week is arriving late due to severe weather around the country.  Moderna vaccines have not shipped yet this week in Washington state.  Pfizer vaccines did not ship as usual on Monday, and only a limited number of vaccine shipments were processed Tuesday and Wednesday. https://www.doh.wa.gov/Newsroom/Articles/ID/2632/COVID-19-vaccine-distribution-update-from-the-Washington-State-Department-of-Health   

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said on Wednesday that “discrepancies and difficulties” in vaccine distribution from state to state are going to disappear as more vaccine supply becomes available.  Every state is handling who gets the vaccine differently and Fauci said there’s a need “to respect the ability and the right of the states who know their own situation well to make their own decisions,” and avoid dictating from above, but “there should be some sort of consistency, not necessarily identical, from state to state.”  “Hopefully that will smooth out as we get more vaccine doses,” he said. “The cure of all of this is when the supply-demand gap closes because right now the demand far exceeds the supply. As we get into the later months, April, May, June and July ... I think those kind of discrepancies and difficulties are going to disappear.”  

Is the COVID-19 vaccine safe for me? It’s normal to have questions and concerns.  Washington State Department of Health (DOH) has a website with answers to common vaccine questions and concerns, based on the science behind the vaccinations.  Visit https://medium.com/wadepthealth/is-the-covid-19-vaccine-safe-for-me-b7457a60f1fa

Current Virus Statistics: 

Vashon Island COVID-19 Case Count as of 2/12/21:*
  • 104 confirmed positive cases, 0 new cases since last Situation Report on Tuesday
  • Date of last positive test: February 14
  • 1 new positive in past 7 days and 6 positives in the past 14 days  
  • 3 people have been hospitalized. Date of last hospitalization: December 28
  • 2 Vashon deaths per the King County dashboard, last death reported 1/1/21

King County COVID-19 Case Count as of 2/19/21:*
  • 80,859 confirmed positive cases, 542 new since last Situation Report on Tuesday
  • 1,345 deaths, 24 new since last Situation Report on Tuesday

Washington State COVID-19 Case Count as of 2/18/21:*
  • 333,904 confirmed positive cases, 3,158 new since last Situation Report Tuesday
  • 4,822 deaths, 113 since last Situation Report on Tuesday

*Note 1:  The statistics above are from the Public Health – Seattle & King County dashboard as of the date listed. Numbers may not be complete, as data processing lags and the actual number of cases, hospitalizations, and deaths may not yet match the dashboard.

Note 2: Federal law prohibits Public Health - Seattle & King County (PHSKC) from releasing the names of patients (HIPAA Act). For consistency of day-to-day data reporting for Vashon, the EOC uses only the Zip code data from the Public Health – Seattle & King County dashboard

Health Tips:

Masks continue to be an important prevention measure and we need to keep wearing them as variants spread in King County. Masks work best when they fit your face without any gaps and have 2-3 breathable layers. A good fit and multiple layers can be achieved with one mask or with two. Public Health Insider describes how to check fit, the use of medical masks, mask-wearing after vaccination, and the science that shows masks work to prevent spread. Visit: https://publichealthinsider.com/2021/02/09/its-a-good-time-to-improve-our-masks-and-how-we-wear-them-as-more-contagious-covid-19-variants-emerge

Your Guide to Masks is a CDC document to help you select a mask and how to properly wear your mask. CDC recommends that people wear masks in public settings, at events and gatherings, and anywhere they will be around other people. Effective February 2, 2021, masks are required on planes, buses, trains, and other forms of public transportation traveling into, within, or out of the United States and in U.S. transportation hubs such as airports and stations.  https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/about-face-coverings.html

Local COVID Activity:

Vashon Community Care (VCC) Executive Director Wendy Kleppe reported that a third round of COVID-19 tests of residents and staff were negative.  “Today marks 14 days since our positive cases.  The Department of Social & Health Services does require a 28 day period without any positive cases before we can move into our Safe Start Re-opening plan”, Kleppe reported.  This means that their communal dining, activities, and salon services will be delayed until March 3rd, regardless of current test results.  VCC will hold a Town Hall Meeting on March 9th. Hosted by Torsten Hirche, President and CEO of Transforming Age, the event will engage industry experts on the topic of COVID-19.  For more information and the Zoom link, visit   https://www.transformingage.org/vashoncommunitycare/upcoming-events

New Developments since Last Report:

