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About Voice of Vashon
|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:
Sign up to receive these emails at www.VoiceofVashon.org/alertsignup
Vashon Vaccine Availability:
The forecast calls for increasing snow and continued low temperatures through the weekend. Vashon Pharmacy staff and VashonBePrepared volunteers are watching the weather forecast closely and devising contingency plans. You may be concerned about your ability to get to the vaccination site if there’s snow, how to reschedule your appointment if needed, and whether the site will be operating on your appointment day. For now, the plan is to continue as scheduled. We’ll send out periodic updates via Voice of Vashon Emergency Alerts emails and 1650AM radio announcements, and posts to Facebook pages. Please stay tuned to emergency alerts on the radio at 1650AM, sign up for Emergency Alert emails at VoiceOfVashon.org/alertsignup, and watch for updates at the VashonBePrepared and Vashon Pharmacy Facebook pages.
If you are not able to get to your vaccine appointment because of the weather, please do not call the Pharmacy. You will be contacted about rescheduling.
Overview: Tyler Young at Vashon Pharmacy reports that he still expects to receive sufficient vaccine supplies to cover second doses next week, although no firm shipping information has yet been received. The timing of administering second doses is 21 days after the first dose for Pfizer, and 28 days after the first dose for Moderna. Ideally, second doses should be received within 42 days after the first dose, for both brands of vaccine. The level of demand for first doses continues to ease on Vashon, as more people are able to get appointments. Vaccine supplies are expected to become more predictable, as the federal government has started giving a three-week advance notice to the Washington state Department of Health about the doses they can expect to receive.
Reminder for the health and safety of yourselves and others, even after receiving your second vaccine dose:
We all will still need to mask up
We’ll still potentially be vulnerable to any mutated variants of the virus
We’ll still potentially be able to spread the virus to others
The vaccine is highly effective, but some people may still get infected, most likely with mild illness
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: With the help of CERT and MRC volunteers, the drive-through vaccination site is setting new records for the number of patients served. From Tuesday through Thursday of this week, over 600 vaccination doses were administered. Next week’s activity will be dedicated to administering second doses of both Moderna and Pfizer vaccines.
Sea Mar at Sunrise Ridge: For the third week in a row, Sea Mar received only a small number of doses to support providing second doses for patients who had previously been vaccinated at the clinic. A request for a large shipment of primary doses has still not been fulfilled, and the Sunrise Ridge health center does not plan to conduct a public vaccination clinic next week.
Vashon Natural Medicine: VNM continues to be on hold for shipments until the vaccine is available in much greater supply.
Washington Department of Health acknowledges that there has been confusion surrounding second COVID-19 vaccine doses. DOH is committed to ensuring there is a second dose of vaccine for everyone who receives their first dose. They have asked providers to prioritize vaccine series completion. This may mean using first doses to vaccinate people who need second doses. Providers are encouraged to schedule second dose appointments when patients receive their first dose. The second dose should be administered as close to the recommended interval as possible.
Two doses of Pfizer-BioNTech should be given 3 weeks or 21 days apart.
Two doses of Moderna should be given 1 month or 28 days apart.
If people are not able to get a second dose appointment following the recommended interval, the second dose of Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines may be scheduled for administration up to 6 weeks or 42 days after the first dose. https://www.doh.wa.gov/Emergencies/COVID19/Vaccine
State-level adjustments: As mentioned above, the federal government announced this week that it will be providing states with three-week advance forecasts of how much vaccine will be shipped. The state Department of Health (DOH) reacted positively to the news, saying it would be a big help to planning vaccination operations. One major challenge around the state, and particularly on Vashon, has been the difficulty of being able to reliably offer first dose appointments more than one week at a time. The DOH at the same time warned that it would be taking steps to even out distribution statewide, that vaccination phases and tiers would be rolled out simultaneously in all counties, not a county at a time. The state also indicated that it may reallocate vaccines so counties that are having trouble meeting the phase and tier targets would be brought along to catch up. This could mean that some areas get less vaccine for a while, until the county vaccination rates have been equalized.
