Situation Report for January 19, 2021

  • In this section we are providing a summary of the current changes in the Situation Report on Tuesdays & Fridays. For a PDF of the full Situation Report click on the link to the right. To receive these updates via email, sign up at www.VoiceofVashon.org/alertsignup or view current 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 1/19/21:*

  • 94 confirmed positive COVID-19 cases, 0 new cases since last Situation Report on Friday
  • Date of last positive test: January 15
  • 1 new positives in past 7 days and 2 positives in the past 14 days  
  • 3 people have been hospitalized. Date of last hospitalization: December 28
  • 1 Vashon deaths on King County dashboard, last death reported 1/1/21, (1 Vashon death not yet posted)

King County COVID-19 Case Count as of 1/19/21:*

  • 72,600 confirmed positive cases, 1,369 new since last Situation Report on Friday
  • 1,185 deaths, 5 new since last Situation Report on Friday

Washington State COVID-19 Case Count as of 1/18/21:*

  • 291,989 confirmed positive cases, 6,019 new since last Situation Report on Friday
  • 3,940 deaths, 37 since last Situation Report on Friday

Data Lag: A data reporting lag continues on the official dashboard of pandemic statistics maintained by Public Health -- Seattle & King County. For example, although there have been two COVID-related deaths of Vashon residents to date, the PHSKC dashboard still shows only one death.

*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:

As the vaccine rollout advances, remember that mental health is critical during this long pandemic.  VashonBePrepared’s Community Care Team/Community Engagement Team has launched a mental health and resilience campaign,called Creating Strength.  You can receive each installment of the nine-week schedule of mental health tips and videos via email (VoiceOfVashon.org/AlertSignup)  or see them all at:  https://vashonbeprepared.org/creatingstrength.

Several emerging variants of the COVID-19 virus with evidence of increased transmissibility continue to raise alarms as they are identified in more countries. Viruses continually mutate, and the COVID-19 virus has evolved throughout the pandemic.  Researchers from the US CDC COVID-19 Response Team projected that the B.1.1.7 variant would contribute to a rapid growth in cases in the US early in 2021. The B.1.1.7 variant has been identified in 122 cases in 20 US states.  CDC officials projected that the B.1.1.7 variant is likely to become the dominant variant in the US. In order to avoid uncontrolled spread of this variant, health experts encourage individuals to recommit to recommended control measures such as mask wearing, physical distancing, and hand washing.   https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/70/wr/mm7003e2.htm

Vashon Vaccine Availability: 

Vashon Vaccine Availability Survey #5

Many Provider Options: When vaccine doses are more available, there will be three primary providers here on Vashon. They are Sea Mar clinic, Vashon Pharmacy, and Vashon Natural Medicine. In addition, mainland providers such as Kaiser, Multicare, Polyclinic, and CHI Franciscan are beginning to offer vaccinations according to the state Department of Health rollout schedule. Public Health -- Seattle & King County says it will be opening two vaccination sites in south King County in early February. Pharmacy chains such as CVS, Safeway Pharmacy, Walgreens and others are ramping up and promise vaccination availability soon.  

Vashon Pharmacy will open its high volume drive-through vaccination site on Thursday morning, January 21.  An appointment is absolutely mandatory. To make an appointment go to: VashonPharmacy.com/covid to be screened and get a time slot. If you do not have access to the internet, you can call during Pharmacy open hours to make an appointment: 206-463-9118 Option 9 (9am to 7pm).  It is important to understand that only a small number of vaccine doses are arriving at this early stage of the operation. Appointments will be available only for the known number of vaccine doses, and when those doses are reserved, no additional appointments will be available until new supplies are known to be on the way. The Pharmacy expects to open the calendar for each week on Monday mornings after the Pharmacy gets advance notice of how many doses it will receive for the week. The drive-through site will be accessible only through the south end of the alley between Vashon Theatre and Chase Bank, although there will be an option to make an appointment to arrive on foot if you do not have a vehicle.. Detailed instructions for where to go and what to do will be provided at the time an appointment is made. VashonBePrepared volunteers from the Emergency Operations (EOC) team, Medical Reserve Corps (MRC), and Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) are providing support for the vaccination site, including logistics, patient check-in, traffic direction, and required post-vaccination medical observation. The Pharmacy and the VashonBePrepared volunteers hope everyone will be patient with any glitches as procedures are refined during this startup period.  

Sea Mar clinic at Sunrise Ridge has a small number of vaccine doses, and has been reaching out to established patients to schedule appointments, initially on Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays. The Sea Mar clinic welcomes calls from the general public after 4:00pm each day (206-463-3671) on the possibility that a few vaccine doses might be available at the end of the normal vaccination schedule so leftover doses won't go to waste.  An appointment will be required. 

The other island clinic, Vashon Natural Medicine, also will be notifying established patients but has not yet received any vaccine.  

Washington State Department of Health has a vaccine tool to find out if you’re currently eligible or to be notified when it’s your turn.  If it’s your turn now, this new tool will provide you with a confirmation of eligibility that you can print or take a screenshot of on your mobile phone.  Although the current Vashon providers are not currently requiring it, some mainland providers will want you to present your confirmation of eligibility before innoculation.  The tool will also send you to a website to locate the vaccination sites near you and from there you can schedule an appointment.  Don’t worry, you won’t need to keep filling out the tool until you become eligible.  If you provide your email address or phone number, the site can send you a notification when it is your turn.  The tool is completely private and secure, none of your information will be shared. Visit: FindYourPhaseWA.org

VashonBePrepared has a web page for up-to-date vaccine information. Visit  https://vashonbeprepared.org/en-us/COVID-Vaccine   

Local COVID Activity:

Vashon Island School District was notified of a new positive COVID-19 case at Vashon High School. This positive case was not a result of any school program or activity.  The individual who tested positive is safely isolating at home.  Seattle King County Public Health and Vashon Medical Reserve Corps are informed and the close contacts of the individual were notified and advised as appropriate.  Anyone who has not been directly contacted but is concerned about possible exposure, should visit Washington State's Department of Health website at www.doh.wa.gov for guidance on “What to do if you were potentially exposed to someone with confirmed coronavirus disease (COVID-19).”   VISD is completing an investigation regarding the confirmed case.  In an abundance of caution, VISD is following our normal protocols and some staff will be getting tested and will remain in quarantine as directed by DOH guidelines. 

New Developments since Last Report:

Late Monday, Governor Inslee ordered an aggressive new initiative for ramping up the vaccination rate for Washington residents.  “This is a massive effort, and as noble as any cause will be in 2021: Because this is the year we choose to get vaccinated, Washington,” Inslee said during a press conference Monday.  “We are removing as many impediments as possible to Washingtonians getting vaccinated, we are going to deliver every dose that comes into our state.  We will still be dependent on the federal government for doses, but we are doing everything we can once it gets here.”  The plan included six initiatives: 

What does multigenerational household mean?  Some confusion has arisen over what the Department of Health means by multigenerational in the new eligibility criteria.  It is defined as a household where individuals from 2 or more generations live together.  People 50 years and older in a multigenerational (2 or more generations) household - These individuals would be at risk either due to:

  • Vulnerability – specifically, an older adult or elder who cannot live independently and is being cared for by a relative or in-home caregiver or being cared for by someone who works outside the home
  • Risk of exposure – specifically, an older adult or elder who is living with and taking care of kinship (along the lines of a grandparent with a grandchild)
  • This group does not include an older adult who is able to live independently and is taking care of the individual’s kinship/children.

