Summary for August 14, 2020

  • In this section we are providing a M-W-F summary of the current changes in the Situation Report.  For a PDF of the full Situation Report click on the link to the right. To receive these daily updates via email, sign up for alerts here or view email version here. See archived items in the PDF section to the right on this Situation Report page.

Current Virus Statistics: 

Vashon Island COVID-19 Case Count as of 8/14/20:

  •         1,574 COVID-19 tests reported, 85 additional tests since last Situation Report Wed
  •         12 confirmed COVID-19 cases, 0 new cases since last Situation Report on Wednesday
  •          Date of last positive test: August 11 
  •          1 person had been hospitalized. Date of last hospitalization: April 10
  •          0 Vashon deaths

King County COVID-19 Case Count as of 8/14/20:

  •          17,340 confirmed positive cases, 530 new since last Situation Report on Wednesday
  •          686 deaths, 7 new since last Situation Report on Wednesday

Washington State COVID-19 Case Count as of 8/12/20:

  •          65,339 confirmed positive cases, 1,188 new since last Situation Report on Wednesday
  •          1,736 deaths, 20 new since last Situation Report on Wednesday

Note: The state Department of Health reports ongoing challenges with producing accurate COVID-19 data. Among the several issues has been a statewide electronic disease-surveillance system that wasn’t set up to handle the historic flood of data that’s been produced by this pandemic. Vashon EOC has been working with Public Health -- Seattle & King County (PHSKC) to improve local data reporting, aside from the state Department of Health challenges. For example, earlier this week the total positive test count for Vashon went up to 13 since the pandemic record keeping began but yesterday the total slipped back down to 12 positives. So far, there has been no explanation for the fluctuation.

    Health Tip of the Day:

      Safety Violations: There have recently been multiple reports on Vashon of large group gatherings that violate the current pandemic safety laws and guidelines, including a large wedding reception with live entertainment this past weekend.  These laws and guidance are in place for everyone’s safety.  Those contacting the EOC about the incidents have wanted to know how they can report these kinds of problems.  The EOC has no authority to enforce compliance and the King County Sheriffs are not enforcing the guidelines.  If you suspect violations of the Governor’s orders, you can try calling the COVID help line for Public Health -- Seattle & King County at 206-296-1608.or fill out the form at https://coronavirus.wa.gov/report-safe-start-violation.

   New Developments since Last Report: 

      Vashon Island School District (VISD) board members last night voted to approve a reopening plan that includes 24 academic and other requirements that must be met.  The details for implementing each requirement, which are still under development, will be documented in more detail over the next few weeks in order to get schools and families ready for the new school year.  Distance Learning 2.0 improvements to VISD’s distance learning model stemmed from family survey responses as well as guidance from the VISD Reopening Team.  The aim was to improve the distance learning program that had to be put together on very short notice in the spring when the pandemic hit. You can read the Distance Learning 2.0 Guide at https://docs.google.com/document/d/1ngsZUk2ofSFdZcjo829ofaHSdT8Yo-pWVg8AqKL9m78/edit  

·       National Weather Service warns of rapid warming this weekend.  Daytime highs Sunday will likely reach levels in the mid to upper 90’s on Vashon.  That temperature poses a moderate to high risk of heat-related illness/impacts, especially to sensitive groups, including those without effective air conditioning or not drinking enough water. The Weather Service warns that hot weather increases risk to children and pets left unattended in hot vehicles or outdoors.  

·       The national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says a new study shows we are headed for a mental health crisis, a significant consequence of the pandemic. The new CDC survey found that more than 40% of respondents are struggling with mental health issues -- the result of stress from the threat of the disease and also the measures designed to prevent its spread. Respondents to the study identified anxiety, depression, mental trauma and substance abuse. Eleven percent reported they had seriously considered suicide in the last 30 days. For more information: https://www.cnn.com/2020/08/13/health/mental-health-coronavirus-pandemic-cdc-study-wellness/index.html

·       The Vashon expert that has been helping workers get unemployment benefits reports that 14% of island workers -- 684 people -- are currently still out of work. At the peak, about 1,000 people were on unemployment in a given week -- a number that fluctuates as workers pick up temporary or intermittent work and fall in and out of the unemployment benefits rolls. Over time, since the pandemic began, more than 1,400 people have at some point filed for unemployment benefits.  If you need help filing for unemployment, the Chamber of Commerce Ask the Expert person will consult with you on options. Email deborah@vashonbeprepared.org or call (206) 200-3236. To date, since the pandemic began, she has done more than 700 consultations with workers.  

