Situation Report #162

March 12th, 2021 - 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.
You can read the full text of today’s report as a PDF and access older ones at: https://vashonbeprepared.org/News/SitReps
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Vashon Vaccine Availability: 
Vaccination eligibility for Washington State currently includes those in tiers 1a and 1b1, including pre-K to grade 12 educators and staff, as well as licensed daycare workers. Tier 1b2 will open on March 17. For full definitions of eligibility, visit https://www.doh.wa.gov/Emergencies/COVID19/Vaccine
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. VashonBePrepared.org/COVID-Vaccine VashonPharmacy.com/covid SeaMar.org/covid-vaccine VashonNaturalMed.com
The Overview: No new vaccine shipments are currently expected on Vashon for the next week, except for the supplies to meet second dose commitments.  Plans are being made by both active vaccination outlets on the island to respond to the opening of 1b2, the next tier of eligibility. A very limited number of first dose vaccinations will be available for new 1b2 individuals using leftover vaccine stock.
Overall Vaccination Progress: The data dashboard published by Public Health — Seattle & King County (PHSKC) continues to show Vashon as more vaccinated than all other communities in the county.  The general population on Vashon aged 16+ is about 38% vaccinated. The vaccination rate of the island’s seniors, aged 65+, remains at nearly 106%.  It is quite challenging to do accurate counts of vaccination percentages, but this essentially shows that the island has reached the saturation point for that group. 
Educators/Child Care Workers: Since addition of this population to the 1b1 group, hundreds of employees of Vashon schools and licensed child care facilities have been vaccinated.  It appears that most of this group that wanted vaccinations have received them through the Vashon Pharmacy drive-through clinic or the Sea Mar clinic.
Sea Mar at Sunrise Ridge: The clinic at Sunrise Ridge was able to inoculate a limited number of people with first doses today, using stock left over from a previous shipment.  Sea Mar currently has no plans to hold any public vaccination clinics this coming week, but has been receiving small batches of vaccine on an irregular schedule so that could change.
Vashon Pharmacy: The Pharmacy’s request for vaccines for this coming week was denied by the state Department of Health, probably because Vashon already has the highest vaccinated rate in King County according to PHSKC. However, the Pharmacy hopes to open up the online appointment portal early this coming week if possible, using leftover doses from previous shipments. At this time, only a couple of half-day drive-through clinic days are envisioned.
Tier 1b2 Rules:  On March 17th, at the order of the Governor, the next vaccination tier will be opened.  The Pharmacy will add two questions to its appointment form, in order to conform to the 1b2 requirements. Failure to conform to the requirements could cause the state to cut off vaccine shipments to a provider. The two new questions will ask: 1) are you a critical worker, and 2) do you work in a congregate setting? The list of critical worker categories is quite broad, and jobs are very specifically described. To find out if you qualify, you can check the list published by the state Department of Health: tinyurl.com/2krew9ap To evaluate whether you qualify as a worker in a congregate setting, you will be asked if your workplace fits this definition from the Washington state Department of Health:  “An environment where individuals work and/or reside in an enclosed space and where they are interacting with a high volume of people over an extended period of time and not able to consistently maintain physical distance.”
Current Virus Statistics:
Vashon Island COVID-19 Case Count as of 3/12/21:* 108 confirmed positive cases, 0 new cases since last Situation Report on Tuesday Date of last positive test: March 3 0 new positives in past 7 days and 1 positives in the past 14 days   3 people have been hospitalized. Date of last hospitalization: December 28 3 Vashon deaths per the King County dashboard, last death reported 2/27/21
King County COVID-19 Case Count as of 3/12/21:* 83,806 confirmed positive cases, 532 new since last Situation Report on Tuesday 1,435 deaths, 14 new since last Situation Report on Tuesday
Washington State COVID-19 Case Count as of 3/11/21:* 348,516 confirmed positive cases, 2,785 new since last Situation Report Tuesday 5,123 deaths, 60 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:
The Washington State Department of Health (DOH) has adopted the guidance released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) regarding post-vaccine behavior.  If someone has been fully vaccinated (two weeks after the second dose of a two dose vaccine or dose of a single shot vaccine), they can: Gather indoors with fully vaccinated people in private residences without wearing a mask and, Gather indoors with unvaccinated people from one other household in private residences (for example, visiting with relatives who all live together) without masks, unless any of those people or anyone they live with has an increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19. The CDC is quite clear that vaccinated people should continue to wear masks when they’re in public, avoid crowds and take other precautions when gathering with unvaccinated people who are at high risk of serious illness from COVID-19.  https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/fully-vaccinated.html
Washington State Department of Health (DOH) recommends that regardless of vaccination status, people should still take steps to protect themselves and others while in public settings. This includes wearing a mask, staying at least 6 feet from others, and avoiding crowds and poorly ventilated spaces. In addition, people should still avoid medium or large-sized gatherings and continue to watch for symptoms of COVID-19, especially if they’ve been around someone who is sick.
