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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: https://vashonbeprepared.org/News/SitReps
Sign up to receive these emails at www.VoiceofVashon.org/alertsignup
Local COVID Activity:
Casa Bonita restaurant has closed for two weeks as a voluntary COVID safety measure and the staff are in voluntary quarantine and being tested. Two staff at the restaurant tested positive earlier this week. The Vashon Medical Reserve Corps (MRC) and the owner of the restaurant issued an appeal for members of the public who may have been exposed to call the MRC phone line to be screened for possible testing. Please only call if you were served inside the restaurant on Thursday, Friday, or Saturday, March 25 through 27. You need not call if you were ordering or picking up to go orders unless you spent more than 15 minutes in the restaurant. The MRC number is: (844) 469-4554. So far, a total of 32 Vashon residents have been tested and only the two original cases have tested positive.
Vashon Vaccine Availability:
The Overview: First dose appointments have been available this week on island for the first time in a couple of weeks at both of the active vaccination sites. Second dose commitments are being met at both locations. The prospects are low for new first dose vaccination availability next week.
Vaccination eligibility for Washington State currently includes those in tiers 1a, 1b1, 1b2, 1b3 and 1b4. Vaccine eligibility will expand on April 15 to include all persons 16 and older. For full definitions of eligibility, visit https://www.kingcounty.gov/depts/health/covid-19/vaccine/distribution.aspx.
Sea Mar: The Sunrise Ridge clinic held a no-appointment-required vaccination day today, announced on the Sea Mar main website last night. The clinic had 200 doses for walk-ups at the start of the day. The local clinic has no word yet on whether Sea Mar headquarters will provide vaccine for first doses next week, but coverage for second dose appointments is assured.
Vashon Pharmacy: The drive-through site has operated at full flow this week and plans to continue using existing stock for a couple days next week, thanks to two large shipments of Pfizer and Moderna vaccine earlier in the week. Appointment slots scheduled for next week have already been taken. The Pharmacy’s request for additional vaccine for next week has been denied by the state Department of Health so there will not be any new first-dose availability next week at the drive-through site, and the appointment booking portal will not be opening. Vaccine has been set aside for all currently booked second-dose appointments.
End-of-Day Waitlist/Cancellation: Vashon Pharmacy has added two features to its vaccination signup page. At the beginning of each day, up to twelve people can put their names in to be called if any vaccine doses are left at the end of the day. This morning the waitlist filled in 15 minutes. The waitlist of eligible persons is reset to zero each day. In addition, there’s now an appointment cancellation feature that will help reduce the number of no-shows. Both features are available at the appointment signup website: www.VashonPharmacy.com/COVID
Vax Access: The outreach to Spanish speaking residents of Vashon has so far helped more than 60 people book vaccination appointments. The Vax Access program helps promote access equity for people experiencing significant barriers to vaccination, such as physical challenges, lack of computer, and lack of English language skills. Work also continues on providing mobile vaccinations to homebound residents.
The Emergency Operations Center (EOC) recommends that you check the following four websites to see if there is updated information about local vaccination opportunities, beyond what we compile in these Situation Reports which are published on Tuesdays and Fridays.
Going off Island for Vaccination: A number of sites within driving distance are accepting appointments from residents in King, Pierce and Kitsap counties. Here are some websites to check for vaccination opportunities:
Vaccinate WA: vaccinelocator.doh.wa.gov
WA COVID Vaccine Finder: www.covidwa.com
City of Seattle Vaccination Notification List: bit.ly/VaxNotificationList
Each of these sources lists some potential vaccination locations within a few miles of the mainland ferry docks. Check these websites frequently and refresh your browser to find the most convenient location for you. Also, keep in mind that your mainland healthcare provider may be a vaccination resource (CHI Franciscan, Multicare, Kaiser, etc.). And all patients enrolled in the Veterans Administration system are eligible at VA facilities.