Current Virus Statistics:
Vashon Island COVID-19 Case Count as of 2/12/21:*
103 confirmed positive cases, 0 new cases since last Situation Report on Tuesday
Date of last positive test: February 9
5 new positives in past 7 days and 5 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 2/12/21:*
79,681 confirmed positive cases, 700 new since last Situation Report on Tuesday
1,318 deaths, 18 new since last Situation Report on Tuesday
Washington State COVID-19 Case Count as of 2/11/21:*
327,167 confirmed positive cases, 3,142 new since last Situation Report Tuesday
4,675 deaths, 117 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
Vaccine Fear Health Tip: Vashon is no different than other areas when it comes to fear. Vaccine fear has arrived in several ways, and our Community Care Team (CCT) wants you to know how to get help. “The fear comes in two ways,” said CCT leader Jinna Risdal. “Some people are afraid of the vaccine, often because of misinformation circulating on the Internet. Other people, a lot of people these days, fear that they will not be able to get vaccinated and put the pandemic behind them.” If you have vaccine fear, or know someone who does, check out the Coping with COVID page: VashonBePrepared.org/COVID-Resources/For-Our-Mental-Health/Coping-with-COVID
“It helps to remember that everyone who wants the vaccine will get one,” Risdal said, “We also worry that it’s easy for fear to turn into anger, and we need everyone to treat our VashonBePrepared volunteers and Vashon Pharmacy staff nicely. They are working hard in challenging conditions to serve Vashon. The Vashon Community Care Team Helpline is available to help. (206) 701-0694 and is open from 8:00am-8:00pm daily.
Epidemiologist Dr. Zach Miller of Vashon MRC advised that the COVID variants we’re hearing about, from Brazil, South Africa, and the UK, are likely already here in greater numbers than are being reported, because in the United States, sampling of virus material is not yet as widespread as in some other countries. Mutations are likely also occurring with the virus that’s active here in the US, so even if we don’t travel far, we may be exposed to new, more infectious variants. As Dr. Miller noted, “That’s a compelling reason to protect our communities with continued safety steps, such as masking up,
maintaining distance, avoiding crowded indoor spaces, and washing hands frequently.”
Dr. Jim Bristow of Vashon Medical Reserve Corps remarked that we need to re-dedicate ourselves to maintaining safe behaviors. “We sympathize with folks feeling a pent-up desire to be free of all these annoying restrictions and hygiene measures, but the fact is that we still have a long way to go before it’s safe to let down our guard. Even after someone has gotten their second dose of the vaccine and waited two weeks for fullest immunity, there’s still a chance they can spread disease to friends and family, and a chance they’ll get sick with the virus despite the vaccine, because it’s only 94-95% effective, meaning as many as five or six percent of vaccinated patients are still susceptible to infection.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced new guidelines that include wearing well-fitting face masks or two masks at a time to help curb the COVID-19 pandemic. The new recommendation says wearing tight-fit masks or double-masking with cloth and surgical masks increases protection. New research by the agency shows that transmission of the virus can be reduced by up to 96.5 percent if both an infected individual and an uninfected individual wear tightly fitted surgical masks or a cloth-and-surgical-mask combination. Dr. Rochelle P. Walensky, director of the CDC, announced the findings during a White House coronavirus briefing, and coupled it to President Biden’s challenge for Americans to wear masks for the first 100 days of his presidency. Dr. Walensky said that masks were especially crucial, given the concern about new variants circulating. There is clear evidence that the more of us who wear masks and the better the mask fits, the more each of us benefit individually. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/your-health/effective-masks.html
Winter mask tip: Wet masks won’t protect you. Change your mask when it becomes wet. A wet mask is harder to breathe through, is less efficient at filtering, and vents more around the edges of the mask. Keep a spare mask to replace one that becomes wet from the moisture in your breath, snow, or rain.
Local COVID Activity:
Vashon Community Care (VCC) has completed two rounds of building-wide testing (residents and staff). Wendy Kleppe, Executive Director, announced that all tests to date have resulted in negative results, outside of the two initial cases of the current outbreak. As requested by Public Health, they have completed additional testing of all residents and staff. Once they receive those results, VCC will meet with Public Health, which will determine next steps. The facility must be clear for 28 days since the last positive test, which was on Feb 19th, before they can follow the Safe Opening plan. This week, in an unannounced visit, a King County Public Health and Department of Social and Health Services investigative nurse reviewed infection control practices, and found no errors or shortcomings with VCC’s infection control practices and protocols. So far, more than 92 percent of staff and residents have been vaccinated, far surpassing the national average in long-term care facilities.