·       The Vashon Chamber of Commerce has completed its third survey of impacts on island businesses since the pandemic hit. About 40% of the responding businesses reported they have lost more than half their normal revenue and many said they had lost all revenue.  The same percentage expected to have difficulty paying their bills in August or beyond. More than one-fourth of businesses have furloughed or laid off employees and an equal number said they had reduced hours for employees. Many of the businesses reported that they have been offering alternative services in light of the pandemic, with about one-fourth saying they had started selling online. More than 85% of the responding businesses reported that they have been complying with requirements for masks and six-foot separation for both employees and customers.  

·       King County Library System – Vashon will offer free books for youths (from baby to grade 12), in Spanish and English, at Picnics To Go on Wednesday 8/19.  On Friday 8/21 librarians will be driving behind the food bank's delivery school bus to hand out books.  Also at Picnics To Go Vashon Library "Take and Make" craft kits will be available daily, with video instructions also available online, as part of a virtual classroom they're creating with Vashon-specific content.  Future plans for the Library include an online preschool and baby story times in September. 

·      King County Library System – Vashon has announced a relaunch of their Welcoming Center for immigrants and refugees.  Along with ESL and citizenship support, there will be a forum for connecting to resources and assistance.  Staff who are monitoring the site are fluent in Spanish, Chinese, and Somali.  https://kcls.org/welcoming-center

·       King County Library System and Seattle Public Library have partnered to provide Job Search assistance.  Get free bilingual one-on-one help with your job and unemployment questions by phone, online or text messaging.  They can assist with basic technology skills, get you started with unemployment, help you learn new skills or apply for your next job. Visit http://1.kcls.org/YourNextJob   

·       A new Immigrant Relief Fund was announced by Gov. Inslee, to provide $40 million to assist Washington residents who are unable to access federal stimulus programs due to their immigration status because of the public charge issue.  “We have to ensure that no one in our state is left behind as we fight this pandemic,” Inslee said. “COVID-19 doesn’t care what your immigration status is. We must support every family affected by the virus, especially those who lack the necessary means to quarantine or isolate and prevent further spread. This is the right thing for the well-being of individuals, the health of their colleagues and the safety of our communities.” https://www.governor.wa.gov/news-media/inslee-announces-relief-funds-help-immigrants-and-agricultural-workers    

·       Gov. Inslee announced a new stimulus program called Food Production Paid Leave Program which will provide a $3 million fund to cover paid leave for certain food production workers who remain home when ill.  The program will go into effect on 8/18/20.  https://www.governor.wa.gov/news-media/inslee-issues-proclamation-washington-covid-19-food-production-paid-leave-program 
Progress on Community Support Operations

Emergency Operations Center (EOC): It has been 22 weeks and 2 days since our EOC activated on March 12.We are operating at the Maintenance & Monitoring level and are basing resource decisions primarily on the top three operational priorities set by the VashonBePrepared Board of Directors: health, food and shelter.

COVID-19 Testing Program: The community team running our island testing program has been averaging 50 to 60 tests per week over the past month. On any given day, three Medical Reserve Corps (MRC) volunteers are working alongside three Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) volunteers to manage the testing and the flow of patients in and out of the site. As demand requires, the operation can take test samples from 25 patients in the normal 1 1/2 hour daily appointment window. The shift to a new lab about a month ago has been a success, generally with results being reported to patients within 48 hours (except over the weekend). The testing unit is working on contingency planning for surge capacity testing should we have a major outbreak on Vashon. Roughly two-thirds of all tests of Vashon residents are conducted by the site. To be screened for a doctor’s order, or to make an appointment if you have a doctor’s order, call (844) 469-4554.

Economic Recovery: Two important new streams of data on business and employment have become available to the EOC, thanks to our partnership with the Chamber of Commerce. The Chamber has completed a comprehensive survey of the state of business recovery on the island. In addition, the Chamber's Ask the Expert specialist in unemployed worker support has tapped into a source for more precise zip code level data on how our workers have been doing the last five months. The data from these two sources will help the EOC recommend allocation of resources going forward. There's more information on both data results in the New Developments section of this report.