Current Virus Statistics:
Vashon Island COVID-19 Case Count as of 4/2/21:*
111 confirmed positive cases, 2 new case since last Situation Report on Tuesday
Date of last positive test: April 2
2 new positives in past 7 days and 2 new positives in the past 14 days
4 people have been hospitalized. Date of last hospitalization: March 18
3 Vashon deaths per the King County dashboard, last death reported 2/27/21
King County COVID-19 Case Count as of 4/2/21:*
88,786 confirmed positive cases, 1,596 new since last Situation Report on Tuesday
1,471 deaths, 9 new since last Situation Report on Tuesday
Washington State COVID-19 Case Count as of 4/1/21:*
367,115 confirmed positive cases, 7,449 new since last Situation Report Tuesday
5,278 deaths, 52 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
How do I know if it’s allergies or covid? As the pandemic continues and allergy season has started earlier than usual and there may be times when you’re not sure if your symptoms are COVID-19 or just allergies. If you have a fever and chills, which can indicate an infection, you should definitely get tested. Another key COVID indicator is if you lose your sense of taste or smell. If you have COVID, every time you cough, you’re spreading droplets that can infect others. Allergies, on the other hand, are not contagious. A Mayo Clinic article reviews symptom differences between COVID-19, a cold, seasonal allergies and the flu, at https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/coronavirus/in-depth/covid-19-cold-flu-and-allergies-differences/art-20503981
CDC has a simple Venn diagram showing the overlap and differences of COVID-19 and allergy symptoms. Visit https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/need-extra-precautions/infographic-overlap-symptoms.html
Testing is still a critical tool in the battle with COVID-19. If you have symptoms, or think you have been exposed to COVID-19, you can help prevent the spread of the virus to others in your home and community by getting tested. According to Vashon’s Medical Reserve Corps, this remains true even if you’ve been vaccinated.Vashon MRC recommendations are to stay in quarantine for 14 days after your last contact, staying at home, separating yourself from other people and animals. In addition to getting tested, It is important to maintain six feet of physical distance from others at all times, even if wearing a mask, and wash your hands often. For a list of symptoms, or questions about getting tested on Vashon, call 844-469-4554, or visit https://testing.vashonbeprepared.org.
New Developments since Last Report:
“Disease transmission is increasing and we are seeing concerning signs.” said Dr. Umair A. Shah, Secretary of Health. “Case counts are showing increases in King County, Pierce County, Snohomish County.” Shah said health officials believe people could be letting up on the measures known to prevent transmission, such as masking and distancing. “We are not out of the pandemic until we’re out of the pandemic, meaning: Don’t let your guard down,” Shah said. And coronavirus variants of concern — which could spread more easily, cause more harm, or more readily escape treatment or immunity by vaccination — now make up a majority of most recent cases to receive genomic sequencing by Washington laboratories. Scientists believe two variants, named B.1.429 and B.1.427, are roughly 20% more transmissible. They may be resistant to some types of treatments, and could cause some reduction in vaccine performance. The B.1.1.7 variant, which scientists believe is about 50% more transmissible and could cause more severe COVID-19 symptoms, is also spreading, according to state data. https://www.doh.wa.gov/Portals/1/Documents/1600/coronavirus/data-tables/420-316-SequencingAndVariantsReport.pdf
State health leaders are pleading for people to stay home for spring break. COVID-19 cases are climbing, and this is not the time for Washingtonians to let down their guard. “Don’t travel unless it’s absolutely necessary,” said Dr. Scott Lindquist, acting state health officer. He said to stay home even if you are fully vaccinated. “I know that’s a hard message to send to folks who want to go on spring break. But truly, we are seeing cases in vaccinated people that are breakthrough, that have done just that, people who traveled to spring break, etc.” The state is following Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines, which state you should get tested for COVID-19 before you fly and when you get back. They want travelers to self-quarantine for a full seven days after travel, even if their test is negative. https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/page/spring-break-travel
“We are getting closer to knocking out the pandemic, but we are not there yet, and there are very concerning warning signs that we could be headed for a fourth major spike in infection. Our community has the lowest infection rate in King County, but all around us the numbers are rising” said Dr. Jim Bristow, Co-Coordinator of Vashon Medical Reserve Corps and leader of the island’s COVID-19 testing effort. “For some weeks at the test site, a big percentage of our patients have been requesting testing so they can travel. It’s easy to understand why, after more than a year of pandemic. Unfortunately, the number one source of infections for the past year has been people traveling off island and bringing the infection home with them. If we can hold out for another couple of months, many more people will be protected by vaccination and it will be much safer,” he continued. His advice: stay home a bit longer, mask, distance, and wash hands to keep our community safe.