Vashon Island School District is one of the 46 districts invited to participate in an expansion of the state's Return to Learn COVID-19 testing program for schools.  The Return to Learn program began with a pilot program of about a dozen districts. As reported this week in the Seattle Times, Vashon has been put on the list of possible participants, but the District has indicated that many fundamental details remain to be worked out, such as who would be tested and what type of test might be used. The District has told the Return to Learn managers that all available resources are tied up at this time getting kids back into classrooms, and it will be a month or more before Vashon schools will be able to make a decision about proceeding.  The state-sponsored school testing program is part of the ongoing effort to expand in-person learning to more Washington students. Read more at https://www.doh.wa.gov/Newsroom/Articles/ID/2627/DOH-expands-school-testing-initiative-to-encourage-more-in-person-learning  

The Biden administration is announcing more federal funding to expand Covid-19 testing in different sectors and "better prepare for the threat of variants."  The administration will invest $650 million in federal funding for Covid-19 testing for schools, $815 million for domestic manufacturing of testing supplies, and nearly $200 million toward genome sequencing.  “We need to test broadly and rapidly to turn the tide of this pandemic. But we still don’t have enough testing and we don’t have enough testing in all the places it needs to be,” said Carole Johnson, White House COVID-19 testing coordinator.    

Special enrollment period for health insurance is now open through May 15 for people who are uninsured.  Anyone who doesn’t have health insurance can buy a plan directly from an insurer or through the Washington Health Benefit Exchange.  If you buy a plan through the Exchange, you may qualify for federal help paying your premium.   https://www.wahealthplanfinder.org

On Vashon, the Brown Agency is one of the Chamber of Commerce Ask the Expert providers. The agency offers free health insurance consultations and assistance for applications and coverage options through the Affordable Care Act or Washington Apple Health. Call (206) 567-4600.    

Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler has extended two emergency orders requiring health insurers to waive copays and deductibles for any consumer requiring testing for coronavirus (COVID-19) and his order protecting consumers from receiving surprise bills for lab fees related to medically necessary diagnostic testing for COVID-19 are both extended until March 21, 2021.  https://www.insurance.wa.gov/news/kreidler-extends-emergency-orders-coronavirus-testing-and-surprise-billing-march-21  

Employment Security Department data shows that Vashon’s unemployment has dropped about 6% over the past two weeks, from 402 to 378 active claims.  If you need assistance filing claims for unemployment benefits, or have questions on eligibility with the COVID-19 relief programs, the Chamber of Commerce’s Ask the Expert is available for free consultations, and will guide you on how to proceed with filing for unemployment, PPP loans, or tax returns.  Email deborah@vashonbeprepared.org, or call (206) 200-3236. 

Creating Strength, the island-wide resilience campaign, aims to help all of us become stronger against the stresses of the pandemic, which ripple outwards into related personal crises such as unemployment, housing and food insecurity, racial injustice, isolation, and political unrest. This week’s feature focus is on ‘Discover’. This nine-week campaign of mental health communications and videos is produced by VashonBePrepared’s Community Care Team, which is a unit of the Medical Reserve Corps, with support from the EOC’s Community Engagement Team. Mental health tips and videos are available online at: https://VashonBePrepared.org/CreatingStrength 

Coping with COVID: Depression and anxiety, is a Washington State Department of Health behavioral health podcast on coping with COVID-19.  In the latest episode, Kira Mauseth, PhD and Doug Dicharry, MD discuss how depression and anxiety can show up during a disaster, and simple steps for managing those feelings. Visit  https://medium.com/wadepthealth/coping-with-covid-depression-and-anxiety-4c958282a9e5   

Washington Listens helps people manage stress and anxiety they may be experiencing because of COVID-19.  If you or anyone you know is having difficulties managing stress, call the Washington Listens support line at 1-833-681-0211. Hours are from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. TTY and language access services are available by using 7-1-1 or their preferred method.  Resources and self-help tips are available at  https://waportal.org/partners/home/WaListens

King County Executive Dow Constantine submitted his sixth supplemental budget relating to the COVID-19 pandemic.  The $91 million budget includes $45 million in additional rental assistance and $5 million to support community organizations.  The budget also includes funding for COVID-19 vaccination sites, purchase of PPE, and funding for COVID-19 testing and tracing.  https://www.kingcounty.gov/elected/executive/constantine/news/release/2021/February/18-covid-supplemental-budget.aspx  

Gov. Jay Inslee signed legislation Friday distributing $2.2 billion in federal money for COVID-19 relief.  The bill includes funds for: 
  • $714 million for K-12 schools
  • $618 million for public health, including testing and contract tracing
  • $100 million for epidemiology and laboratory grants, and vaccines
  • $365 million for rental assistance and other housing-related programs
  • $240 million for business assistance grants
  • $91 million for other income-assistance programs
  • $50 million for a variety of childcare-related items; and
  • $26 million for food banks and other food related programs. 

