The Overview: Despite some challenges, vaccination has been available on the island each day this week from at least one of the island's two active vaccination providers. There should be at least 1,000 first doses of vaccine available next week, in addition to vaccine to cover the necessary second dose requirements. Vaccination eligibility extended this week to everyone age 16 years or older, but patience will be required until vaccine supplies begin flowing more consistently. This could be a particular challenge going forward now that the Johnson & Johnson vaccine has been put on hold and expected additional supplies will not be coming to the state.
Vashon Pharmacy: The drive-through site had two scheduled days this week, and plans to operate at least four days next week. Initially, it appeared that the Pharmacy would be without new first dose supplies next week after the state Department of Health denied the Pharmacy’s request. However, the so-called “direct to pharmacy” program through the store’s regular prescription drug supplier has come through. The Pharmacy will have a full allocation of Pfizer vaccine next week, and expects to open the appointment signup online on Monday evening. Watch for an alert from the Voice of Vashon Emergency Alert System to confirm the day and time of appointment signups.
It is important to note that first dose allocations are being denied by the state Department of Health because Vashon Island is the most vaccinated of all the areas of King County being tracked by Public Health. More than two-thirds of Vashon residents aged 16 or older have been vaccinated, according to the county data dashboard. That is ten points better than the second-place community area. Other areas are more than 20 points below Vashon's vaccination level. On general principles, in an emergency, resources are allocated to areas where they are most needed. For example, south King County communities such as Auburn, Kent, and Federal Way are only at 43% vaccinated.
Sea Mar: The Sunrise Ridge clinic held walk-up vaccination clinics every day this week, no appointment required. At this writing, the clinic does not yet have a sense of vaccine availability next week. Check day-to-day availability at https://seamar.org/covid-vaccine. Sea Mar has set aside vaccine for all currently booked second dose appointments. Sea Mar asks that you not show up any earlier than 6:00am. Arriving patients are registered and given a place in line for the day. To avoid long outdoor wait times, when patients are registered they are given a time to come back, or they are asked to wait in their cars until they receive a phone call to come into the clinic to have their vaccine administered.
Vaccination of Young People: There are two availability items regarding those aged 16, 17 and 18.
- Plans are under way to hold vaccination days at the high school. Pre-registration will be required to make the injection days go smoothly, and to get the necessary parental consent for 16 and 17 year olds. Vashon Pharmacy will supply the vaccine. The Pharmacy and Medical Reserve Corps will supply the vaccinators and post-shot observers, working closely with the school nursing staff. The high school vaccination days are in addition to the options already in place for 16 through 18 year olds. Any provider offering Pfizer vaccine will be able to vaccinate all people ages 16 and above.
- A protocol has been established at the Vashon Pharmacy drive-through site to maintain safety when young people are being vaccinated. People 21 years and younger are more prone to fainting than other age groups, so the normal drive-through process was modified so they would not be in the driver's seat after vaccination. Keep in mind that 16 and 17 year olds must have parental consent. All those 21 and under who drive themselves will not be vaccinated in their cars, but will be seated in a designated area for their vaccination. If they are in a car with a driver, they can be vaccinated in the passenger seat.
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:
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 4/16/21:*
- 113 confirmed positive cases, 0 new cases since last Situation Report on Tuesday
- Date of last positive test: April 7
- 0 new positives in past 7 days and 1 new positive 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 4/16/21:*
- 93,046 confirmed positive cases, 1,244 new since last Situation Report on Tuesday
- 1,493 deaths, 8 new since last Situation Report on Tuesday
Washington State COVID-19 Case Count as of 4/15/21:*
- 383,894 confirmed positive cases, 4,838 new since last Situation Report Tuesday
- 5,380 deaths, 40 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
Testing is still a critical tool in the battle against 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 with a possibly infected person, 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.
“It’s really important that anyone who has cough, fever, sniffles, or other flu type symptoms call our hotline to be screened and scheduled for a test,” urged Dr. Jim Bristow, Medical Reserve Corps lead for the island’s COVID-19 testing and tracing operation. If you have any symptoms, especially respiratory symptoms, get screened by calling the MRC testing team at (844) 469-4554, whether or not you have been vaccinated. There is no cost for testing at the MRC site, even for those with no insurance. Vashon residents who receive a positive test off-island can also call this number for assistance in letting contacts know and accessing quarantine recommendations and support.