Mask-wearing is essential in preventing the spread of COVID, said King County Health Officer Dr. Jeff Duchin. Adding “COVID-19 spreads through the air, and the risk is highest in crowded and indoor spaces with poor ventilation.” New data from King County from November to February found that 89% of county residents were following the state mandate and wearing a mask that covered their nose and mouth. One goal of the study was to identify any areas of lower mask usage to tailor messaging to those communities. Masking was highest in grocery stores and hardware stores (94-97%) and lower for people entering convenience stores and at transit centers (76-84%). Children were less likely than other age groups to be wearing masks. “Wearing a well-made and snug-fitting mask is one of our best tools against COVID-19.” Said Duchin. https://publichealthinsider.com/2021/02/09/its-a-good-time-to-improve-our-masks-and-how-we-wear-them-as-more-contagious-covid-19-variants-emerge
Headed for the Red Line: This chart from Public Health — Seattle & King County tells a very worrying story. We are currently at Phase 3 of reopening status, but King County’s COVID-19 indicators are headed for the red line shown on the chart. The Governor has said he will roll back to Phase 2 of reopening any county that goes over the red line. For example, that would force restaurants back to 25% capacity and close down live performances again. This upward trend is also being seen in county hospitalization and death data. https://www.kingcounty.gov/depts/health/covid-19/data/key-indicators.aspx
Gov. Jay Inslee announced that everyone 16 and older who wants a COVID-19 vaccine will be eligible to receive one in Washington state, starting on April 15. The state’s phased eligibility approach was designed to ensure the most vulnerable people got vaccinated first, including older adults, those in long term care facilities, critical healthcare workers, and more. The expansion of eligibility comes, in response to a recent uptick in COVID cases in the state, and a forecast of increased vaccine allocations by the federal government. Currently, Pfizer-BioNTech is the only COVID-19 vaccine authorized for people 16 years of age and older. Moderna and Johnson & Johnson are authorized for people 18 and older. Those age 16 or 17 may need consent from a parent or guardian to get the vaccine, unless they are legally emancipated. https://www.governor.wa.gov/news-media/inslee-announces-vaccine-eligibility-expansion-all-adults-april-15
CDC has updated its travel recommendations for vaccinated travelers. International travel poses additional risks, and even fully vaccinated travelers are at increased risk for getting and possibly spreading new COVID-19 variants. CDC recommends delaying international travel until you are fully vaccinated. Even after you are fully vaccinated with an FDA-authorized vaccine, you should continue to follow CDC’s recommendations for traveling safely, and get tested 3-5 days after travel. Vaccinated travelers do NOT need to get tested before leaving the United States unless your destination requires it, and you do NOT need to self-quarantine after arriving in the United States. Full recommendation at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/international-travel-during-covid19.html
The Washington Department of Health has updated some of its Phase 3 business guidance. These updates include farm and agricultural workers, long-term care facilities, food workers and establishments (including outdoor farmer’s markets), and homeless shelters. For the full updates visit: https://www.doh.wa.gov/Emergencies/COVID19/ResourcesandRecommendations#business
The Washington State Department of Health (DOH) is investigating reports of people in the state who tested positive for COVID-19 more than two weeks after being fully vaccinated. Scientists call these “vaccine breakthrough” cases, which are expected with any vaccine. “It is important to remember that every vaccine on the market right now prevents severe disease and death in most cases,” said Dr. Umair A. Shah, Secretary of Health. “People should still get vaccinated as soon as they are eligible, and encourage friends, loved ones, and co-workers to do the same. Finding evidence of vaccine breakthrough cases reminds us that, even if you have been vaccinated, you still need to wear a mask, practice socially distancing, and wash your hands to prevent spreading COVID-19 to others who have not been vaccinated,” said Secretary Shah. https://www.doh.wa.gov/Newsroom/Articles/ID/2720/Cases-of-COVID-19-vaccine-breakthrough-confirmed-in-Washington-state
Cassie Sauer, president of the Washington State Hospital Association, says it’s important to protect those most at-risk, but that it’s also tough to ignore that rises in case counts can be traced back to younger populations not yet eligible for the vaccine. “The states that are seeing an uptick are seeing transmission fueled by people in that 25, 30, 35 age range — they’re not eligible but they’re spreading it,” she said. https://www.kiro7.com/news/local/washington-hospital-leaders-not-opening-up-vaccine-eligibility-could-be-fueling-rise-cases/MO5U63LNZBDLLNNJC3QHAS2NS4