Vashon COVID Relief Fund: EOC staff have interviewed more than a dozen of the island social service agencies over the last week in order to search out any immediate and severe funding gaps given the uncertainty of any new federal pandemic relief package. The assessment will help the EOC recommend where to go from here with Relief Fund disbursements, given the limited remaining funds. The Relief Fund ran dry in the first week of August but a very generous anonymous donor has contributed an additional $50,000, doubling that particular household's original donation.

Community Engagement/Community Care Team: A team has been working on a community campaign to address the coming mental health crisis, which is expected to intensify when the pandemic stress goes into its sixth month in September (see related item in New Developments section). The team met today to work on the plans for the campaign, including outreach to community partners as well as public awareness about a suicide prevention concept called LEARN.

School Reopening: A task force of School District and EOC staff have identified half a dozen concepts for further study to extend Chautauqua Elementary School classrooms to the outdoors using tents or similar structures. A technical, logistics and academic team meets again on Monday to flesh out the concepts and make lists of questions and issues that need to be analyzed. Each of the concepts will be analyzed against two scenarios. One scenario for the very first days of the impending reopening of school might provide safe outdoor space for very small groups of children with particular needs for in-person teaching, although the schools as a whole will be going back with online virtual teaching only. The second scenario would aim to be ready for service for much more in-person teaching, when King County moves to Phase 3.

Items from Previous Situation Reports:

PDF Archive of items before August 1 here

Governor. Inslee has announced a phased plan for reopening long-term care facilities to visitation. The care facility phases are not the same phases as the Safe Start county-by-county reopening plan.  Effective next week, long-term care facilities that have gone 28 days without a positive test in the facility will be eligible to allow visitations.Among many other detailed requirements, facilities will be required to have on hand at least a 14 day supply of personal protective equipment as well as maintaining a consistent testing program for residents and staff. In the first phase, which is essentially all of the long-term care facilities at the moment, the plan would allow compassionate care visits, window visits, remote visits, and outdoor visits that are limited to two a day.  Regardless of their reopening phase, facilities must continue to practice social distancing, universal masking, and other COVID-19 safety measures. For information on other phases visit https://medium.com/wagovernor/inslee-announces-guidance-for-long-term-care-facilities-fe43b2183495(8/7/20)

Vashon Community Care Executive Director Wendy Kleppe described the Governor’s announcement as a first step, but said many details must be handled and the Governor's final proclamation will not be released until Monday, August 10th. So, visitation is still prohibited at VCC until everything is final and VCC has taken the required steps. "The Governor’s announcement contained many mandates and requirements that must be met by each building before visitors can be allowed,” Kleepe stated.While the announcement did talk through criteria for visitation, the new proclamation will not be final until Monday. As Long Term Care Providers we all have been privy to a lengthy document outlining the stringent criteria and regulations around what 're-opening' means.There are several criteria that MUST be met at each phase for each building before we can allow visitation." (8/7/20)

Vashon's artists get national coverage for COVID-19 performance art that makes a point. Three Vashon performance art projects have been featured in Newsweek and on the widely read BoingBoing.com blog. (https://boingboing.net/2020/08/06/island-community-uses-quirky.html) The projects include the big red coat at the ferry dock encouraging mask use, the van with its own oversized mask leading the EOC delegation in the July 4th Pop-Up Parade, and the giant nose and swab uptown spreading the word about on-island testing. Both articles expanded on the VashonBePrepared and EOC Team efforts and linked to the New York Times (https://www.nytimes.com/2020/05/16/health/coronavirus-vashon-washington.html?referringSource=articleShare) article about the Vashon Medical Reserve Corps’ island testing program.Red coat artist Mik Kuhlman talked about worries that island visitors might bring COVID-19 and spoil the island’s low infection rate record: ""We're not in normal times, we're in a pandemic. And we're not asking you to not enjoy our beaches, but if you're going to come in and shop, if you're going to come into any of our places, be aware that there is a possibility that you're bringing the virus with you," Masked van artist Michelle Bates said: "We are all very concerned about safety for our community and for everyone around the globe, and realized quickly that pieces like this could not only get the word out to locals who stumbled on them, but that their images would be a way to share the word about masking and safety and concern for those around you to a wider audience, through the joy and magic of art."(8/7/20)

More details have been published on Governor Inslee’s recommendations for resuming in-person instruction in public and private K-12 schools for the upcoming 2020-2021 school year. Similar to the state’s county-by-county phased approach to reopening, the plan allows local health departments and school districts to decide if and how they will allow students back in the classroom.

