Situation Report #141

December 22nd, 2020 - Posted in Alerts, Uncategorized

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.

Note: Incident Commander Fire Chief Charlie Krimmert has ordered a rest and safety stand-down for all activated units for the year-end winter holidays. Most of our volunteers will take four days off, Thursday through Sunday, December 24ththrough the 27th, and December 31st through January 3rd. Medical Reserve Corps and Community Emergency Response Team volunteers will operate the COVID-19 testing site December 31st. A small leadership team will be monitoring and on standby in case of emergencies. 
There will be no Situation Reports on Fridays, December 25th & January 1st.

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

Current Virus Statistics: 

Vashon Island COVID-19 Case Count as of 12/22/20:
79 confirmed positive COVID-19 cases, 1 new case since last Situation Report Fri
Date of last positive test: December 21
1 new positives in past 7 days and 1 positives in the past 14 days  
2 people have been hospitalized. Date of last hospitalization: November 30
0 Vashon deaths (see Island COVID Activity section below)

King County COVID-19 Case Count as of 12/22/20: 
58,286 confirmed positive cases, 1,593 new since last Situation Report on Friday
1,012 deaths, 34 new since last Situation Report on Friday

Washington State COVID-19 Case Count as of 12/21/20:
227,887 confirmed positive cases, 18,543 new since last Situation Report on Friday
3,131 deaths, 14 since last Situation Report on Friday

*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 Tip:

The CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) debated and voted on vaccine priority groups for Phases 1b and 1c, following the start of vaccinations for healthcare workers and long-term care facility residents in Phase 1a.  ACIP recommended that Phase 1b include adults aged 75 years and older as well as frontline essential workers. Frontline essential workers were defined as “first responders, teachers and other education workers including day care workers, food and agriculture workers, correctional facility staff, postal workers, public transit workers, and people who work in manufacturing and in grocery stores” who have direct contact with the public as part of their job.  Some essential workers who are able to work remotely or do not interact with the public may not be eligible under this designation.  ACIP recommended that Phase 1c include adults aged 65-74 as well as individuals aged 16-64 who have high-risk medical conditions. ACIP recommendations must go to the CDC Director for final approval to go into effect. However, state and local health authorities make the final decisions on how to roll out vaccination in their locales.

new SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) variant has come to prominence in the UK, and there are concerns that it spreads more easily and quickly than other variants.  UK health officials began investigating the new variant in November, after increased social distancing restrictions were not having the intended effect in Kent in southeast England.  Dr. Susan Hopkins from Public Health England indicated that the new variant could potentially be 70% more transmissible, and Prime Minister Johnson noted that it could increase the reproductive number (R) by as much as 0.4.  At this time, there is no evidence that the strain causes more severe disease.  Preliminary assessments suggest that the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine will still be effective against the variant, but additional research continues.

You can get more information on vaccine safety and how the COVID vaccination program will work at the website for the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department. Visit

Patty Hayes, Director of Public Health-Seattle & King County reminds us that COVID-19 cases are the highest they have been so far  at the moment, and our hospitals are beginning to feel the pressure of increased numbers of patients.  However, there is also hope on the horizon because the vaccine is arriving over the next six months. But your help is needed now, because the rollout of the vaccine will be slow, and we still need to protect ourselves and our neighbors. Hayes offered a “Swiss cheese” illustration to explain how we can keep protection going while lookingforward to relief from pandemic restrictions during 2021. “The virus is sneaky and very good at finding new people to infect, but we can stop the spread with our individual and collective behaviors. The more of these things you do, the less likely it is that you’ll get sick or spread the illness to others”, Director Hayes said.

Local COVID Activity:

Further investigation has concluded that a firefighter at Vashon Island Fire & Rescue did not have COVID-19 after all. The reviewing medical team questioned the findings of the firefighter’s first test and the medical team requested a second test, which proved negative.  His four shiftmates also tested negative, as did the members of the original firefighter’s family. Although the firefighter was ill, he did not have COVID-19. His four shiftmates have been cleared to come back to work.