    Visit: https://www.doh.wa.gov/Portals/1/Documents/1600/coronavirus/SummaryInterimVaccineAllocationPriortization-1-18-21.pdf  

Immediately Moving to Phase 1B-1, and opening up vaccine eligibility to age 65 and older, lowering the eligibility age by five years.

  • Setting a goal of administering 45,000 vaccine doses a day going forward, but it’s important to understand that the vaccine is still in short supply since the current federal government allocation to the state falls far short of the amount that would be needed to meet Inslee’s goal.
  • Establishing mass vaccination sites statewide for equitable distribution.  Initially, Four state sponsored sites will be set up in other parts of the state, such as Spokane.
  • Requiring vaccination partners to administer 95% of the supplied vaccine supply within one week of receipt.
  • Enhancing use of the FindYourPhaseWA.org tool
  • Establishing public/private partnerships with large stakeholders to take advantage of their existing strengths, which includes logistical coordination, allocation strategies, infrastructure support and development, and cross-organizational and agency operational communications.

For more information, visit: https://medium.com/wagovernor/inslee-announces-state-plan-for-widespread-vaccine-distribution-and-administration-62196dcf5ecf 

New vaccination progress dashboard launched by Public Health – Seattle & King County.  The dashboard is still in its initial stage and should have more data in the next couple weeks.  Of particular interest to islanders is that the data and demographics are available by zip code.  Updated daily Monday through Friday, the dashboard currently reports that as of January 19th a minimum of 180 islanders have received one or more doses.  This is a minimum number, as some delay in reporting is expected.  Visit the dashboard at  https://www.kingcounty.gov/depts/health/covid-19/data/vaccination.aspx  

Progress on Community Support Operations:

Emergency Operations Center (EOC): The EOC activated in response to the pandemic emergency on March 12th, ten months and one week ago (314 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.

Volunteers: Work by our volunteers has spiked upwards over the last two weeks as they advance the effort to support COVID-19 vaccination on the island. Weekly hours are up by around 60%. For the most recent reporting period, 43 volunteers contributed 447 hours of work to VashonBePrepared's pandemic emergency response. That brings the total contributed hours to just about 21,200 since the activation began. At the FEMA reimbursement grant rate of $31.72/hour, VashonBePrepared volunteers have logged nearly $672,300 of in-kind value available to be applied to the 25% match requirement for reimbursement grants. The total includes hours contributed by the Vashon EOC Team, Community Emergency Response Team (CERT), Medical Reserve Corps (MRC), and Community Care Team (CCT). VashonBePrepared gives thanks as well for the many hours of work in support of the Vashon community by the staff and volunteers at local social services agencies.

EOC/MRC/CERT/Vaccination: As described elsewhere in this report, the Governor has significantly increased the number of people eligible now for COVID-19 vaccination, although it is important to understand that the supply of vaccine doses allocated by the federal government is not yet sufficient to provide for the demand. This shift in plans triggered an even more intensive effort to get the high volume drive-through vaccination operation going at Vashon Pharmacy. Site maps, signage, volunteer shift planning, site preparation, training, test runs and many other steps are being fast-tracked. In addition, our teams have been collaborating closely with the two island clinics, Sea Mar at Sunrise Ridge and Vashon Natural Medicine.

EOC/MRC/Community Engagement Team: Emails, Facebook, and website posts have been readied for the day when the high-volume drive-through vaccination site goes live, including instructions on how to sign up for an appointment slot. Appointments will be mandatory - no ad-hoc drive-ups will be accommodated.

Community Care Team/Community Engagement Team: The teams have readied week 2 of the Creating Strength mental health and resilience campaign, which will go out via email and Facebook on Thursday of this week. There are nine steps in the entire program. You can read about them and view the videos at the dedicated webpage: VashonBePrepared.org/CreatingStrength.

Items from Previous Situation Reports:

PDF Archive of items from December here (previous months available to the right)

Previous Developments:

