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|COVID-19 Vashon Situation Report January 8, 2021|
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:
Current Virus Statistics:
Vashon Island COVID-19 Case Count as of 1/8/21:*
92 confirmed positive cases, 3 new cases since last Situation Report on Tuesday
Date of last positive test: January 6
3 new positives in past 7 days and 10 positives in the past 14 days
3 people have been hospitalized. Date of last hospitalization: December 28
1 Vashon deaths on King County dashboard, last death reported 1/1/21, (1 Vashon death not yet posted)
King County COVID-19 Case Count as of 1/8/21:*
67,068 confirmed positive cases, 1,924 new since last Situation Report on Tuesday
1,138 deaths, 28 new since last Situation Report on Tuesday
Washington State COVID-19 Case Count as of 1/7/21:*
268,607 confirmed positive cases, 9,840 new since last Situation Report Tuesday
3,699 deaths, 158 since last Situation Report on Tuesday
Data Lag: A data reporting lag continues on the official dashboard of pandemic statistics maintained by Public Health — Seattle & King County (PHSKC). For example, although there have been two COVID-related deaths of Vashon residents to date, the PHSKC dashboard still shows only one death.
*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
The COVID-19 vaccine is coming – what do we know? Dr. Jeff Duchin, Health Officer for Public Health – Seattle & King County (PHSKC) provides some answers to our vaccine questions:
Masks and Social Distancing: With vaccines arriving, you will still need to wear masks and practice social distancing. Although the vaccine will give a high level of protection against infection for the person who is vaccinated, we do not yet know if the vaccine prevents people from getting infected and spreading the virus. That means it’s possible that someone who is vaccinated may still be able to spread COVID-19 to others. Studies are in progress to answer this question. And because it will take months for enough people to be vaccinated and protected, we’re all going to need to practice the key COVID-19 prevention steps for now, including wearing masks, limiting activities outside of the home, avoiding crowded indoor spaces, keeping contacts with others brief and distanced, improving ventilation indoors, and washing hands.
Vaccine Effectiveness: In the initial large clinical trials, the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are preventing about 94-95% of infections, which is phenomenal and comparable to our most effective vaccines for other diseases. Time will tell how long protection lasts and whether booster shots will be needed down the road.
Vaccine Safety: These vaccines were developed much faster than usual, so it’s understandable that people would wonder about safety. That’s why it’s important to know that in the making of these vaccines, there were no federally required steps skipped in the clinical trials or evaluation of data for safety. Manufacturers were allowed to conduct testing and production at the same time. That innovative fast-track manufacturing ensured that there would be a ready supply to roll out if a vaccine was found to be safe and effective. The data for these vaccines was evaluated with scientific rigor and independent review to ensure it met FDA’s standards for safety, effectiveness and quality.
Side Effects: It’s not unusual for people to have temporary symptoms like headache, a sore arm, fatigue, muscle aches or fever for a few days after getting the shot. These side effects are more common after the second dose of vaccine. These are all signs that the body’s immune system is building up protection. This is normal and can also be seen after other commonly used vaccines, such as the one for shingles.
For the rest of Dr. Duchin’s comments and other vaccine resources, visit: https://publichealthinsider.com/2020/12/23/what-we-know-a-few-things-we-dont-about-covid-19-vaccines-a-conversation-with-dr-jeff-duchin/
Vashon Vaccine Availability:
King County residents will soon have some options to get COVID-19 vaccinations on the mainland from Public Health — Seattle & King County. High-volume vaccination sites will be opened in south King County to emphasize access to vaccines for people in areas that have been hardest hit by the virus, and for those who are most vulnerable and do not have access to vaccination through commercial healthcare providers. Today, King County Executive Dow Constantine, Public Health – Seattle & King County Director Patty Hayes, and King County Councilmembers announced $7 million investments for the next stage of COVID-19 vaccinations in the community. The effort to vaccinate over 1.25 million county residents will start in South King County, the hardest hit part of the county. (See Community Operations Progress section for information about the three COVID vaccination providers on Vashon Island. See also Tuesday’s Situation Report section on Vashon Vaccine Availability Survey #3 at https://conta.cc/3pXvjvT.)