New Developments since Last Report:
Vashon Island School District Healthy Start plan has announced a timeline for reopening in-person education. Dr. Shade McSheehy has said that with full consideration of WA Department of Health and L&I safety protocols, in-person learning can be accomplished in a way that limits the spread of infection, and in a way that improves student well-being and learning. VISD knows this because of new information based on experience, data, and science. Dr McSheehy said he remains fully committed to following the DOH recommendations and at the same time, is in full support of school staff getting immediate access to vaccinations and will continue advocacy efforts until each and every staff member has access. The timeline for the return to in-person learning is currently planned as:
March 1st – preK – Kindergarten
March 15th – Grades 1-3
March 29th – Grades 4-5
April 16th – Grades 6-12 (Still in planning phase)
Each of these phases are allowable when trends in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations are flat or decreasing and the school can demonstrate the ability to limit transmission in the school environment.
New report furthers understanding of COVID-19 transmission in schools. On February 11, DOH released the “COVID-19 Outbreaks in Washington State K-12 Schools” report. The report is yet another tool that school districts and local health jurisdictions (LHJs) can use to inform decisions about when and how to bring students, educators and staff back for in-person learning. https://www.doh.wa.gov/Portals/1/Documents/1600/coronavirus/data-tables/420-312-K12SchoolsOutbreakReport.pdf
King County Metro encourages riders to be prepared, or to wait until the storms subside to travel. When Metro’s service area is affected by snow or ice, there could be service disruptions including reroutes, delays or individual trip cancelations, due to vehicle, staffing or other resource shortages, or due to road conditions in specific areas. Unlike regular service days when Metro staff can send Transit Alerts about some individual trip cancelations, it may not be possible to proactively send those alerts for all canceled trips during a snow event. Known canceled trips are shown in the Next Departures tool in Metro’s online trip planner at: https://tripplanner.kingcounty.gov/#/app/nextdepartures. Metro’s Text for Departures tool is another quick way to find the next departures at your bus stop. Text your transit stop ID (on the sign at your bus stop) to this number: 62550, and you will receive a message a few seconds later with up-to-date schedule information.
Washington State Ferries is prepared for the snow forecast through the weekend. Riders should prepare for the possibility of WSF operating on its severe weather schedules on some routes. WSF will continue to send updates to let you know if a route switches to its alternate timetables. All traveling customers are required to wear face coverings inside the terminal, at the tollbooth and aboard the ferry. Check for schedule changes before traveling at https://wsdot.wa.gov/ferries/sailing-schedules/schedule-route
Creating Strength, the island-wide campaign, aims to help all of us become stronger and more resilient against the stresses of the pandemic which ripple outwards into related personal crises such as unemployment, housing and food insecurity, racial justice, isolation, and political unrest. This week’s feature focus is on ‘Move’. 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
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has adjusted quarantine requirements for those that have been fully vaccinated. The most notable update addresses quarantine requirements for vaccinated individuals after exposure to known COVID-19 cases. The new guidance largely eliminates quarantine recommendations for fully vaccinated individuals. Individuals who meet all of the following requirements do not need to quarantine after a known exposure:
Received all required doses of the vaccine (ie, 2 doses for a 2-dose vaccine; 1 dose for a single-dose vaccine)
Received their final doses 2 weeks or longer before the exposure
Are within 3 months since their second dose
Remain asymptomatic following the exposure
The guidance indicates that the timing associated with these requirements will be updated as additional information becomes available. Presumably, this will include extending the 3-month limit as new data are reported from clinical trials regarding the duration of immunity conferred by the vaccines. Notably, the CDC continues to emphasize that vaccination is not recommended as post-exposure prophylaxis, and that eligible individuals with known exposure should wait until after the completion of their quarantine period to schedule their vaccination. https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/covid-19/info-by-product/clinical-considerations.html
President Biden said Thursday that his administration had finalized deals for another 200 million doses of the two coronavirus vaccines authorized in the United States, giving the country enough vaccine by the end of July to cover every American adult. The federal government has purchased 100 million more doses from Pfizer and German company BioNTech, as well as 100 million more from Moderna, using options built into existing contracts with those companies.