    Plan Summary: https://medium.com/wagovernor/inslee-announces-education-recommendations-for-2020-2021-school-year-4d510fe16f4

    Decision Tree: https://www.doh.wa.gov/Portals/1/Documents/1600/coronavirus/DecisionTree-K12schools.pdf

    Full list of counties and their risk status: https://www.governor.wa.gov/sites/default/files/Cases%20per%20100K%20over%2014%20days%20by%20county%20August%204.pdf(8/7/20)

    The EOC Unemployed Worker Branch conducted 653 consultation sessions to date to help islanders file unemployment applications to the state Employment Security Department (ESD).To access this free assistance for obtaining unemployment benefits, email deborah@vashonbeprepared.org or call (206) 200-3236.(8/7//20)

    A CDC study found that 15 individuals from Arizona and New Mexico were hospitalized for methanol poisoning in May and June after ingesting hand sanitizer.Hand sanitizer should contain at least 60% ethanol or 70% isopropyl alcohol to be effective, but it should not contain methanol, which can be toxic to humans. The FDA is closely monitoring hand sanitizers, and it has generated a list of unsafe products and issued numerous orders to stop production and recall unsafe products. The current list includes 115 products, added between July 2 and August 3, including more than 100 that contain methanol or were produced at facilities that made other products contaminated with methanol. Methanol can be absorbed through the skin, but methanol poisoning via this route of exposure is relatively rare. Unsafe product list at https://www.fda.gov/drugs/drug-safety-and-availability/fda-updates-hand-sanitizers-consumers-should-not-use#products(8/7/20)

  • Gov. Inslee today announced a framework for opening Washington schools based on pandemic risk level in each county. Risk being defined as number of new cases per 100,000 over a two week period.King County, including Vashon, joins most Washington counties in the high risk group. For the high risk counties, the Governor and the state’s top education and health officials recommended remote or distance learning, saying classroom learnings would be unsafe given the rate of community spread.All after school and extracurricular sports and activities are recommended to be cancelled. Any group or in-person learning is still subject to the health requirements previously announced.Inslee also has made $8.8 million available for high speed internet and other programs to assist with online learning. (8/5/20)
  • Anticipating today’s statement by the Governor, Vashon Island School District has already been planning steps to ensure they provide an improved online learning approach -- Distance Learning 2.0 – compared to the one rolled out on very short notice in March. More details on VISD plans will be announced over the next couple weeks. As a start, VISD will hold a Reopening Schools Family Q&A via Zoom on August 10th from 6:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m. The Zoom program will be recorded and shared afterward for those who are unable to attend.To attend go to https://zoom.us/j/95407814012. (8/5/20)

    If you lost your health insurance or had a reduction in income you may now qualify for the free Apple Health Insurance. King County Public Health is offering to assist people signing up for Health Insurance including Apple Health, Food Stamps and Orca Lift cards. Contact Miguel Urquiza directly at 206-491-3761 (cell) or 206-477-6965 or email miguel.urquiza@kingcounty.gov.Miguel speaks Spanish and had been helping Vashon residents on Island until the coronavirus. (8/5/20)

    Also, on Vashon the Brown Agency offers free health insurance consultation and assistance for the Chamber of Commerce Ask the Expert program. Call 206.567.4600, or visit Washington Health Plans at www.wahealthplanfinder.org. (8/5/20)

    The Washington Employment Security Department (ESD) announced it has resolved all claims included in the Operation 100% initiative. These include all individuals who had applied between March 8 and June 18 who had yet to receive payment and needed ESD to take action to resolve their claims. Additionally, ESD launched a new benefits data dashboard to report information about payments, the claimant population, status of claims processing and more. This dashboard, which will be updated weekly, will allow the public to stay up to speed on the status, progress and performance of benefits claims and processing as the pandemic continues. https://esd.wa.gov/unemployment/dashboard (8/5/20)

    The Washington State Department of Commerce is distributing approximately $100 million in state Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act funding through its existing network of homeless services grantees and organizations serving homeless youth to operate a new rent assistance program launched Aug. 1. The program will focus on preventing evictions by paying up to three months of past due, current and future rent to landlords for eligible participants. https://www.commerce.wa.gov/serving-communities/homelessness/ (8/5/20)