  • Why you should still wear a mask and avoid people outside your household after getting the COVID-19 vaccine:  In the short run, it will take some time for the vaccine's effectiveness to build up. (Effectiveness is defined as not getting sick with COVID-19.  If 100 vaccinated people are exposed to a virus, and 50 of them subsequently develop symptoms, that vaccine is 50% effective.) With the Pfizer vaccine, a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine in December found that protection doesn't start until 12 days after the first shot and reaches 52% effectiveness a few weeks later. A week after the second vaccination, the effectiveness rate hits 95%.  In its application for authorization, Moderna reported a protection rate of 51% two weeks after the first immunization, and 94% two weeks after the second dose. https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2021/01/12/956051995/why-you-should-still-wear-a-mask-and-avoid-crowds-after-getting-the-covid-19-vac
  • The Washington Post examined three reasons a negative coronavirus test doesn’t necessarily mean you’re not infected.  Negative COVID tests can’t be used to declare ourselves COVID-free.  It might seem like getting a negative test would mean we have no risk of spreading the virus and that it’s OK to visit with friends or family.  But at this time, it’s not.  There are many different kinds of tests, which have a varying degree of accuracy, they might not be able to pick up a case early in its course, and you still could get infected after taking the test, before your visit. Quarantining for 14 days is necessary to lower risk of spreading the virus to loved ones before a visit.  https://www.washingtonpost.com/health/2021/01/13/false-negative-covid-test/
  • Vashon Island School District has released a draft timeline for a return to in-person learning.  The timeline is still subject to meeting certain Public Health targets and will be adjusted as needed.  The Draft timeline includes:  
    • February 1st - Health Services Team, PHSKC, MRC, Labor Leadership, and Building Leadership meet to review current COVID activity, vaccine updates, and other relevant information that will inform return to in-person learning. This meeting is a version of a "Go or No Go" type of meeting.
    • Early to Mid-February - Kindergarten returns to in-person learning if health conditions allow.
    • Transitions to expand - Grades 1-3 then Grades 4-5 every two weeks after review of COVID activity levels and the DOH Guidance.
    • No sooner than April 16th - Grades 6-12
    • Visit: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1XsicfhrtH1f2xTjqCwtUL49Bv6afINO3t83bCT91hvw/edit   (1/15/21)
  • Vashon Library has received a grant to boost their Wi-Fi signal within and around the Library building.  The new equipment allows the signal to cover the whole parking area, so residents without Wi-Fi at home can access the internet from outside while the Library remains closed.  Free access is available 24/7 and does not require a password - just choose the kcls.org connection from the list of networks on your laptop, smartphone, or other internet device.   (1/15/21)
  • Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan applications for both first draw and second draw PPP loan opens to all lenders on Tuesday, January 19.  The Small Business Administration (SBA) is currently only accepting loan applications from participating community financial institutions (CFIs). Lender Match can help you find a participating CFI.  The SBA will offer programs to first-time PPP borrowers -- businesses who did not previously receive a PPP loan, who will be eligible to apply for a first draw loan of up to $10 million, using similar criteria from the initial round.  For PPP second draw  loans, existing PPP recipients may be able to qualify for another loan of up to $2 million. Visit: https://content.govdelivery.com/accounts/USSBA/bulletins/2b70b9b (1/15/21)
  • According to a new study led by Public Health England (PHE), people who have been infected with Covid-19 are likely to be protected against catching it again for at least five months.  The study -- which has not yet been peer reviewed -- found that past infection was linked to an 83% lower risk of reinfection, compared to people who have not been infected before.  But researchers warned that the protection was not absolute, meaning some people do catch the virus again, and that it was unclear how long any immunity lasts. It is also possible that those who have a degree of immunity against the virus may still be able to carry the virus in their nose or throat and therefore transmit it to others.  Dr. Simon Clarke, Associate Professor in Cellular Microbiology, University of Reading, said, "The concerning finding is that some people who have COVID-19 antibodies appear to still be able to carry the coronavirus and could spread it to others. This means that the vast majority of the population will either need to have natural immunity or have been immunised for us to fully lift restrictions on our lives,"  https://www.gov.uk/government/news/past-covid-19-infection-provides-some-immunity-but-people-may-still-carry-and-transmit-virus    (1/15/21)
  • Unemployment payments of an extra $300 should start in mid-January.  The new federal legislation that expands and changes CARES Act provisions includes an extra $300 per week for eligible claimants who are receiving benefits from any unemployment program.  The extra payment is called Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC).  Claimants who are eligible for benefits from the week ending Jan. 2, to the week ending March. 13, will receive the extra amount. Payments should start Jan. 15. If you need help filing for unemployment, the Chamber of Commerce’s Ask the Expert free consultant will guide you on how to proceed.   Email  deborah@vashonbeprepared.org, or call (206) 200-3236.   (1/15/21)
  • IRS Free File – online tax preparation products available at no charge – launched today, giving taxpayers an early opportunity to claim credits like the Recovery Rebate Credit and other deductions.  IRS Free File online products are available to any taxpayer or family who earned $72,000 or less in 2020.  IRS Free File providers will accept completed tax returns and hold them until they can be filed electronically once the IRS begins processing returns.  For assistance free-filing, contact Ask the Expert  deborah@vashonbeprepared.org  or  call (206) 200-3236.   (1/15/21)
  • The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) on Friday said that due to the pandemic and the push to get stimulus payments out quickly, the 2021 federal tax filing season will start a little late this year.  The IRS will begin accepting federal tax returns on February 12.  (1/15/21)
  • WA Department of Health reports COVID-19 case counts rebounded after Christmas and appear to be increasing steeply in some parts of the state, based on the most recent data, which is still incomplete.  The flat and declining case count trends seen in mid-to-late December may be due to fewer people seeking care or getting tested over the holidays, rather than an actual decrease in COVID-19 activity.  Hospitalization trends show a similar decline through Dec. 30 followed by a rebound in early January.  Hospital admissions and bed occupancy have remained high in late December and early January, with relatively flat trends. Daily hospital admissions of patients with confirmed COVID-19 have plateaued statewide since late November, with some fluctuation.   https://www.doh.wa.gov/Newsroom/Articles/ID/2566/COVID-19-data-shows-high-activity-and-signs-of-a-recent-uptick    (1/15/21)
  • Starting this week, the Washington State Department of Health (DOH) will be texting a verification code to every person in the state who tests positive for COVID-19.  The state hopes the new system will lead to faster notification for people who have been exposed to COVID-19.  Currently, the verification code is provided by public health during the case investigation process, but texting it within 24 hours after the state receives the result should make the notification process faster.  People who test positive for COVID-19 will still receive notification from their health care provider or a testing facility, along with the text from the state DOH.  The text will include a link to activate a verification code in WA Notify, which will then anonymously alert users who may have been exposed.   https://www.doh.wa.gov/Emergencies/COVID19/WANotify     (1/15/21)
  • Washington State Department of Health announced that based on Governor Jay Inslee’s Healthy Washington – Roadmap to Recovery plan, all eight (8) regions in Washington will remain in Phase 1 until at least Monday, January 25, 2021 (the date of the next weekly review).  As outlined in the governor’s COVID-19 plan, regions must meet four metrics in order to move into Phase 2. These metrics provide an overview of current COVID-19 trends and healthcare system readiness in each region. The four metrics are:
    • Decreasing trend of 10% or more in two-week rate of COVID-19 cases per 100k population.
    • Decreasing trend of 10% or more in two-week rate of new COVID-19 hospitalizations.
    • Less than 90% Intensive Care Unit (ICU) occupancy.
    • COVID-19 test positivity of less than 10%.

      https://www.governor.wa.gov/sites/default/files/HealthyWashington.pdf    (1/15/21)

