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|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:
Vashon Vaccine Availability:
COVID-19 Vaccines are now available for the second week on Vashon. However, the number of doses allocated to the island remains low– well below the level of demand — and uncertain. The three approved vaccination providers on the island must depend on the state Department of Health for their supply, which makes the decision on how much vaccine to provide to the island and other areas of the state on a weekly basis. Providers are informed about their weekly supply just a day in advance of receiving their deliveries.
VashonBePrepared continues to support the three providers who are approved by the state to administer vaccinations on Vashon. They are Vashon Pharmacy, Sea Mar at Sunrise Ridge, and Vashon Natural Medicine. Vaccination availability has been variable and, at times, two of the three providers received no vaccine at all for the week. 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 on Tuesdays and Fridays.
All vaccine providers must follow the state Department of Health directives for eligibility of vaccine recipients. Failure to do so could jeopardize future vaccine supplies. All providers have been inundated with phone calls and emails because the Governor relaxed the age requirement down to 65 and older, which vastly increased the demand for vaccination. However, the supply of vaccine doses to date has fallen far short of the number required to meet the demand. Our island vaccination providers have all asked Vashonites to be patient and wait their turn as vaccinators work though the State-mandated phases for distribution.
Vashon Pharmacy: The online reservation system for vaccination appointments was open for about four hours last night before all the available doses were reserved. A total of 1,680 appointments were made, 840 for the first vaccine dose and another 840 for the second dose. One problem with the vaccination system, the issue of double booking of appointments that was experienced last week, was repaired. However, the crush of hundreds of people trying to make appointments did overwhelm the system during the evening. As planned and announced in advance, the Pharmacy shut down the system temporarily during the evening so that database processing could catch up and the Pharmacy could confirm the number of vaccine doses remaining before reopening the reservation portal. The drive-through operation set up at the Pharmacy by the Medical Reserve Corps, CERT and the EOC has reached maximum efficiency. The Pharmacy has made a promise to the community that it will only book reservations for doses in hand or known to be arriving. If the supply from the state was reliable from week to week, a different approach would relieve some of the pressure because reservations could be made for several weeks into the future. That’s not possible now because the providers only learn how much vaccine they will have the day before the first appointments for the week.
Be Prepared with Info: When the Pharmacy vaccination portal opens again (VashonPharmacy.com/covid), be prepared with the information you will find helpful in filling out the online form. You will want to have your health insurance information, date of birth, your calendar, and medical history at hand, to answer questions on the screening page that leads to the appointment page.
Second Appointment Required: The Pharmacy system, like many other vaccination providers in the region, requires you to make two appointments so you will have the vaccine’s full level of protection. Once you make the first one, the form offers a second reservation date that takes into account the required waiting period before the second shot. You will want to have your calendar out in order to respond quickly while online. That second appointment is essential so the Pharmacy can plan to hold sufficient vaccine to cover the number of people who will need that second shot. The state Department of Health has assured the Pharmacy that supplies will be available for second doses, but the Pharmacy needs to track the demand to order the vaccine doses at the right time. The Pharmacy system also tracks which vaccine course you are on, Moderna or Pfizer.
Vashon Natural Medicine: Owner Kelly Wright says her clinic has not received any vaccine so far and has no information on when stocks might be expected. VashonNaturalMed.com currently refers people to the Pharmacy drive-through operation. They plan to notify their patients directly if vaccine becomes available.
Sea Mar at Sunrise Ridge: Manager Kerry Barnes reports her clinic will not have vaccine this week, but they have requested vaccine again for next week. It now appears that Sea Mar will continue with the walk-up, no reservation required system, if they do receive vaccine next week. However, they are working on a way to avoid last week’s problem of patients waiting in line in the weather. The clinic has so far dispensed 300 doses of vaccine. SeaMar.org/covid-vaccine
Many other vaccine providers are operating around the county and state. People may be able to get vaccinated off-island through their healthcare providers, pharmacies (CVS and Walgreens), or King County’s public vaccination sites. Use the PhaseFinder tool to see when you will be eligible for the vaccine and where you can be vaccinated. Then go to the specific vaccine provider’s website to make your appointment. Visit: FindYourPhaseWA.org
If you have not yet been able to schedule a vaccination appointment, there are some very effective ways to keep safe in the meantime. Stick with the basic rules we all know about by now. Wear a mask. Keep your distance. Clean your hands. Don’t get together with people from outside your household, no matter how much you miss them. And keep in mind that a negative test result is just a snapshot in time, not a get out of jail free card. These steps are the next best thing to a vaccination, until everyone who wants one can get one.