Nonessential travelers entering Canada at the U.S.-Canada land border will need to provide proof of a negative polymerase chain reaction (PCR) COVID-19 test beginning Feb. 15. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said that the test must be taken within 72 hours before arrival at the border. He said that while border agents can’t legally deny entry to Canadian citizens or permanent residents, those who fail to present a negative test could face fines of C$3,000 (US$2,360) or other penalties.
Nonessential air travelers arriving in Canada will have to quarantine in a hotel at their own expense beginning Feb. 22, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Friday. They will require nonessential air travelers to be tested for the coronavirus upon arrival and to await their results in a government-approved hotel for up to three days. Those who test negative for the coronavirus will complete the rest of their mandatory 14-day quarantine at home. Those who test positive for the virus will be transferred to a different facility for the rest of their quarantine. The cost could exceed $1,500 per person.
Progress on Community Support Operations:
Emergency Operations Center (EOC): The EOC and other elements of our island emergency response coalition were activated in response to the pandemic emergency on March 12th, over eleven months ago (338 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.
Winter storms are here: Pharmacy staff and vaccination site volunteers are closely monitoring the forecast for inbound fronts that are predicted to deliver variable winds and temperatures in the teens, with additional snow accumulation expected Friday evening through Saturday afternoon.
Vaccines in the snow: Despite additional snow accumulation in the forecast, the current plan for the vaccination site at Vashon Pharmacy is to continue operations. If the plan changes, Vashon Pharmacy will send an automated message to everyone who has an appointment for the affected time period. Updates will also be issued via Voice of Vashon Emergency Alert Service emails, announcements on Voice of Vashon Emergency Alert Service at 1650AM, and on the pharmacy’s COVID-19 web page at VashonPharmacy.com/covid. Sign up for Emergency Alert Service emails at VoiceOfVashon.org/alertsignup
Snow safety: During the snows, please avoid driving unless it’s necessary. If you must miss your Saturday vaccination appointment due to the weather, please don’t call the pharmacy. On Sunday, pharmacist Tyler Young will assess the number of missed Saturday appointments, and will use automated phone messages to communicate a plan to those who missed their appointments. Information will also be shared as needed via the Voice Of Vashon Emergency Alert Service, as shown above.
Second doses: Next week marks the start of administration of second doses at the pharmacy vaccination site, for both Moderna and Pfizer vaccines. First dose appointments will resume once the initial wave of second doses has been administered. Watch the pharmacy website at VashonPharmacy.com/covid, and see the Vaccine Availability section in this report for more information.
Vax Access: As the project rolls out to other social service agencies, the Vax Access team reports that many of the seniors assisted by the Senior Center volunteers and staff were experiencing challenges related to computer use and internet access. The folks who were helped to get appointments via Vax Access will not be due for their second doses until later in February. Many thanks to Senior Center volunteers and staff for their major efforts in piloting the Vax Access program.
MRC COVID-19 testing continues: Testing volumes are holding steady at about 60 tests per week, which is comparable to October volumes. One positive case was seen at the MRC test site in the past two weeks. Patients seeking tests here on Vashon are mostly calling because they’re experiencing symptoms (not as much for exposures, pre-travel, or pre-family visits). It’s too early to see any disease spread resulting from the Superbowl last Sunday – if Vashon sees an uptick in positive cases resulting from Superbowl gatherings, it would show up starting this weekend or next week.
Vashon COVID Relief Fund: This week the Fund began its thirteenth round of disbursements to local social service agencies since the pandemic began, helping agencies continue to meet the sharply increased demand for community support during the pandemic. Recipient agencies include: Vashon Maury Community Food Bank, Interfaith Council to Prevent Homelessness, Vashon Island School District’s nutrition program, Vashon Senior Center’s lunch program, The DOVE Project, Vashon Youth and Family Services, and St. Vincent de Paul Vashon.
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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