New coronavirus variants could lead to a rapid rise in the numbers of Covid-19 cases, warned a report from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).  Researchers from the CDC and Minnesota health department detailed cases of the B.1.1.7 variant, first identified in the United Kingdom.  Earlier modeling data suggested this variant, which may be more transmissible, could become the predominant variant in the United States in March, and the CDC has urged people to take action to reduce spread.  Dr. Anthony Fauci said in an interview with Spectrum News, “We hope we can contain this particular outbreak and all of its ramifications throughout the world in a way that doesn't have the ... cycling of various versions of the virus so that you have to address it differently each year.”  There are a number of new variants that have emerged recently.  Here are the top four that are most worrying:
  • B.1.1.7 was first seen in the UK. It appears to be transmitted the same way -- but is more contagious and easily spread, experts say.
  • B.1.351 was first seen in South Africa and has since been reported in more than 30 other countries, according to the World Health Organization.
  • P.1 is suspected of fueling a resurgence of viral spread in Brazil. It has since been reported in the US and Japan, carried by travelers from Brazil.
  • L452R was seen in California as well as a dozen other states. Experts are still investigating the significance of this strain. 

The U.S. Department of Agriculture, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention continue to underscore that there is no credible evidence of food or food packaging associated with or as a likely source of viral transmission of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), the virus causing COVID-19. Read FDA statement at https://www.fda.gov/news-events/press-announcements/covid-19-update-usda-fda-underscore-current-epidemiologic-and-scientific-information-indicating-no  

COVID-19 guidance for farmers markets, food pantries, grocery stores, restaurants, and other food establishments has been updated.  This guidance is now combined into one document for all Food Workers and Establishments (PDF).  The individual links on DOH’s Resources and Recommendations page for farmers markets, food pantries, grocery stores, and restaurants will soon be redirected to the Food Workers and Establishments document.  The new guidance document is at https://www.doh.wa.gov/Portals/1/Documents/1600/coronavirus/FoodWorkerEstablishment.pdf  

The governor’s office also released a new FAQ on Outdoor Seating Requirements and Open-Air Structuresas part of the Healthy Washington – Roadmap to Recovery plan.  Visit https://www.governor.wa.gov/sites/default/files/COVID19%20Outdoor%20Open%20Air%20Seating%20Guidance.pdf 

Progress on Community Support Operations:

Emergency Operations Center (EOC): Four operational priorities established by the Incident Commander, Fire Chief Charlie Krimmert, and approved by the VashonBePrepared Board, continue to guide our work: health, food security, housing security and economic recovery. The EOC and other elements of our island emergency response coalition were activated in response to the pandemic emergency on March 12th, 49 weeks ago (345 days).

VashonBePrepared/Vashon COVID Relief Fund: The 13th disbursement of funds to Vashon social service agency partners has been completed, totaling $40,000. Partner vendors have primarily been providing food assistance and housing relief. This round included the Food Bank, Interfaith Council to Prevent Homelessness, Senior Center, Vashon Island School District Nutrition Program, St. Vincent de Paul, DOVE Project, and Vashon Youth and Family Services. To date, the Relief Fund has covered service agency costs for:
  • 2,980 bags of groceries.
  • 18,891 meals
  • 477 cases of domestic counseling
  • 262 cases of rent relief and other household assistance
  • 44 cases of business continuity support

VashonBePrepared/Vashon COVID Relief Fund: Vashon citizens have so far donated more than $376,000 to the Relief Fund. Each dollar of those contributions has been stretched by 155% (over 1.5 times the original amount) by reimbursements from federal CARES Act and FEMA grants, as VashonBePrepared worked in partnership with the King County Office of Emergency Management and the King County Department of Local Services. Those additional funds have brought total funding to date to over $581,000.  In addition to the social service agency partner expenditures described above, donated funds have supported the Medical Reserve Corps/CERT operations of the COVID-19 testing site and the drive-through vaccination site, as well as recouping funds advanced out of the VashonBePrepared pre-pandemic budget, and establishment of a reserve fund in case of a major COVID-19 disease spike or the need to respond to a second disaster on top of the pandemic.

EOC/MRC/CERT: The uncertainty of vaccine shipments due to changes in the state allocation ordering system and the national severe weather effects on transportation have required ongoing coordination efforts by the Emergency Operations Center, Medical Reserve Corps, Community Emergency Response Team, EOC Logistics Section, EOC Situation Section, EOC Public Information Unit and Vashon Pharmacy, in order to properly staff the drive-through vaccination site, and keep the public informed.

EOC Community Operations/Vax Access: The Vax Access program continues to help those facing barriers to vaccination, although the number of people requesting assistance has dropped significantly as more and more patients in the 1b1 vaccination priority category have now received their shots. Community Operations continues to support the efforts of our social service agency partners, and is thinking ahead about the new wave of those needing help when additional priority phases open up.