  • Modeling, published in Nature Communications, indicates that bi-directional contact tracing could reduce the effective reproductive number (the rate at which infection is spread) for COVID-19 transmission by two-fold compared to conventional forward-tracing alone. Bi-directional contact tracing identifies potential infectors of known cases, which could lead to identification of additional cases arising from the potential infectors. The greatest gains are realized by expanding the manual tracing window from 2 to 6 days pre-symptom-onset or, alternatively, by implementing high-uptake smartphone-based exposure notification. https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-020-20325-7 (1/15/21)
  • A study published in Science examined how the vaccines help reduce disease.  The two vaccines currently in use in the US have about 95% effectiveness at preventing illness from the COVID-19 virus.  But more than that, they reduce the severity of illness - in the clinical trials, only one person who received either of the vaccines got seriously ill.  From a total of 73,448 people in the trials (split about evenly between vaccine and placebo), 354 people who did not get the vaccines got sick, with 39 serious cases.  Of those who got one of the vaccines, there were 20 symptomatic cases, with only one severe.  Chances of getting infected will also decrease as more people around us get vaccinated.  For now, we don’t know how well the vaccines protect against being infected without symptoms and spreading the virus, so keeping up with masking and distancing is still vital, but we can take heart that either of the two current vaccines being used in the US will reduce the chance of getting seriously ill to almost zero, according to the study.  https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2020/11/absolutely-remarkable-no-one-who-got-modernas-vaccine-trial-developed-severe-covid-19    (1/15/21)
  • The Washington State Department of Health (DOH) will move into its next phase of coronavirus vaccination sooner than expected, moving up the timeline to Phase 1B1 which includes inoculating people 70 years and older and people 50 years and older in multi-generational households.  Health secretary Dr. Umair Shah also acknowledged the state’s rollout had been uneven, that the public expected more and that the department needed to hasten the pace of vaccination.  The slow rollout was a function of inconsistent vaccine supply and delivery, which Dr. Shah expects to be resolved soon.  He indicated: “One of those changes is an accelerated timeline to move to our next grouping — Phase 1B1 — which we expect to do in the next coming days.”  Health officials implored health care workers, first responders and others in category 1A  to make vaccine appointments as soon as possible to ensure they are able to get vaccinated before access is expanded to phase 1B1, the first tier of general public. Watch the briefing at https://www.tvw.org/watch/?clientID=9375922947&eventID=2021011126 (1/15/21)
  • Find your phase is a tool to allow Washington residents to determine when they are eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine.  Due to limited vaccine supply, the COVID-19 vaccine will be provided in phases.  The phases are starting with people who are most at risk, such as healthcare workers, elders, vulnerable individuals, and high-risk critical workers. DOH’s goal is for this process to be as fair and transparent as possible. Vaccinating the highest risk people first will reduce the burden on hospitals, slow the spread of COVID, and help us reopen our communities faster.  If you are not eligible yet, provide contact information in the online tool and the Washington State Department of Health will send updates on COVID vaccinations and notify you when you become eligible. Note that the web address for the tool has changed:   http://findyourphasewa.org    (1/15/21)
  • The Washington Post reports that when Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar announced this week that the federal government would begin releasing coronavirus vaccine doses held in reserve for second shots, no such reserve existed, according to state and federal officials briefed on distribution plans.  The Trump administration had already begun shipping out what was available at  the end of December, taking second doses directly off the manufacturing line.  Now, health officials across the country, who had anticipated that their extremely limited vaccine supply would double next week, are confronting the reality that their allocations will remain largely flat. This news dashes hopes of dramatically expanding access for millions of elderly people and those with high-risk medical conditions.  Health officials in some cities and states were informed in recent days about the reality of the situation, while others are still in the dark.   https://www.washingtonpost.com/health/2021/01/15/trump-vaccine-reserve-used-up/    (1/15/21)
  • Public Health – Seattle & King County has a new dashboard to summarize vaccination progress in King County.  The dashboard provides data on vaccine allotments, doses administered, and demographics.  As of Jan 14th a total of 83,172 doses have been administered in King County, including 132 Vashon residents.  Visit: https://www.kingcounty.gov/depts/health/covid-19/data/vaccination.aspx   (1/15/21)

  • Creating Strength, the mental health and resilience campaign, will launch on January 14th.  The nine-week campaign of mental health communications and videos is produced by VashonBePrepared’s Community Care Team/Community Engagement Team.  The scheduled campaign launch is synchronized with this week’s Beachcomber, which includes the Hope 2021 insert.  Mental health tips and videos will be available online at:  https://vashonbeprepared.org/creatingstrength (1/12/21)
  • Washington Listens helps people manage stress and anxiety they may be experiencing because of COVID-19. If you or anyone you know is having difficulties managing stress, call the Washington Listens support line at 1-833-681-0211. Hours are from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.  Saturdays and Sundays. TTY and language access services are available by using 7-1-1 or their preferred method. Resources and self-help tips are available on  www.walistens.org.  (1/12/21)
  • Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler extended his emergency order directing all state-regulated health insurers to make additional coverage changes to aid consumers during the coronavirus pandemic. His order is in effect until Feb. 7.   https://www.insurance.wa.gov/sites/default/files/documents/final-emergency-order-20-02-ninth-extension.pdf     (1/12/21)
  • Gov. Jay Inslee’s Healthy Washington - Roadmap to Recovery is now in effect.  The new plan, which follows a region-by-region approach, will ease some restrictions while focusing on the health and safety of all Washingtonians.  The plan outlines the metrics that will be used to determine phases for each of the eight regions. The Department of Health will evaluate these metrics weekly and will announce any changes to current phase status every Friday. Currently, all eight regions are starting out in Phase 1, the most restrictive of the phases "Our primary concern throughout the COVID-19 pandemic has been the health and safety of all Washington residents," Inslee said. "This plan continues those efforts, and puts us on a path towards recovery. I'm thankful that people across our state have demonstrated their compassion for others by social distancing, masking up and avoiding gatherings. Our efforts have saved lives, but we're not done yet. Every single choice we make in the coming weeks and months could ensure that more people are able to see this pandemic through."   https://www.governor.wa.gov/sites/default/files/HealthyWashington.pdf    (1/12/21)
  • Small Business Administration (SBA) began releasing more detailed guidance for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP).  The SBA has authorized additional funding for eligible businesses that have not yet received PPP loans, under similar criteria from the initial round.  Eligible businesses for this program include small businesses, 501(c) (3) nonprofits, 501(c)(19) veterans’ organizations or tribal business concerns that have fewer than 500 employees or otherwise meet the SBA size standard.  An additional program allows businesses to apply for a second loan that is capped at $2 million.  SBA has not yet issued complete guidance and forms to support changes to the forgiveness process.  For more information, contact your local lender or visit: https://www.sba.gov/funding-programs/loans/coronavirus-relief-options/paycheck-protection-program (1/12/21)
  • Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said Tuesday the federal government will no longer hold back coronavirus vaccine doses it kept in reserve, and it is asking states to open vaccinations to people 65 and older and people with chronic conditions who are at higher risk of severe disease. The change is an attempt to accelerate lagging distribution, as Covid-19 deaths have soared to their highest levels since the pandemic began. All existing doses will be sent to states to provide initial inoculations.  Second doses are to be provided by new waves of manufacturing.  (1/12/21)
  • CDC emphasizes that individuals who were previously infected and recovered should still get vaccinated due to the “severe health risks” and uncertainty regarding the duration of natural immunity. Additionally, the degree of natural immunity “varies from person to person.” The duration of the immunity conferred by vaccination remains uncertain as well, but research is still ongoing via clinical trials. Depending on the duration of immunity following vaccination, it may be necessary for individuals to receive regular boosters to provide longer-term protection.   https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/facts.html (1/12/21)
  • Pandemic restrictions on nonessential travel at the U.S.-Canada border will enter their 11th month, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said.  This is an important decision, and one that will keep people on both sides of the border safe,” he told reporters.  The restrictions also apply to asylum seekers attempting to enter Canada from the United States.  The current measures will remain in place until at least Feb. 21.  (1/12/21)
  • An online tool and app called PhaseFinder is being rolled out to help people discover if they qualify to get a coronavirus vaccine, using just a few simple questions.  The Washington State Department of Health's PhaseFinder began a test run at the end of December and should launch for the general public next week. According to the state's plans, the full version of the survey will ask users to input their age, ZIP code, job type, along with any pre-existing conditions and risk factors.    https://wadoh.jotform.com/203418436942154   (1/12/21)
  • It's important to understand that a COVID-19 test is not a magic shield against infection.  "The majority of our recent Vashon cases have involved people who got COVID from relatives who had been tested before a family visit", according to Dr. Jim Bristow, lead physician for the Medical Reserve Corps testing site.  "People are, of course, very pleased when they get a negative COVID test.  But many mistakenly believe the test means they have some sort of “get out of jail free” card.  They feel fine and they fool themselves into thinking it's safe to be around family they haven't seen in months.  As a result, people are putting themselves, their family and others in danger."  Dr. Bristow points out that infection can begin, with or without symptoms, up to two weeks after exposure to someone with COVID.  As a result the only way to be sure you are safe before seeing others outside of your household is a 14-day quarantine.  Until large numbers of people are vaccinated, the best way to stay safe is wearing a mask, handwashing, avoiding gatherings outside of your household and social distancing when you must be around others.   (1/12/21)
  • Very limited COVID-19 vaccine has been available for Vashon residents in these early days of distribution. Even so, dozens of Phase 1a vaccinations have been administered on Vashon so far.
  • People eligible during Phase 1a of the vaccination rollout include frontline health care workers as well as care facility residents and staff. Vashon Community Care will hold its second of three vaccination sessions tomorrow for staff and residents, according to Executive Director Wendy Kleppe. The Sea Mar clinic at Sunrise Ridge has also been providing vaccinations for Vashon's frontline healthcare workers (see below).
  • Today's announcement by the federal government that vaccine availability will be expanded and eligibility age lowered to 65 should help improve local availability within the next few weeks. The state Department of Health will likely first need to issue new guidelines on sequencing for vaccine release after the agency studies today's federal announcement. There's more information on today's announcement elsewhere in this Situation Report.
  • It's important to note that nearly all providers will require a pre-screening process and an appointment before providing COVID-19 vaccination. Screening includes details such as age and occupation to check for eligibility based on state guidelines. Also, no vaccinations will be administered to anyone who has had or plans to have any other type of vaccination, such as seasonal flu vaccination, two weeks before or after the COVID-19 vaccination. People who have not yet had seasonal flu vaccination should do that now, in order to be ready for COVID-19 vaccination.