The problem of huge demand and short supply is not limited to Vashon. Vaccine sites all over Washington were overwhelmed due to the state’s decision last week to expand vaccine eligibility to those aged 65 and older. This has touched off an overwhelming flood of phone calls and hospital visits from people seeking vaccination appointments. Hospitals, local health departments and businesses are ramping up mass vaccination clinics to meet the needs of those eligible to be vaccinated to make appointments. But federal supply of first doses has not expanded significantly, and until it does, those clinics are gearing up as much in anticipation as in action. “We have stopped scheduling additional appointments right now,” said Brian Ivie, CEO of the Skagit Regional Health system. The health system booked about 5,000 appointments — slightly more than the number of doses the system has available — before shutting down registrations. “Our phone systems can’t handle the demands,” Ivie said. State officials say Washington is now using about as many doses as it receives each week. At least 500,105 doses of vaccine had been administered in Washington as of Monday afternoon. That represents more than 59% of the doses delivered to the vaccine providers in the state, according to the health department’s vaccination dashboard. Michele Roberts, Acting Assistant Secretary, Washington State Department of Health said she expected federal vaccine supply to expand if new vaccines receive authorization for emergency use.
The Washington Post reports that federal allocations of coronavirus vaccine to states and other jurisdictions are expected to increase by about 16 percent next week, easing shortages that have intensified nationwide, though not fully alleviating supply problems. Jeff Zients, coordinator of the White House’s COVID-19 response, informed governors of the increase in a call this afternoon. The weekly federal allocation is forecast to go from about 8.6 million doses to about 10 million doses. The vaccine is distributed on a population basis among 64 jurisdictions, including 50 states, eight territories and six major cities. Zients indicated that the increased supply will come from releasing more doses of Moderna’s vaccine. https://www.washingtonpost.com/health/2021/01/26/vaccine-supply-biden
CDC frequently asked Questions and Answers about COVID-19 vaccinations can be found at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/faq.html
Current Virus Statistics:
Vashon Island COVID-19 Case Count as of 1/26/21:*
95 confirmed positive cases, 0 new cases since last Situation Report on Friday
Date of last positive test: January 21
1 new positives in past 7 days and 2 positives in the past 14 days
3 people have been hospitalized. Date of last hospitalization: December 28
2 Vashon deaths on King County dashboard, last death reported 1/1/21
King County COVID-19 Case Count as of 1/26/21:*
74,901 confirmed positive cases, 1,100 new since last Situation Report on Friday
1,240 deaths, 26 new since last Situation Report on Friday
Washington State COVID-19 Case Count as of 1/24/21:*
302,141 confirmed positive cases, 6,054 new since last Situation Report on Friday
4,148 deaths, 83 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
Mask wearing is a critical component of protection for yourself and others during the pandemic. Widespread mask usage will save lives. The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington estimates that increasing mask usage to 95%, up from the present 76%, would save 22,000 lives by May 1. CDC has a guide to mask wearing, including dos and don’ts, and tips for effective mask usage. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/about-face-coverings.html
Which mask is best for you, and when to use it: a special report by CNN on the types and proper use of masks. https://edition.cnn.com/2021/01/25/health/covid-19-masks-which-is-best-wellness/index.html
New Developments since Last Report:
The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington released a new forecast that 569,000 Americans will have died from Covid-19 by May 1. This does not take into account new variants of the virus that are potentially more contagious. The model predicts that cases and deaths will taper off starting in March and April. IHME estimated that if mask usage increased to 95%, up from the present 76% that would save 22,000 US lives by May 1. https://covid19.healthdata.org/global?view=total-deaths&tab=trend
The Washington State Department of Financial Institutions (DFI) announces the development of a new financial education resource page for parents and educators wanting to explore personal finance with K-12 students. As parents and educators continue to seek new ways to help students learn during the varied classroom experiences of online, mixed and in-class learning, DFI is providing a new resource to encourage the inclusion and integration of financial education into regular class activities. https://dfi.wa.gov/financial-education/fun-clusters
First cases of U.K. COVID-19 strain found in Washington State. On Saturday, January 23, 2021, the Washington State Department of Health (DOH) along with the Snohomish Health District and the UW Medicine Virology Lab, announced that the B.1.1.7 variant of COVID-19 has been found in testing samples from two Snohomish County residents. https://www.doh.wa.gov/Newsroom/Articles/ID/2581/First-case-of-UK-COVID-19-strain-found-in-Washington-state
The State COVID-19 Assistance Hotline is experiencing high volumes of calls that are preventing calls from getting through to advisers. The State continues to work on their phone line capacity. An alternate hotline number is available, 888-856-5816, featuring both English and Spanish.