New Developments since Last Report:
Phase 3 of the state’s Roadmap to Recovery plan will begin statewide on March 22.  Under Phase 3, the following will now be allowed: Up to 50% occupancy or 400 people maximum, whichever is lower, for all indoor spaces. This applies to all industries and indoor activities currently allowed; restaurants, gyms and fitness centers and movie theaters, among others, may all increase their capacity. Larger venue events are capped at 25% occupancy, or up to 9,000 people, whichever is less, and must follow spectator guidelines. The change affects both professional and high school sports, as well as motorsports, rodeos, and other outdoor spectator events. Social distancing and facial coverings are still required. The governor’s office says other minor industry-level adjustments will be made; these changes will be announced next week.   In order to stay in Phase 3, King County must have less than 200 new COVID-19 cases per 100,000 population per 14 days, and less than 5 new COVID-19 hospitalizations per 100,000 population per 7 days. The first evaluation for Phase 3 will be on April 12.  After that, counties will be evaluated every 3 weeks. Evaluations will take place on Monday and take effect on Friday. https://medium.com/wagovernor/inslee-announces-statewide-move-to-phase-3-of-recovery-plan-return-to-spectator-events-and-tier-2-4a53000f2724
Vaccine tier will start early.  Gov. Jay Inslee announced that on Wednesday, March 17, everyone in Phase 1b, Tier 2 will be eligible for their COVID vaccine. This includes critical infrastructure workers of all ages working in congregate settings in agriculture, food processing, grocery stores, public transit, firefighters and law enforcement, among others.  Phase 1b-2 also includes people over the age of 16 who are pregnant or have a disability that puts them at high-risk. https://www.governor.wa.gov/news-media/inslee-announces-statewide-move-phase-3-recovery-plan-return-spectator-events-and-phase
President Joe Biden announced that he will direct states to make all adults, ages 18 and up, eligible for the coronavirus vaccines by May 1. Biden commented on the importance of getting vaccinated: “If we do all this, if we do our part, if we do this together, by July 4th there’s a good chance you, your families and friends will be able to get together in your backyard or your neighborhood and have a cookout and a barbecue and celebrate Independence Day.” The White House has also said that it does not expect to have enough supply to vaccinate every adult until the end of May. https://www.cnbc.com/2021/03/11/covid-vaccine-biden-will-direct-states-to-make-all-adults-eligible-by-may-1.html
The Washington State Department of Social and Health Services says it is working on changes to the state’s reopening plan for long-term care facilities, following federal guidance issued Wednesday that nursing homes may resume visits for all residents. The federal guidance, however, doesn’t change states’ individual restrictions and Vashon Community Care indicates it is still studying the new guidance. Washington continues to limit visits in all long-term care facilities and has a four-phase plan for facilities to open their doors. Indoor visits are in the third and fourth phase; the third phase is for counties with 25 or fewer new COVID-19cases per 100,000 residents.
Unemployment benefits are being extended and enhanced by the American Rescue Plan Act. If you are receiving regular Unemployment Insurance (UI), Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA), or Extended Benefits (EB), you are automatically eligible for Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC), plus $300/week Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) through the week ending 09/04/2021. For assistance with unemployment or tax issues, contact deborah@vashonbeprepared.org or (206) 200-3236.   
Gov. Jay Inslee issued an emergency proclamation that requires Washington’s K-12 school districts to offer students at least some opportunity for in-person learning in April.  Under the pending order, K-6 students statewide must be allowed an opportunity for what’s known as hybrid instruction — a mix of remote and in-person teaching — by April 5. The remainder of the students are to have hybrid learning by April 19. Also by April 19 all school districts will be required to hold at least 30% of their weekly average instructional hours as in-person, on-campus instruction for all K-12 students. https://www.king5.com/article/news/health/coronavirus/jay-inslee-reopening-washington-schools-covid-19/281-a369c895-c67c-4086-a684-eaa475491cf0
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. ‘Care’ is the last component of 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 UW Medicine Virology Lab informed Public Health – Seattle & King County that it detected the presence of the P.1 variant, first identified in travelers from Brazil, in a COVID-19 test sample originating in King County. The P.1 strain contains a number of mutations, including ones that seem to make it less vulnerable to our bodies’ immune response. Viruses mutate all the time, and numerous strains of the SARS-CoV-2 virus that cause COVID-19 have been identified around the world. Experts believe the threat of variants increases the need to reduce transmission and increase vaccination, before these variant strains are widely spread.  https://publichealthinsider.com/2021/03/11/new-variant-new-urgency-another-mutant-strain-of-the-coronavirus-is-in-our-community
Isolation and quarantine are still part of the strategy to reduce the transmission of the COVID-19 virus. However, as more individuals become fully vaccinated, some of these precautions have changed. Public health – Seattle & King County has posted different scenarios to help you understand if or when you need to isolate or quarantine. Visit: https://www.kingcounty.gov/depts/health/covid-19/care/quarantine.aspx