    Vashon Vaccine Availability Survey #4
    :

  • There will be three primary providers of vaccinations here on Vashon. They are Sea Mar clinic, Vashon Pharmacy, and Vashon Natural Medicine. In addition, mainland providers such as Kaiser, Multicare, Polyclinic, and CHI Franciscan are beginning to offer vaccinations according to the state Department of Health rollout schedule. Public Health -- Seattle & King County says it will be opening two vaccination sites in south King County in early February. Pharmacy chains such as CVS, Safeway Pharmacy, Walgreens and others are ramping up and promise vaccination availability soon.
    • Sea Mar Clinic at Sunrise Ridge: Sea Mar offered vaccination to other Phase 1a providers such as clinicians, first responders, the Medical Reserve Corps testing site volunteers, dentists etc. and will continue offering vaccinations under the Phase 1A guidelines from the state Department of Health. So far, Sea Mar has been administering its first 100 COVID-19 vaccine doses to Phase 1a providers.
    • Vashon Natural Medicine: Clinic owner Kelly Wright reports they have not yet received a supply of vaccine. The clinic has plans to notify its patients directly based on the guidelines for eligibility prescribed for the various phases by the state Department of Health.
    • Vashon Pharmacy: Owner Tyler Young has been working intensively on a high volume drive-through clinic that will be located in the parking areas in back of his store. The EOC Team Logistics Section, Medical Reserve Corps (MRC), and Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) have been providing planning and other support, and will help operate the site by providing traffic control, site coordination, and post-injection medical observation. Planning is well along with a test run-through (with no vaccine), tentatively scheduled for later this week. Initial vaccine supplies will be minimal and the date of arrival is not yet known. When vaccine doses arrive at the Pharmacy, the site will ramp up slowly with a "soft open" at low volume to make sure all the procedures work well and safely, and that Pharmacy staff and volunteers are fully trained.  The site may be able to vaccinate as many as 150 people per day when a vaccine is available in sufficient quantity.
  • Gov. Jay Inslee announced “Healthy Washington — Roadmap to Recovery,” a COVID-19 phased recovery plan.  Beginning on January 11, the state will follow a multi-phase regional recovery approach.  The regions are mostly based on Emergency Medical Services (EMS) regions used for evaluating healthcare services. King County will be in the Central region along with Pierce and Snohomish.  All regions will start out in Phase 1.  To go forward from Phase 1 to Phase 2, regions must meet four metrics:
    • Decreasing trend (>10%) in two-week rate of COVID-19 casesper 100K population 
    • Decreasing trend  (>10%) in two-week rate of new COVID-19 hospital admission rates per 100K population 
    • ICU occupancy(total of COVID-19 and non-COVID-19 cases)of less than 90%
    • COVID-19 test positivity rate of <10%

      Phase 1, for the most part, imposes restrictions currently in place for most counties today, with a few key exceptions.  Indoor fitness will be allowed for appointment-based fitness and training, where there is no more than 1 customer per room or 500 square feet for large facilities.  Also outdoor entertainment establishments will be permitted to reopen in Phase 1, including zoos, outdoor theaters, concert venues, and rodeos, among other outdoor venues.  The operation must be by ticketed event only, with groups of 10 maximum with a limit of two households per group. https://medium.com/wagovernor/inslee-announces-healthy-washington-roadmap-to-recovery-229b880a6859     (1/8/21)

  • Washington State Department of Health (DOH) released guidance for the next phase of COVID-19 vaccination. The department worked closely with the Governor’s Office to finalize prioritization for phase 1B, the next phase of vaccination.  This phase is broken up into four separate tiers:
    • Phase 1B1 – (Tier 1): All people 70 years and older, and people 50 years and older who live in multigenerational households   
    • Phase 1B2 – (Tier 2): High-risk critical workers 50 years and older who work in certain congregate settings: Agriculture; food processing; grocery stores; K-12 (teachers and school staff); childcare; corrections, prisons, jails or detention facilities (staff); public transit; fire; law enforcement
    • Phase 1B3 – (Tier 3): People 16 years or older with two or more comorbidities or underlying conditions
    • Phase 1B4 – (Tier 4): High-risk critical workers in certain congregate settings under 50 years of age.  People, staff and volunteers all ages in congregate living settings:  Correctional facilities; group homes for people with disabilities; people experiencing homelessness that live in or access services in congregate settings

      “Vaccine prioritization decisions are complex, but based on a need for equitable distribution,” says Secretary of Health Dr. Umair A. Shah. “Our priority has been to get the vaccine to high-priority people first.”  https://www.doh.wa.gov/Emergencies/COVID19/Vaccine   (1/8/21)