New Developments since Last Report:

New stimulus bill will likely bring more than $7 million in estimated economic relief to Vashon.  The EOC Team has been working with the Chamber of Commerce’s Ask the Expert volunteer for unemployment to make a projection of the economic support that will come to Vashon from the new stimulus bill, now passed by Congress.  Unemployment benefits will likely continue for another 11 weeks for 248 Vashonites receiving Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) and for the162 residents receiving regular unemployment benefits ($1.58 million). All 410 Vashon unemployed recipients will likely receive an additional $300 per week in federal boost for 11 weeks ($1.35 million).  An estimated 65% of Vashon’s 10,000 adults/dependents have individual taxable income under $75,000 ($150,000 for married couples) and each estimated to get a $600 stimulus payment ($3.9 million).  A second round of Payroll Protection Program (PPP) grants for local businesses will add to the economic support totals for the island, although there’s no information yet on how many businesses will apply and qualify for PPP.

The very first COVID-19 vaccinations on Vashon are taking place this week.  Vashon Community Care will hold the first of three vaccination clinics for its staff and residents.  “We have waited all year for this, and it feels like the best Christmas present ever!” said VCC Executive Director, Wendy Kleppe.  VCC staff will be administering the Pfizer vaccine. The second of the two doses will be administered in January.  “We are so thankful to have early access to the vaccine for our staff and residents, and we are extremely optimistic about the benefits, versus the risks,” says Kleppe. Advocacy agencies across the country and within Washington State are confident that it will eventually eradicate this horrible virus.” 

Gov. Jay Inslee announces new travel proclamation that requires 14-day quarantine if returning to Washington State from travel to the United Kingdom or South Africa.  The legal requirement to quarantine covers all persons who traveled to either country and returned in the past 14 days (as of Dec 7th), and continues until the requirement is lifted.  The order is to protect Washingtonians from a more rapidly spreading variant of the COVID virus. Current evidence has not concluded that the new variant is more deadly, but it does spread more quickly and easily. Inslee also asked that we limit all non-essential travel through the holidays.  

Gov. Inslee has lifted the 200-person maximum attendance cap on houses of worship in response to the December 15, 2020 decision of the U.S. Court of Appeals.  Because the Governor believes the attendance cap will help save lives, he is converting the 200-person cap requirement to a recommendation. 

A computer modeling study based on King County (Washington) shows that the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines could prevent a fourth COVID wave in Spring, 2021. The model assumes at least 5,000 vaccinations are given per day starting January 2021, and that the vaccines provide complete protection against infection. If vaccine efficacy is primarily driven by reducing symptoms without preventing infection, then vaccination would need to be combined with other transmission control measures that prevent at least 50% of secondary infections, in order to prevent a fourth wave. The study was released on a preprint website, before going through the scientific peer review process.   

Gov. Jay Inslee announced the approval of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine by the Western States Scientific Safety Review Workgroup. The Western States Workgroup, comprised of vaccine experts from Washington, California, Oregon and Nevada, have been meeting to review the data and analysis to ensure the safety and efficacy of both the federally authorized Pfizer BioNTech and Moderna vaccines. The Pfizer vaccine was authorized last week and is already being administered throughout Washington State. The first of the Moderna vaccine doses are expected to start arriving this week.   

Washington State Ferries is asking the public to limit ferry travel to essential purposes only over the Christmas and New Year’s holiday season. If you must ride, be aware that some sailing schedules are different from years past, as they are dependent on the COVID Response Plan. Customers traveling by vehicle are encouraged to remain in their vehicles for the duration of their trip, while those in the cabin should practice safe physical distancing, wash their hands and comply with the Governor’s statewide order requiring that face masks and coverings be worn in public, to limit the spread of COVID-19. Most importantly, avoid traveling if you feel ill.    

Some Islanders still need to get their seasonal flu vaccinations. Arrangements have been made for VashonBePrepared to cover the cost of vaccinations for residents without insurance, or whose insurance is not accepted at Vashon Pharmacy. This is possible thanks to two generous donors as well as a decision by Vashon Pharmacy to provide the vaccinations at their cost. For more information on vaccination providers, go to our English/Spanish Flu Vaccine Provider Directory at:   

The CDC has advised restricted interaction with household animals for people with COVID-19 and in-home isolation, in addition to following other prevention measures to protect others from COVID-19. Specifically, while a person with COVID-19 is symptomatic, they should maintain separation from household animals as they would with other household members, and avoid direct contact with pets, including petting, snuggling, being kissed or licked, sleeping in the same location, and sharing food or bedding.  If possible, a household member should be designated to care for pets in the home and should follow standard handwashing practices before and after interacting with the household animal. If a person with COVID-19 must care for pets or other animals, they should ensure they wash their hands before and after caring for them.