New Developments since Last Report:
The Washington State Department of Health (DOH) is reporting a total of 217 COVID-19 vaccine breakthrough cases among 1.7 million fully vaccinated individuals in Washington State. Vaccine breakthrough occurs when a person tests positive for COVID-19 two weeks or more after receiving the full course of an approved COVID-19 vaccine. Large-scale clinical studies found that COVID-19 vaccines prevented most people from getting COVID-19 illness. However, the vaccines are not 100% effective. This means a very small number of fully vaccinated people will still get sick with COVID-19; these cases are mostly mild. Scientists note that breakthroughs are expected with any vaccine. In the case of COVID-19 vaccines, none of the approved vaccines are more than 95% effective, leaving room for the breakthroughs even for fully vaccinated people.. "Finding evidence of vaccine breakthrough cases reminds us that, even if you have been vaccinated, you still need to wear a mask, practice social distancing, and wash your hands to prevent spreading COVID-19 to others who have not been vaccinated," said Dr. Umair A. Shah, Secretary of Health. https://www.doh.wa.gov/Newsroom/Articles/ID/2740/Update-on-vaccine-breakthrough-cases-in-Washington-state
Justice Department warns about fake post-vaccine survey scams. Consumers are receiving requests via email and text message to take a bogus COVID-19 survey, promising cash or free gift – such as an iPad Pro – for doing it. In reality, the survey is designed to steal your personal information in order to commit identity theft, the Justice Department warns. That’s because you’re required to pay shipping and handling to get your free prize. The Justice Department cautions “You should never click on links in text messages or email unless you expected that communication, and are certain you know who sent it.” https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/justice-department-warns-about-fake-post-vaccine-survey-scams
How to spot a restaurant that’s following the right practices to maximize your safety. Many of the COVID-19 safeguards required for food and beverage businesses are designed to minimize how much air we share. That’s why a restaurant allows fewer people inside, why everyone who isn’t eating or drinking should wear a mask, and why good airflow and ventilation is the top priority indoors. Public Health – Seattle & King County has posted food service guidelines to allow customers to make informed choices about safety where they eat. The site provides required safety practices and examples of how you will know they are followed by the establishment. Visit: https://publichealthinsider.com/2021/04/15/dining-during-covid-how-to-spot-signs-that-a-restaurant-is-doing-it-right
Regular cleaning is usually enough to keep you from catching COVID-19 from surfaces. New research suggests that the risk of getting sick this way is actually pretty low with the right precautions. Cleaning doesn’t kill germs, but it washes them away and lowers your risk of getting sick. DOH suggests you use soap, water, and a tightly woven cloth; choose a soap without fragrances or dyes; and frequently clean surfaces that are dirty or touched often. Disinfecting procedures are an extra degree of prevention that kill germs left on surfaces even after cleaning. You should disinfect if someone in your home is sick or tested positive for COVID-19 in the past 24 hours. https://medium.com/wadepthealth/safer-spring-cleaning-for-covid-19-and-beyond-f10962c9d74f
Public Health – Seattle & King County is hosting a community event, “COVID Vaccines: A Community Conversation,” on Thursday April 29, from 5 to 6:30pm. Community members can learn more about COVID vaccines, ask questions, and hopefully gain confidence in vaccination. Medical and health panelists will share their own reasons for getting vaccinated, address common concerns, and discuss how to talk with hesitant friends and family. The Zoom link is: https://kingcounty.zoom.us/j/91748415135#success. Simultaneous translation in Spanish, Somali, Vietnamese, and Russian, as well as ASL interpretation and live captioning will be available.
Has COVID-19 made you feel symptoms of trauma, anxiety, or depression? Maybe it is time to try yoga. The DOVE Project is hosting ReGrowing Our Wings: Yoga for People Healing from Trauma. The four-week program, led by Deborah King, will run Thursdays from April 22 to May 13, from 5 to 6:30pm. To register, email Nyn Grey at email@example.com.