The Washington State Department of Health (DOH) has released the latest statistics on progress with COVID-19 vaccine distribution. As of Tuesday, 522,550 doses of the vaccine have been allocated to Washington state and 425,900 have been delivered, which includes allocations from both Moderna and Pfizer. Right now, our priority is getting vaccines to people quickly so that we can stay on track and hit our goal of moving into Phase 1B by the middle of January,” said Assistant Secretary Michele Roberts, one of the leaders of the state’s vaccine effort. “We need the continued partnership of our local health and healthcare providers to plan and host clinics to get more vaccines into arms.” For more on statewide vaccine efforts, visit: https://www.doh.wa.gov/Emergencies/COVID19/Vaccine
Local COVID Activity:
Vashon Community Care has announced that the Department of Social and Health Services has closed the COVID investigation into the death of longtime islander Marvin Benham. The investigation concluded that this was not a VCC facility-acquired case. VCC Executive Director Wendy Kleppe, in a letter to families of residents, reported that the facility continues to be diligent about disinfecting, monitoring and tracking residents daily for signs and symptoms. Team members continue to self-monitor for signs and symptoms, mask at all times, hand wash regularly, follow physical distance policies when taking breaks, and follow all guidelines for COVID mitigation when not at work.
VCC Executive Director Kleppe also announced the much anticipated second COVID-19 vaccine clinic will take place for residents and staff at VCC next Wednesday.
Mica’s Kitchen COVID-19 testing was negative. However, as a precaution, due to a small chance of a false negative, Mica’s will remain closed for quarantine until January 10.
New Developments since Last Report:
Gov. Jay Inslee announced “Healthy Washington — Roadmap to Recovery,” a COVID-19 phased recovery plan. Beginning on January 11, the state will follow a multi-phase regional recovery approach. The regions are mostly based on Emergency Medical Services (EMS) regions used for evaluating healthcare services. King County will be in the Central region along with Pierce and Snohomish. All regions will start out in Phase 1. To go forward from Phase 1 to Phase 2, regions must meet four metrics:
Decreasing trend (>10%) in two-week rate of COVID-19 cases per 100K population
Decreasing trend (>10%) in two-week rate of new COVID-19 hospital admission rates per 100K population
ICU occupancy (total of COVID-19 and non-COVID-19 cases) of less than 90%
COVID-19 test positivity rate of <10%
Phase 1, for the most part, imposes restrictions currently in place for most counties today, with a few key exceptions. Indoor fitness will be allowed for appointment-based fitness and training, where there is no more than 1 customer per room or 500 square feet for large facilities. Also outdoor entertainment establishments will be permitted to reopen in Phase 1, including zoos, outdoor theaters, concert venues, and rodeos, among other outdoor venues. The operation must be by ticketed event only, with groups of 10 maximum with a limit of two households per group. https://medium.com/wagovernor/inslee-announces-healthy-washington-roadmap-to-recovery-229b880a6859
Washington State Department of Health (DOH) released guidance for the next phase of COVID-19 vaccination. The department worked closely with the Governor’s Office to finalize prioritization for phase 1B, the next phase of vaccination. This phase is broken up into four separate tiers:
Phase 1B1 – (Tier 1): All people 70 years and older, and people 50 years and older who live in multigenerational households
Phase 1B2 – (Tier 2): High-risk critical workers 50 years and older who work in certain congregate settings: Agriculture; food processing; grocery stores; K-12 (teachers and school staff); childcare; corrections, prisons, jails or detention facilities (staff); public transit; fire; law enforcement
Phase 1B3 – (Tier 3): People 16 years or older with two or more comorbidities or underlying conditions
Phase 1B4 – (Tier 4): High-risk critical workers in certain congregate settings under 50 years of age. People, staff and volunteers all ages in congregate living settings: Correctional facilities; group homes for people with disabilities; people experiencing homelessness that live in or access services in congregate settings.