  • You can spread COVID-19 even if you don’t have symptoms. The journal JAMA Network Open published a report that supports earlier estimates of the contribution of asymptomatic spread.  People with no symptoms transmit more than half of all cases of the COVID-19, according to a new model developed by researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  Many factors influence how the coronavirus spreads. The model consistently predicted that asymptomatic spread accounted for roughly half of viral transmission. The model suggests a shift in the timing of peak contagiousness from four days after infection to five or six.  The findings reinforce the importance of following the agency’s guidelines: Regardless of whether you feel ill, wear a mask, wash your hands, stay socially distant, and get a coronavirus test if exposed or experiencing symptoms.  https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamanetworkopen/fullarticle/2774707    (1/8/21)
  • The Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar officially extended the COVID-19 public health emergency designation that was set to expire on January 21, 2021 for another 90 days.  This means that eligible entities may continue to seek reimbursement through the FEMA Public Assistance (PA) Program for eligible emergency protective measures for the duration of this period or when FEMA ends its disaster declaration, whichever comes first.   https://www.phe.gov/emergency/news/healthactions/phe/Pages/covid19-07Jan2021.aspx     (1/8/21)
  • In a year defined by a health crisis, 2020 saw more than two million Washingtonians enrolled in Washington Apple Health (Medicaid) and Qualified Health Plans.  This is a new record high number of individuals and families obtaining health coverage through Washington Healthplanfinder, the online portal administered by the Washington Health Benefit Exchange (Exchange).  Over 1 in 4 Washingtonians are using Washington Healthplanfinder to find and enroll in health coverage.  Open enrollment for 2021 coverage runs through Jan. 15 of this year for coverage starting Feb. 1.  The Customer Support Center at 855-923-4633 is open 7:30 a.m. – 8:00 p.m. Monday – Friday. Additionally, extended hours are scheduled:  Friday, January 15, 7:30 a.m. – 11: 59 p.m. Or visit: www.wahealthplanfinder.org.   (1/8/21)
  • Vashon Community Care has announced that the Department of Social and Health Services has closed the COVID investigation into the death of longtime islander Marvin Benham.  The investigation concluded that this was not a VCC facility-acquired case.  VCC Executive Director Wendy Kleppe, in a letter to families of residents, reported that the facility continues to be diligent about disinfecting, monitoring and tracking residents daily for signs and symptoms.  Team members continue to self-monitor for signs and symptoms, mask at all times, hand wash regularly, follow physical distance policies when taking breaks, and follow all guidelines for COVID mitigation when not at work.  (1/8/21)
  • VCC Executive Director Kleppe also announced the much anticipated second COVID-19 vaccine clinic will take place for residents and staff at VCC next Wednesday.    (1/8/21)
  • Mica’s Kitchen COVID-19 testing was negative. However, as a precaution, due to a small chance of a false negative, Mica’s will remain closed for quarantine until January 10.    (1/8/21)
  • Dozens of Phase 1a vaccinations have been administered over the last two weeks on Vashon. Phase 1a includes frontline health care workers as well as residents and staff of care facilities. As reported last week, VCC has vaccinated nearly 60 residents and staff with the first dose of the vaccine. Executive Director Wendy Kleppe expects both doses of vaccine to be administered to all residents and staff by the end of February. Some additional island Phase 1a category individuals are also receiving injections thanks to Sea Mar clinic offering to share its very limited number of doses (see below).   (1/5/21)
  • The state Department of Health has not yet officially defined those who would get vaccinated in Phase 1b. But, it is expected that Phase 1b will include some types of essential workers and people over aged 75. That information is expected to be available this week. A rough consensus among island providers and state officials suggests that Phase 1b inoculations could be available on Vashon by the end of this month.  https://www.doh.wa.gov/Emergencies/COVID19/Vaccine    (1/5/21)
  • vaccine eligibility tool is on the way to help people understand when they are able to receive the vaccine shots. Based on that tool, Washington state will rely on an honor system to determine eligibility for COVID-19 vaccinations. The state plans to launch an online questionnaire called PhaseFinder. The objective is to satisfy concerns coming from providers that they do not want to be vaccination police, attempting to sort out who qualifies at a vaccination site, especially since the qualification process will become increasingly complex as distribution widens to include more and more categories of people. The PhaseFinder tool will include questions about age, ZIP code, pre-existing conditions, occupation, and household situation. The tool will come in multiple languages.   (1/5/21)
  • Vaccine Note: It is important to be aware that no other vaccines should be taken within two weeks before and after the COVID-19 vaccination. Thus, people considering vaccinations such as seasonal flu, shingles, etc. should hurry to get them now so they can be sure to have a full two weeks wait time logged before the opportunity comes up for a COVID-19 vaccination.  For more information on flu vaccination providers, go to our English/Spanish Flu Vaccine Provider Directory at:  https://vashonbeprepared.org/fluvaccine  (1/5/21)
  • There will be three primary providers of vaccinations on Vashon: Sea Mar clinic, Vashon Pharmacy, and Vashon Natural Medicine. All of the providers have been receiving many calls asking for vaccination information. This Vaccine Availability Survey will be frequently updated and widely distributed. In addition, the Vashon EOC Community Engagement Team has started work on an information campaign, including a dedicated webpage, to help Vashon residents stay up to date on when and where vaccinations will be available on the island.   (1/5/21)
    • Sea Mar clinic at Sunrise Ridge: Senior Vice President Jesus Sanchez says the Sea Mar clinic received a limited supply of 100 Moderna vaccine doses. After vaccinating frontline caregivers at the Sunrise Ridge clinic, Sea Mar has begun offering vaccination to other Phase 1a providers such as island clinicians, the Medical Reserve Corps testing site volunteers, dentists and others.
    • Vashon Pharmacy: Owner Tyler Young has not yet received any vaccine doses. He has requested 7,500 courses [3,750 persons with two shots] of vaccine, an estimate of need based on response to the recent seasonal flu vaccination effort. He has begun working with the Emergency Operations Center, Medical Reserve Corps, and Community Engagement Team to plan communications and logistics support for a high volume vaccination program, possibly a drive-through or other form of outdoor operation.
    • Vashon Natural Medicine: Clinic owner Kelly Wright reports they have not yet received a supply of vaccine. The clinic has plans to notify its patients in the order prescribed for the various phases as outlined by the state Department of Health.
  • Governor Inslee has extended the Stay Safe Stay Healthy restrictions by one week, at least through January 11th. The restrictions ban indoor dining, and ordered closure of gyms and fitness centers, in addition to shutting movie theaters and museums. The original restrictions had been scheduled to expire in mid-December, but have been extended several times in response to the rising case numbers. Wedding and funeral ceremonies are limited to 30 people, and no receptions are allowed. The Governor’s office promised an updated plan soon to “provide a pathway for businesses and workers to reopen safely.”https://www.governor.wa.gov/sites/default/files/20-25.11%20-%20COVID-19%20Stay%20Safe-Stay%20Healthy%20%28tmp%29.pdf (1/5/21)