    Clarifications for Phase 2 indoor fitness guidance have been posted by Gov. Inslee as part of Washington's Safe Start phased reopening plan.The updates cover indoor fitness facility guidance such as facial coverings requirements in indoor fitness facilities, changes to capacity limits for groups, and requirements for one-on-one fitness training.Full guidance at https://www.governor.wa.gov/sites/default/files/COVID19Phase2FitnessGuidelines.pdf? (8/5/20)

    Vashon Heritage Museum is offering a Zoom webinar titled Virginia V: Restoring a 100 year old Ship to Glory, presented by Greg Beardsley.Due to the pandemic the annual round-the-Island cruse will not be offered this year.The talk will cover the Steamship Virginia V., part of the Mosquito Fleet, from her launch to the years of fundraising and restoration work to bring her back to life.In 2021, the Virginia V will celebrate 100 years of service. Friday, August 7th at 1:00 PM via zoom webinar. Click HERE to register for the free webinar. (8/5/20)

  • Fire Chief Charlie Krimmert, Incident Commander of the island's pandemic response activation, reacted today to the series of new COVID-19 cases on the island. "In less than 30 days, we have added five cases. In just one month, we equaled the number of cases in the entire first four months of our activation, That's a very troubling trend." Chief Krimmert cautioned islanders that COVID-19 is all around us and this is no time to let down our guard. "Nobody wants family or neighbors to get sick, especially when it is so easy to take the steps to stay safe. We all know what to do by now. Keep your distance. Wash hands frequently. Wear a mask if you must go out." (8/3/20)

    Pandemic spreading into rural areas, like Vashon. "To everybody who lives in a rural area, you are not immune or protected from this virus," Dr. Deborah Birx, the White House coronavirus task force coordinator, said in a CNN interview."What we are seeing today is different from March and April. It is extraordinarily widespread. It's into the rural as equal urban areas.”Birx stressed that Americans need to follow health recommendations, including wearing a mask and practicing social distancing.She said "If you're in multi-generational households, and there's an outbreak in your rural area or in your city, you need to really consider wearing a mask at home, assuming that you're positive, if you have individuals in your households with comorbidities." (8/3/20)

    Gov. Inslee has announced that job search requirements for filing unemployment will remain suspended through Sept. 1. This means the soonest claimants will be required to actively seek work is Sept. 6. You can continue to answer “no” to the job search question on your weekly claim until the suspension is lifted. https://www.governor.wa.gov/sites/default/files/proclamations/20-30.6%20-%20COVID-19%20Job%20Search%20%28tmp%29.pdf? (8/3/20)

    Additionally, Gov. Inslee has extended the moratorium on service disconnects and late fees through Sept. 1 for all energy, landline telephone and water utilities. If you need help with Food, Housing and Utilities Support, visit https://coronavirus.wa.gov/information-for/you-and-your-family (8/3/20)

    Gov. Jay Inslee announced clarification to the recent rollback guidance for restaurants, taverns, breweries, wineries and distilleries.The changes include clarification about which establishments can offer indoor seating, temporary outdoor seating and counter-style seating.https://www.governor.wa.gov/sites/default/files/Memo%20SafeStart%20Changes%207.28.pdf?(8/3/20)

    Washington's Safe Start phased reopening plan guidance for overnight group summer camps have been released.For Phase 2 areas, which includes King County and Vashon, regular operation with individual campers is not permitted. Camp operations are limited to household cohort group camping. Members of a single household may occupy a sleeping cabin with a maximum of 10 people per household group.All meals must be eaten outdoors or provided as take out to be consumed in the household cabin.Full guidance at https://www.governor.wa.gov/sites/default/files/COVID19%20Phase%202-4%20Summer%20and%20Overnight%20Camp%20Guidance.pdf? (8/3/20)

    Situation Reports

    The Situational Awareness team of the Vashon Emergency Operations Center is tasked with monitoring the COVID-19 event and reporting relevant information and updates to the VashonBePrepared teams and public.

    Below you'll find links to PDF's of the full Vashon Situation Reports. As of June 29, 2020, they will be published Monday, Wednesday and Friday only.

    To the left we have posted the first three sections which contain the latest report updates.

    We update Voice of Vashon Alerts: Subscribe for email updates and check Vashon Emergency News for additional sources of regional emergency news.