The Washington State Department of Health (DOH) determines the distribution of vaccine for our state, and the eligibility for vaccination in phases. King County is currently in the state’s Phase 1a and Phase 1b, Tier 1 for vaccine distribution. The County has a website to help residents understand about getting vaccinated in King County. Also see vaccination section above, https://kingcounty.gov/depts/health/covid-19/vaccine/distribution.aspx
New evidence indicates the B.1.1.7 variant of concern (VOC) may be associated with increased mortality compared to other strains of SARS-CoV-2. Sir Patrick Vallance, the UK Government’s Chief Scientific Advisor, said that infection with the new variant may be associated with an increased risk of death, in addition to its increased transmissibility. He noted that the mortality risk could be on the order of 30-40% higher for some individuals. Dr. Anthony Fauci acknowledged the results as highly concerning and in need of further study in the coming weeks. He emphasized that current vaccines still appear to be effective against all known variants, but adjustments can and will be made as needed. https://apnews.com/article/coronavirus-pandemic-693bb5e5fab573efc4011fa6ad5dbb47
Governor Inslee announced a record number of COVID-19 vaccines administered in a 24-hour period, with around 40,000 doses reported as of Monday. Washington also officially passed 500,000 vaccine doses administered and reported. The state’s current seven-day rolling average was 23,960 doses administered, up from 14,000 a week ago. Inslee said the vaccine measures are working, as we move toward the goal of 45,000 doses per day.
Progress on Community Support Operations:
Emergency Operations Center (EOC): The EOC activated in response to the pandemic emergency on March 12th, more than ten months ago (317 days). 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.
Volunteers: Work by our volunteers has nearly doubled over the last several weeks, as the Vashon Pharmacy drive-through site has come up to full speed. For the most recent reporting period, 41 volunteers contributed 580 hours of work to VashonBePrepared’s pandemic emergency response. That brings the total contributed hours to about 21,800 since the activation began. At the FEMA reimbursement grant rate of $31.72/hour, VashonBePrepared volunteers have logged over $691,000 of in-kind value available to be applied to the 25% match requirement for reimbursement grants. 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 gives thanks as well for the many hours of work in support of the Vashon community by the staff and volunteers at local social services agencies.
EOC/MRC: Coordination and information gathering from the three island vaccination providers continues, as described in the Vaccination Availability Survey in this edition of the Situation Report.
EOC/MRC/CERT: Also, as described in the Vaccination Availability Survey, the new Vashon Pharmacy drive-through vaccination site has blossomed with support from VashonBePrepared coalition members. The site operations are up to full capacity now, with a constant stream of patients receiving their first doses of the two-course vaccine for COVID-19.
MRC/Vashon Island School District: Information-gathering has been under way in preparation for next week’s “Go/No Go” meeting with the Schools Superintendent on the potential for school reopening in the elementary grades.
EOC/Households & Neighborhoods Branch: Plans are progressing for a new collaboration with the social service agency partners that have been part of the community’s pandemic response since the beginning. The plan is to help under-served Vashonites who qualify for the vaccine but are experiencing barriers to getting appointments, such as lack of a computer. If all goes well, a pilot effort could be running later this week to test new tools and procedures.
EOC/MRC/CERT: Even as the vaccination efforts ramp up, the testing site continues at O Space, operated by the Medical Reserve Corps and CERT volunteers. In the last year, the operation has tested 1,900 people, conducting 2,165 tests. MRC and all of us give thanks for the generosity of the folks at O Space for lending their location to this vital community effort.
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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 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