  • Governor Jay Inslee announced a new COVID-19 safety plan Tuesday afternoon that will focus its efforts on regions within Washington state instead of counties.  The plan called "Healthy Washington" will begin Jan. 11 and will allow a small resumption of activities statewide, Inslee said.  Live entertainment events with a "very tight capacity" restriction and certain fitness programs will be allowed.  Each region will need to meet four metrics, which include a 10% decreasing in the 14-day trend in case rates; a 10% decrease in COVID-19 hospital administration rates; an ICU occupancy rate that’s less than 90%; and a test positivity rate of less than 10%.  More details will be released later this week.
  • Deductibles and co-pays for COVID-19 vaccines are being waived by most health insurers in Washington State.  Policyholders will be covered regardless of where they receive the vaccination.  The federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act directs health insurers to waive copays and deductibles for COVID-19 vaccinations after Jan. 1, 2021. In Washington state insurers are covering the vaccinations regardless of whether the provider offering the vaccine is in the plan’s network.  The link has a list of participating insurers.   https://www.insurance.wa.gov/news/health-insurers-waive-copays-and-deductibles-covid-19-vaccines  (1/5/21)
  • Still time to enroll for health insurance - open enrollment ends on Jan 15, 2021.  King County residents can choose from seven insurance carriers offering multiple plan options on Washington Healthplanfinder. Cascade Care plans, newly available for 2021 coverage, expand access, choice and value.  These plans offer more upfront services without having to meet a deductible.   Visit:  https://www.wahealthplanfinder.org     (1/5/21)
  • The Chamber of Commerce Ask An Expert for unemployment and tax stimulus will continue to provide free assistance in 2021.  As soon as the IRS announces that Free File is open, Deborah will be accepting phone appointments to prepare and file 2020 federal income tax returns electronically. Priority will be given to those with Form 1099-G Unemployment Benefits and W-2 wages or a simple Schedule C.  Time permitting, Deborah will also be available to prepare returns beyond the Free File income threshold ($72,000 adjusted gross income) and answer tax questions for those preparing their own returns.  If you are not already on Deborah's unemployment-tips list, email deborah@vashonbeprepared.org to be notified when she will be accepting tax-preparation appointments.  Note: AARP Tax Aide will also be offering free tax preparation starting in early February, but you must have a computer and GoogleMeets capability to use their service.   (1/5/21)
  • Gov. Jay Inslee formally issued an extension of the eviction moratorium, extending all existing provisions and making adjustments to provide additional support for landlords and property owners. The proclamation extends state rental assistance programs to incorporate the newly approved federal funding for rental assistance. Furthermore, the stated goal of these rental assistance programs is modified to provide a path for landlords, property owners, and property managers to initiate an application for rental assistance. The proclamation also clarifies that landlords and property owners may communicate with tenants in support of their applications for rental assistance. The eviction moratorium is extended through March 31, 2021.   https://www.governor.wa.gov/sites/default/files/proclamations/proc_20-19.5.pdf    (1/5/21)
  • Last month, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released guidance to shorten the 14-day Covid-19 quarantine to seven to 10 days.  However, in its Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, the CDC concludes that this move "carries a risk" to further spread the virus, particularly the risk posed by household contacts.  Interim data from a CDC-supported study of household transmission of Covid-19, showed that among 185 people who lived in households with someone who was sick with Covid-19, 109 of them ended up getting Covid-19 themselves.  Of those 109 people, 12% tested positive after the 10th day that a person they were living with first felt sick. This shows that there is a potential for transmission of the virus from household contacts released from quarantine before 14 days, according to the report.  The report said this suggests that reducing quarantine to less than 14 days might decrease but not eliminate the risk for spreading the virus.  Many of our local medical professionals, including island MRC doctors continue to strongly recommend the full 14 day quarantine period.   https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/more/scientific-brief-options-to-reduce-quarantine.html   (1/5/21)
  • According to data from the University of Washington's Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME), more people have died across the US than anywhere else: nearly 348,000 Americans since the pandemic's start.  Their projections indicate that about another 115,000 could die over the next month.  The IHME reference scenario model, which represents what they think is most likely to happen, projects 567,000 cumulative deaths on April 1, 2021.  This represents 252,000 additional deaths from December 20 to April 1, with daily deaths peaking at 3,890 on January 11, 2021.  By April 1, 2021, the model projects that 33,200 lives will be saved by the projected vaccine rollout.  If rapid rollout of vaccine is achieved, 45,000 lives will be saved compared to a no-vaccine scenario.  As compared to a no-vaccine scenario, rapid rollout targeting high-risk individuals only could save 54,000 lives.  If universal mask coverage (95%) were attained in the next week, the model projects 49,000 fewer cumulative deaths compared to the reference scenario by April 1, 2021.  Full report at  http://www.healthdata.org/sites/default/files/files/Projects/COVID/briefing_US_20201223.pdf   (1/5/21)
  • There has been a second COVID-19 related death of a Vashon resident. Longtime islander Marvin Benham, age 94, father of island resident Donna Benham Donnelly, died on Tuesday, December 29th. "He made it through 10 long months of isolation at VCC and was days away from the vaccine, but made a short trip to the hospital in mid-December, which is where he contracted the virus," according to his granddaughter Nicole Donnelly Martin. The patient's positive COVID test result had been reported in an earlier Situation Report, but his name was not revealed at that time, in compliance with privacy laws. The family encouraged the publishing of his name now, with an appeal to maintain COVID safety: "We were only able to say goodbye to Baba Marv on the phone," his granddaughter reported. "We’re gutted about how his life ended, and that we weren’t able to be with him. Please, everyone, stay home and wear masks, if for nothing else than to protect the vulnerable and show support for those that have lost their loved ones. We’re so close to no more telephone goodbyes and heartbreaking loss."    (1/5/21)
  • Vashon Community Care went into a required lockdown after receiving Marvin Benham’s initial positive test results on Christmas Eve. A rigorous testing protocol went into effect at that time and continues. All tests since then have come back negative. In addition, Public Health (PHSKC) has determined that the infection was not acquired at VCC.  (1/5/21)
  • Vashon Pharmacy has implemented a COVID-19 safety protocol for testing and quarantine, in collaboration with the Vashon Medical Reserve Corps. The safety steps are being taken because of two unrelated exposure situations, involving staff on free time outside of the pharmacy workplace. Based on information gained so far from the contact tracing investigation, the pharmacy remains open at this time to fill prescriptions and perform its other services to the community. Even though a staff member has tested positive, fortunate timing of the holidays and days off likely prevented any spread of the disease among staff members, and it's extremely unlikely that any customers have been exposed. The contact tracing investigation has included interviews with staff members and viewing of store security videos. "We realize that anyone in the healthcare field must go beyond normal standards of caution," said Vashon Pharmacy owner Tyler Young. "We are grateful that the timing of holiday store closure and days off for staff broke in our favor in this situation, but we must take extra care of public safety, so several members of the pharmacy team are being tested and have gone into voluntary 14-day quarantine."
  • Mica’s Kitchen has closed awaiting COVID test results.  Owner Michaella Olavarri, announced the precautionary self-quarantine because of some cold-like symptoms.  Test results are expected in the next 48 hours.   (1/5/21)