The Vashon Sheepdog Classic returns in 2021, but will be a closed competition for handler teams only. There will be no spectators allowed on the Misty Isle field and the event will be closed to the public. Visit:   

Washington State Department of Financial Institutions urges homeowners to work with your mortgage servicer to make sure you understand their forbearance and other foreclosure prevention options prior to expiration.  It’s important for homeowners to understand forbearance is not forgiveness; the missed payments must be paid at some point in time.  If you obtained a 180-day forbearance under the CARES Act, make sure you know when it ends, if you are eligible for a second 180-day forbearance, and what your repayment plan is.  There are many repayment options available to homeowners, depending on who your lender/servicer is, what type of loan you have and your income situation. Visit: have delivered over 10,000 masks since March and are making more. They’ve perfected the art and are making three-layer masks that are recommended by the World Health Organization. If you need cloth face coverings, visit 

A study of the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on people living in rural communities in the western US found significant negative impacts on self-reported overall life satisfaction, mental health, and economic outlook. More than half of all respondents reported some level of negative impact to overall life, and 28% had at least one form of direct experience with the COVID-19 virus. 

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. If the pandemic is causing increased anxiety, depression, and stress due to feelings of isolation and uncertainty, the Community Care Team Helpline offers mental health and spiritual health options. To learn more or participate, email or call the CCT Helpline at (206) 701-0694 (8am – 8pm) and leave a message with your contact information.

Progress on Community Support Operations:

Emergency Operations Center (EOC): The EOC activated in response to the pandemic emergency on March 12th, nine months, 11 days ago (286 days). Four operational priorities remain our goals: health, food security, housing security and economic recovery.

Volunteers: A total of 30 volunteers contributed 291 hours of work to VashonBePrepared’s pandemic emergency response last week. That brings the total volunteer time since activation to a new high mark of more than 19,825 hours. Based on the FEMA valuation of in-kind volunteer hours of $31.72, that means VashonBePrepared volunteers have contributed $628,500 worth of work to the island community. The total includes hours contributed by the Vashon EOC Team, Community Emergency Response Team (CERT), Medical Reserve Corps (MRC), and Community Care Team (CCT). VashonBePrepared also gives thanks for the many hours of work performed for the Vashon community by the staff and volunteers at local social services agencies.

EOC/Holidays: The rest and safety stand-downs for the year-end holidays will be the longest break for volunteers since the pandemic began. Plans are in place for contingency coverage during the two four-day breaks. Contingency arrangements are needed because of the danger of another spike on Vashon from family and friend gatherings, as happened in the weeks leading up to and through Thanksgiving week. (See stand down note at the top of this Situation Report.)

Improvements/Training: Work has been ramping up on some significant emergency response improvements stemming from lessons learned during this pandemic emergency activation. Initial scoping of requirements has started for a rewrite of the 2009 Community Emergency Response Plan. Plans are under way for a virtual non-pandemic EOC activation that will be recorded for future training. A website refresh has been included in the 2021 VashonBePrepared budget.

COVID Relief: The EOC Team continues work with our Chamber of Commerce partner to assess the local benefits of the new stimulus package for Vashon. (See item in New Developments section.)

Vaccine Monitoring: The EOC Team and the Medical Reserve Corps have been monitoring the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, including this week’s first injections on Vashon at Vashon Community Care and work at the federal level to designate priorities for receiving the vaccine.
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Thank you Windermere Vashon for helping to make these alerts possible

Vashon-Maury Island Emergency Alerts    Alerts are broadcast on 1650AM, KVSH 101.9FM and the VoV free streaming app. They are published in text here, as well as VashonBePrepared.organd, and the VoV Facebook page.
We encourage you to develop your 1650AM listening habit because an AM radio signal may be your only source of information in a serious island emergency.

Voice of Vashon thanks Windermere Vashon Real Estate for their support making 1650AM and this alert possible.

~ Your Emergency Alert Team