Lives Well Lived, a new series by Vashon Heritage Museum (VHM) and Vashon Community Care (VCC), will host a talk entitled The Vashon Model: A Community-based Response to COVID, on Thursday April 8 at 7pm. Well-known island writer and radio personality Susan McCabe will moderate the discussion between doctors James Bristow, Ina Opplinger, Clayton Olney, and Jinna Risdal from Vashon Medical Reserve Corps, all of whom are key players in Vashon’s nationally-recognized response to the COVID pandemic. To register for the free Zoom event, go to http://bit.ly/liveswelllived
Vashon Hwy SW CLOSED at Judd Creek Bridge (South of SW Quartermaster Drive) – April 5 until April 28. Starting as soon as 8 a.m. on Monday, April 5 through 8 a.m. Wednesday, April 28, both directions of Vashon Highway SW at Judd Creek between SW 227th Street and SW 225th Street (just south of SW Quartermaster Dr.) will be fully closed around the clock for Judd Creek Bridge repairs. Local access to homes and businesses north and south of the Judd Creek Bridge will be maintained throughout construction. A signed detour will direct through traffic off of Vashon Highway SW between SW Burton Drive and SW 204th Street. View the detour and get more information on the project website: http://Kingcounty.gov/JuddCreekBridge
Special enrollment period for health insurance has again been extended through August 15 for people who are uninsured. Anyone who doesn’t have health insurance can buy a plan directly from an insurer or through the Washington Health Benefit Exchange. If you buy a plan through the Exchange, you may qualify for federal help paying your premium; additional funding is now available to subsidize health coverage, even eliminating premium payments for some. https://www.wahealthplanfinder.org
If you lost your health insurance or had a reduction in income you may now qualify for the free Apple Health Insurance. Public Health – Seattle & King County is offering to assist people signing up for health insurance plans, including Apple Health, as well as SNAP (food stamps) and Orca Lift transit cards. Contact Miguel Urquiza directly at 206-491-3761 (cell) or 206-477-6965 or email email@example.com. Miguel speaks Spanish and helps Vashon residents access health-related resources.
Washington State DOH has released a report of COVID-19 outbreaks in Washington state K-12 schools. The report covers the period between Aug. 1, 2020, and Feb. 28, 2021, where 134 COVID-19 outbreaks and 526 COVID-19 cases in K-12 schools were reported to DOH. For the full report visit https://www.doh.wa.gov/Portals/1/Documents/1600/coronavirus/data-tables/420-312-K12SchoolsOutbreakReport.pdf
Progress on Community Support Operations:
Emergency Operations Center (EOC): Four operational priorities were put in place for Vashon’s pandemic emergency response shortly after our activation 55 weeks ago. Those four priorities, established by the Incident Commander Fire Chief Charlie Krimmert, and approved by the VashonBePrepared Board, continue to be health, food security, housing security and economic recovery.
Medical Reserve Corps/EOC: Much effort has gone this week into testing and contact tracing for the Casa Bonita restaurant case, including public information support. In addition, support work continues for the School District, as they deal with followup for the outbreak that emerged a week ago. To that end, a meeting was held this morning with an MRC/EOC team in anticipation of classroom teaching resumption that will follow the spring break. The drive-through vaccination site has been near capacity each day this week, thanks to two significant shipments of vaccine that arrived early in the week.
COVID-19 Testing: The Vashon MRC testing site performed its 3,000th test today.
Community Engagement: In anticipation of improving vaccine availability in the next few months, work has started crafting a public education campaign to address vaccine hesitancy with accurate information and scientific data.
Economic Recovery: The EOC has started work with our Chamber of Commerce partner on a new economic recovery campaign to support Vashon’s businesses and, by extension, the employees and owners of those businesses.
Acknowledgements: The COVID response operations groups thank Mukai Farm and Garden and Open Space for Arts & Community for making our COVID-19 testing program possible. Mukai provided the original space for the COVID-19 testing operation beginning in April, 2020. Open Space picked up the load in mid-May last year, and continues to provide space for the testing program. We will be listing support acknowledgements like these in this space weekly, a recognition that emergency response is a team sport on Vashon Island.
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