Housing Security:

  • St. Vincent de Paul Society on Vashon (SVdP) offers assistance to all in need, regardless of creed, race, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation or citizenship. Since the start of the pandemic, they have provided nearly $50,000 of rent, utility and food assistance to 37 island households, including 56 children. All are individuals or families whose livelihood has been adversely affected by COVID-19. For rental assistance, SVdP has coordinated with Interfaith Council for Prevention of Homelessness (IFCH). In addition to rental assistance, SVdP has been helping islanders throughout the pandemic with other types of support, including for utilities as well as store vouchers for folks to purchase non-food necessities such as diapers and toothpaste. SVdP is among the social service groups this year that received support from the Vashon COVID Relief Fund. If you or a neighbor you know needs help with rent, utilities, food, or other basic needs, leave a message in English or Spanish on the St. Vincent de Paul help hotline at 206-450-7577. 
  • The King County Library System provides a service that helps point King County residents to the financial assistance programs they need—such as business loans, unemployment claims, and rent assistance. Residents looking for guidance may visit the website to complete an online form detailing their small business and/or personal financial needs. Visit https://kcls.org/find-financial-assistance/ or call 800-462-9600 for assistance.
  • Home Base, the United Way Rent Relief program, offers assistance for those needing help paying rent due to the COVID-19 virus, for information in English visit:  https://www.uwkc.org/renthelp/ or for Spanish: https://www.uwkc.org/renthelp-spanish/
  • The Washington State Department of Commerce’s Eviction Rent Assistance Program (ERAP) 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 the rental assistance program.  The program has been extended until Dec. 31. 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/   
  • Eviction Rent Assistance Program (ERAP) for Vashon residents is administered by King County Department of Community and Human Services.  They have recently created $41 million in funding for a new rent assistance and eviction prevention program.  Visit https://kingcounty.gov/depts/community-human-services/COVID/eviction-prevention-rent-assistance.aspx  
  • Gov. Jay Inslee has extended and expanded the moratorium on evictions and imposed a new freeze on increases of residential rents.  The temporary statewide ban on evictions has been extended through October 15.  The order includes a ban on residential and commercial rent increases during the public-health emergency.  https://www.governor.wa.gov/sites/default/files/proclamations/20-19.3%20Coronavirus%20Evictions%20%28tmp%29.pdf 

Food Security:

  • The Vashon Maury Community Food Bank has been nourishing our community for over forty years. The Food Bank’s mission is to ensure that no one on Vashon goes hungry, so the Food Bank is available for anyone who needs food.  In 2019, before the pandemic, one in seven households on Vashon (about 14%) depended on the Food Bank to get by.  As of last week, that number has risen to about 20% of Vashon households have shopped at the Food Bank. Due to the pandemic, in-person shopping was replaced by COVID-safe drive-up ordering or home delivery. Last week, 148 households received food delivery by Food Bank volunteers, while 111 households went to the Food Bank to place their grocery orders at Sunrise Ridge.  Customers can pick up groceries at Sunrise Ridge on Wednesdays between 10am and 2pm, or between 4pm and 7pm. If they prefer, they can request home delivery on Thursdays, by calling (206) 463-6332 or emailing admin@vashonfoodbank.org.
  • Meals on Wheels offers relief to older adults and caregivers by delivering reliable, nutritious meals on a weekly basis. For many older adults, circumstances can make shopping or preparing food difficult and that may have been exacerbated by the pandemic.  The Meals on Wheels program serves King County residents aged 60 or more, who have difficulty shopping or cooking. For those under 60, a private pay option is available at the cost of $7 per meal. On Vashon, Meals on Wheels currently delivers an average of 100 meals per week to about 20 clients.  You can order 7 to 14 meals per week. Meals are delivered frozen once per week and packaged in trays that are ready to heat in a microwave or conventional oven.  Many meal options are available including vegetarian, vegan, low-sodium, kosher, and halal-certified. Vashon folks who want to apply and who speak English should call the Vashon Senior Center at 406-463-5173. The local Meals on Wheels representative will call them back and fill out their application online while talking with the client on the phone. Non-English speakers should call Sound Generations at (206) 448-5767 or 1-888-308-6325 or email them at mealsonwheels@soundgenerations.org.  For more information visit: https://soundgenerations.org/our-programs/food-security/meals-on-wheels/
  • Since March 11, the Senior Center has been delivering hot, nutritious lunches to seniors three days a week, totaling almost 4000 meals.  This fall the meal delivery program will continue.  Regardless of household income the program delivers lunch to anyone age 55 and older who requests it.  Just as with their on-site meals pre-COVID, the Senior Center asks for a donation of $5.00 per lunch to help cover actual cost of $10.38 per meal, but no one will be turned away due to inability to pay.  The delivery program has a secondary benefit of helping with seniors’ feeling of isolation that can have a negative impact on a person’s mental well-being and can lead to depression.  You can sign up for lunches, via phone at (206) 463-5173, by email to lunch@vashoncenter.org, or by using a form at the website https://www.vashoncenter.org/lunch-delivery.
  • Food Access Partnership (FAP), a part of Vashon Island Growers’ Association, provides a channel for island farmers to help feed island residents. FAP provides two programs. The original of the two programs, Farm Bucks, provides scrips (like vouchers) that can be used for shopping at participating island farm stands.  Farm Bucks require shoppers to find a farmer source, and also to affiliate with a social service agency such as VYFS or the Food Bank.  A new program provides a more convenient way for folks in need of fresh local food to shop at participating farm stands. The new Farmstand Credit program launched on August 30th. It operates on the honor system and you can opt in right at the farm stand.  To use the Farmstand Credit program find the FAP Credit clipboard at one of the seven participating farm stands.  Choose the foods you need, then record the foods on the Farmstand Credit sheet. FAP will pay the farmers for the foods that are recorded on the Farmstand Credit sheet.   For more information or participating partners, email foodaccesspartnership@vigavashon.org or visit: https://foodaccesspartnership.vigavashon.org/
  • Vashon Island School District food service will offer breakfast and lunch every school day for all VISD students, even during this pandemic remote learning period.  Island-wide meal delivery service begins tomorrow September 1st and meals can also be picked up at High School for all VISD students, between 8 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. on scheduled school days.  Delivery locations, pricing for meals and applications for free meals can be found at https://www.vashonsd.org/Page/2516
  • The Washington State Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) announced a new emergency program for ALL children in grades K-12 in Washington who receive free or reduced-price school meals.  The benefit allows up to a maximum of $399 of P-EBT for families to buy groceries while schools are on pandemic remote learning.  The program will not affect immigration status. The deadline is September 11th.   Apply at https://www.washingtonconnection.org/home/
  • Public Health – Seattle & King County has released a new study on the county’s food needs.  The study found about 9% of adults in King, Pierce, and Snohomish counties combined reported in June 2020 that their households did not have enough food, compared to about 5% experiencing this before March.  Enrollment in basic food assistance program increased by 18% among King County households from January to June 2020.  The report noted that younger adults (ages 18-44), low-income adults (<$25,000/year), adults with less than a high school education, and adults who had never been married were more likely to lack sufficient food.  The study did not release information by detailed race/ethnicity information and so American Indian/Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander, people of multiple races, and people identifying with another race are reported together and are unable to be disaggregated.  This group was the most likely to not have enough food (31%), followed by Black and Hispanic/Latinx respondents (both 13%).  Full report at: https://www.kingcounty.gov/depts/health/covid-19/data/impacts/~/media/depts/health/communicable-diseases/documents/C19/food-insecurity-brief-report-august-2020.ashx

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.