If you missed the streaming conversation The Vashon Model: A Community-based Response to COVID, it is now posted on the Vashon Heritage Museum’s website. The discussion between doctors James Bristow, Ina Opplinger, Clayton Olney, and Jinna Risdal from the Vashon Medical Reserve Corps, all of whom are key players in Vashon’s nationally-recognized response to the COVID pandemic, can be viewed at https://vashonheritagemuseum.org/event/vashon-model
State Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI), Chris Reykdal, has announced students will not take the Smarter Balanced Assessments or the Washington Comprehensive Assessment of Science this spring. OSPI will continue to use locally determined assessments that his department believes are more informative and actionable measures of student learning, as school districts prepare for next school year and beyond. https://content.govdelivery.com/accounts/WAOSPI/bulletins/2cce418
Public Health – Seattle & King County has updated all sections of its COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions website to reflect updated information and guidance. The site is a source for information on virus, vaccine and response questions. It also provides links or contact information for more assistance to safely get through the pandemic. Visit: https://www.kingcounty.gov/depts/health/covid-19/FAQ.aspx
Progress on Community Support Operations:
Emergency Operations Center (EOC): Four operational priorities -- health, food security, housing security and economic recovery -- were put in place for Vashon's pandemic emergency response shortly after our activation over 57 weeks ago. The four priorities were established by the Incident Commander Fire Chief Charlie Krimmert, and approved by the VashonBePrepared Board.
School District/EOC/MRC: Work continued this week in two areas of support for Vashon Island School District.
- The District Superintendent agreed this week to proceed with plans for COVID-19 vaccinations to be offered at the high school for 16, 17 and 18 year olds. This initiative will provide rapid, highly efficient vaccination for an estimated 200 people by the MRC, CERT and Vashon Pharmacy program, rather than having the patients come one-by-one to the drive-through vaccination site.
- MRC has connected the School District with a state-sponsored COVID-19 surveillance testing pilot program. The opportunity involves the laboratory that provides services for the MRC testing site. The test protocol utilizes pooled testing as an efficient way to test large numbers of people with less logistical effort than one-by-one testing. Pooled testing in this case would sample groups of 20 patients for one lab analysis, thereby getting large numbers of people tested. If one of the pooled samples shows an infection, then each of the 20 patients in that group would be individually tested. The technique has been shown to be very effective in use in large groups of people, such as school settings, where surveillance can help prevent spread of COVID-19.
Vax Access: The focus continues on making vaccinations accessible to those who face significant barriers to access. A round of vaccinations has been provided to homebound individuals, and there has been significant success in reaching Spanish speakers who need assistance. Spanish language interpretation is being provided on days when Latinx patients have been concentrated in the drive-through site appointment system.
Vashon COVID Relief Fund: Disbursements are being prepared for April for funding to island nonprofit organizations that partner with VashonBePrepared to provide food security, housing security, social services, and economic recovery assistance to respond to the pandemic emergency. The disbursements, to be finalized next week, will total about $45,000 this month. The Relief Fund grew out of public donations, which have been replenished by federal reimbursements arranged through support from King County Office of Emergency Management, VIFR, and FEMA. This will be the 15th round of funding since the Relief Fund was established, soon after the pandemic emergency was declared on Vashon.
Economic Recovery: The VashonBePrepared Executive Committee signed off this week on Relief Fund support for the new Chamber of Commerce economic recovery program called This Is Vashon. The multi-dimensional program includes centralized marketing of island businesses through a business directory and website, along with webinars and other consultation support to help island businesses in areas such as advertising, COVID safety, licensing and permitting, business strategy, and business law.
Acknowledgements: This week we give special thanks to two businesses who have been essential to our emergency response during the pandemic. The island's two hardware and building materials supply stores have been essential partners for both of our outdoors operations -- the testing site and the drive-through vaccination site. So, thanks to Doug Snyder at Ace Hardware Service Center for help with tent rentals, and thanks to Steve Snyder at Island Home Center and Lumber, for help sourcing the many materials needed.