“Vaccine prioritization decisions are complex, but based on a need for equitable distribution,” says Secretary of Health Dr. Umair A. Shah. “Our priority has been to get the vaccine to high-priority people first.” https://www.doh.wa.gov/Emergencies/COVID19/Vaccine
You can spread COVID-19 even if you don’t have symptoms. The journal JAMA Network Open published a report that supports earlier estimates of the contribution of asymptomatic spread. People with no symptoms transmit more than half of all cases of the COVID-19, according to a new model developed by researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Many factors influence how the coronavirus spreads. The model consistently predicted that asymptomatic spread accounted for roughly half of viral transmission. The model suggests a shift in the timing of peak contagiousness from four days after infection to five or six. The findings reinforce the importance of following the agency’s guidelines: Regardless of whether you feel ill, wear a mask, wash your hands, stay socially distant, and get a coronavirus test if exposed or experiencing symptoms. https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamanetworkopen/fullarticle/2774707
The Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar officially extended the COVID-19 public health emergency designation that was set to expire on January 21, 2021 for another 90 days. This means that eligible entities may continue to seek reimbursement through the FEMA Public Assistance (PA) Program for eligible emergency protective measures for the duration of this period or when FEMA ends its disaster declaration, whichever comes first. https://www.phe.gov/emergency/news/healthactions/phe/Pages/covid19-07Jan2021.aspx
In a year defined by a health crisis, 2020 saw more than two million Washingtonians enrolled in Washington Apple Health (Medicaid) and Qualified Health Plans. This is a new record high number of individuals and families obtaining health coverage through Washington Healthplanfinder, the online portal administered by the Washington Health Benefit Exchange (Exchange). Over 1 in 4 Washingtonians are using Washington Healthplanfinder to find and enroll in health coverage. Open enrollment for 2021 coverage runs through Jan. 15 of this year for coverage starting Feb. 1. The Customer Support Center at 855-923-4633 is open 7:30 a.m. – 8:00 p.m. Monday – Friday. Additionally, extended hours are scheduled: Friday, January 15, 7:30 a.m. – 11: 59 p.m. Or visit: www.wahealthplanfinder.org.
Progress on Community Support Operations:
Emergency Operations Center (EOC): The EOC activated in response to the pandemic emergency on March 12th, almost ten months ago (303 days). Four operational priorities remain our goals: health, food security, housing security and economic recovery.
EOC/MRC/Vashon Pharmacy: Site surveys and other detailed planning are under way to support Vashon Pharmacy’s plan for a high volume COVID-19 vaccination clinic. If safety and logistical details can be worked out, it will be a drive-through or drive-up style operation in the parking areas behind the pharmacy with advanced reservations to optimize capacity and minimize wait times.
EOC/MRC/Community Engagement Team: Work has begun on designing a public education campaign to support all Vashon vaccination providers: Vashon Pharmacy, Vashon Natural Medicine, and Sea Mar. The campaign will resemble the one in support of seasonal flu vaccination, which helped provide important lessons for the next step of COVID-19 vaccination.
EOC Team: A team has started on a rewrite of the island Comprehensive Emergency Management Plan (CEMP). The plan was last updated in 2009. The new plan will incorporate lessons learned from the ongoing pandemic emergency activation.
Community Care Team/Community Engagement Team: The Creating Strength mental health and resilience campaign is ready to go. The nine-week series of tips and videos was delayed to synchronize communications with the Beachcomber’s upcoming Hope 2021 publication, which also was delayed a week.
COVID Relief: The EOC Team continues its work with the Chamber of Commerce to track the status of the new federal stimulus package that has been signed into law, as well as details on the one-time relief payment coming from Washington state.
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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 VoiceOfVashon.org, 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