U.S. News and World Report has ranked Washington as the best state in the nation for the second consecutive time.  Washington’s low-carbon energy system and robust secondary education continue to rank among the nation’s best, as does the state’s economy, the fastest growing in the nation. The rankings are based on metrics that “measure how well states are performing for their citizens,” according to the report.  “Washingtonians are motivated to lead and innovate in all aspects of our society: in labor, business, education, health, and so much more,” Gov. Jay Inslee said, reacting to the ranking.  “It was that same spirit that helped us bounce back from being the first state in the nation hit by COVID-19, and we are on our way to a robust recovery because of our unique attributes.”   https://www.usnews.com/news/best-states/rankings
The latest forecast from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington projects more than 598,000 Americans will die from Covid-19 by July 1. That number is an increase of more than 22,000 deaths from an IHME forecast released over the weekend, which predicted about 576,026 American deaths by July 1.  The team says that an increase in mobility, along with declining mask use in many states and the circulation of more contagious virus variants led to the increase in projected deaths. “Over the last week the US has seen the largest one-week increase in mobility since the pandemic began,” the IHME team wrote in an analysis containing data through March 8. “This huge jump in mobility means 22 states have mobility levels within 10% of the pre-Covid-19 baseline.” The latest projection is based on a scenario that accounts for continued spread of the B.1.1.7 virus variant in some locations, and scale-up of Covid-19 vaccination in the US over the next few months. Under this scenario, if 95% of Americans started wearing masks, the current projected cumulative death rate could drop 14,000 deaths by July 1. http://www.healthdata.org/sites/default/files/files/Projects/COVID/2021/102_briefing_United_States_of_America_7.pdf
Mike Kreidler, Washington State Insurance Commissioner, said that President Biden’s American Rescue Plan Act will lower health insurance costs for over 200,000 people in Washington. “Despite the progress made under the Affordable Care Act, we know that too many families have struggled to afford critical health coverage, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Kreidler. The Plan removes the income cap on individuals who earn more than $51,040 and families of four who earn more than $104,800.  Now they will not be required to spend more than 8.5% of their income on health insurance premiums.  Others with lower incomes will see their premiums reduced; a family of four earning between $26,200 and $39,300 would not pay any premiums. https://www.insurance.wa.gov/news/bidens-american-rescue-plan-will-lower-health-insurance-costs-over-200000-washington
Vashon’s Health Care District (VHCD) has collaborated with Sea Mar to provide a document with answers to some of the questions most heard around the island. The questions and answers are posted on the VHCD website in both English (https://www.vashonhealthcare.org/frequently-asked-questions) and Spanish (https://www.vashonhealthcare.org/respuestas-para-preguntas-frecuentes).   
Progress on Community Support Operations:
Emergency Operations Center (EOC): It has been one year since the EOC and other elements of our island emergency response coalition were activated in response to the pandemic emergency, March 12th, 2020. Our four operational priorities were put in place shortly after activation, established by the Incident Commander, Fire Chief Charlie Krimmert, and approved by the VashonBePrepared Board. Those priorities continue to be health, food security, housing security and economic recovery.
Vaccination Operations: The operational terrain has shifted in significant ways in the last several days: The Vashon Pharmacy drive-through vaccination operation will stay at its present location with check-in/staging at the movie theater parking lot, and the injection and post-vaccination observation taking place in the parking area behind the Pharmacy. The analysis of alternative sites has developed several potential backup locations if a move should become necessary, and has provided good experience for future unknown disaster response needs, particularly in working with Vashon Center for the Arts. The operational days for the drive-through and volunteer service scheduling for MRC and CERT continue to be fluid, dependent on the supply of vaccine in state allocations to the island. The Governor’s decision to advance the eligibility window by one week to March 17th for 1b2 category patients has required schedulers to customize their systems to optimize use of the small number of vaccine doses remaining in stock, since no additional vaccine will be coming to the Pharmacy next week.
Future: A working group is being formed to study how the new stimulus plan signed into law by President Biden yesterday will apply to the people of Vashon. The EOC Team and VashonBePrepared will be assessing ways to advise Vashonites, nonprofits, and businesses on how they may take advantage of the benefits put in place by the new plan.
Community Care Team/Spiritual Resources Groups (CCT/SRG): The Creating Strength resilience project has been completed, all nine weeks of training and short video talks transmitted to the public via email and social media. The entire set of nine are available at: https://vashonbeprepared.org/creatingstrength.  Meanwhile, the Gratitude Project community thank you card writing campaign has begun in earnest, with personal thanks being sent by CCT and SRG members to volunteers who have stepped up for service during the first year of the pandemic.
One Year:  Volunteers commemorated the one year anniversary of our activation at the weekly All Hands Briefing meeting this afternoon.

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