Situation Report for April 16, 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 or view current email version here. See archived items in the PDF section to the right on this Situation Report page.

Vashon Vaccine Availability: 

The Overview:  Despite some challenges, vaccination has been available on the island each day this week from at least one of the island's two active vaccination providers. There should be at least 1,000 first doses of vaccine available next week, in addition to vaccine to cover the necessary second dose requirements. Vaccination eligibility extended this week to everyone age 16 years or older, but patience will be required until vaccine supplies begin flowing more consistently. This could be a particular challenge going forward now that the Johnson & Johnson vaccine has been put on hold and expected additional supplies will not be coming to the state.

Vaccination eligibility for Washington State currently includes those persons 16 and older. Those aged 16 and 17 will need consent from a parent or guardian to get the vaccine, unless they are legally emancipated.  For full definitions of eligibility, visit

Vashon Pharmacy: The drive-through site had two scheduled days this week, and plans to operate at least four days next week.  Initially, it appeared that the Pharmacy would be without new first dose supplies next week after the state Department of Health denied the Pharmacy’s request. However, the so-called “direct to pharmacy” program through the store’s regular prescription drug supplier has come through. The Pharmacy will have a full allocation of Pfizer vaccine next week, and expects to open the appointment signup online on Monday evening. Watch for an alert from the Voice of Vashon Emergency Alert System to confirm the day and time of appointment signups.

It is important to note that first dose allocations are being denied by the state Department of Health because Vashon Island is the most vaccinated of all the areas of King County being tracked by Public Health. More than two-thirds of Vashon residents aged 16 or older have been vaccinated, according to the county data dashboard. That is ten points better than the second-place community area. Other areas are more than 20 points below Vashon's vaccination level. On general principles, in an emergency, resources are allocated to areas where they are most needed.  For example, south King County communities such as Auburn, Kent, and Federal Way are only at 43% vaccinated.

Sea Mar: The Sunrise Ridge clinic held walk-up vaccination clinics every day this week, no appointment required. At this writing, the clinic does not yet have a sense of vaccine availability next week. Check day-to-day availability at  Sea Mar has set aside vaccine for all currently booked second dose appointments. Sea Mar asks that you not show up any earlier than 6:00am. Arriving patients are registered and given a place in line for the day. To avoid long outdoor wait times, when patients are registered they are given a time to come back, or they are asked to wait in their cars until they receive a phone call to come into the clinic to have their vaccine administered.

Vaccination of Young People:  There are two availability items regarding those aged 16, 17 and 18.
  • Plans are under way to hold vaccination days at the high school. Pre-registration will be required to make the injection days go smoothly, and to get the necessary parental consent for 16 and 17 year olds. Vashon Pharmacy will supply the vaccine.  The Pharmacy and Medical Reserve Corps will supply the vaccinators and post-shot observers, working closely with the school nursing staff. The high school vaccination days are in addition to the options already in place for 16 through 18 year olds. Any provider offering Pfizer vaccine will be able to vaccinate all people ages 16 and above.
  • A protocol has been established at the Vashon Pharmacy drive-through site to maintain safety when young people are being vaccinated. People 21 years and younger are more prone to fainting than other age groups, so the normal drive-through process was modified so they would not be in the driver's seat after vaccination. Keep in mind that 16 and 17 year olds must have parental consent. All those 21 and under who drive themselves will not be vaccinated in their cars, but will be seated in a designated area for their vaccination. If they are in a car with a driver, they can be vaccinated in the passenger seat.

The Emergency Operations Center (EOC) recommends that you check the following four websites to see if there is updated information about local vaccination opportunities, beyond what we compile in these Situation Reports which are published on Tuesdays and Fridays.

Going off Island for Vaccination: A number of sites within driving distance are accepting appointments from residents in King, Pierce and Kitsap counties. Here are some websites to check for vaccination opportunities:
Each of these sources lists some potential vaccination locations within a few miles of the mainland ferry docks. Check these websites frequently and refresh your browser to find the most convenient location for you. Also, keep in mind that your mainland healthcare provider may be a vaccination resource (CHI Franciscan, Multicare, Kaiser, etc.). And all patients enrolled in the Veterans Administration system are eligible at VA facilities.

Current Virus Statistics: 

Vashon Island COVID-19 Case Count as of 4/16/21:*
  • 113 confirmed positive cases, 0 new cases since last Situation Report on Tuesday 
  • Date of last positive test: April 7
  • 0 new positives in past 7 days and 1 new positive in the past 14 days  
  • 4 people have been hospitalized. Date of last hospitalization: March 18
  • 3 Vashon deaths per the King County dashboard, last death reported 2/27/21
King County COVID-19 Case Count as of 4/16/21:*
  • 93,046 confirmed positive cases, 1,244 new since last Situation Report on Tuesday
  • 1,493 deaths, 8 new since last Situation Report on Tuesday
Washington State COVID-19 Case Count as of 4/15/21:*
  • 383,894 confirmed positive cases, 4,838 new since last Situation Report Tuesday
  • 5,380 deaths, 40 since last Situation Report on Tuesday
*Note 1:  The statistics above are from the Public Health – Seattle & King County dashboard as of the date listed. Numbers may not be complete, as data processing lags and the actual number of cases, hospitalizations, and deaths may not yet match the dashboard.

Note 2: Federal law prohibits Public Health - Seattle & King County (PHSKC) from releasing the names of patients (HIPAA Act). For consistency of day-to-day data reporting for Vashon, the EOC uses only the Zip code data from the Public Health – Seattle & King County dashboard

Health Tips:

Testing is still a critical tool in the battle against COVID-19. If you have symptoms, or think you have been exposed to COVID-19, you can help prevent the spread of the virus to others in your home and community by getting tested.  According to Vashon’s Medical Reserve Corps, this remains true even if you've been vaccinated.  Vashon MRC recommendations are to stay in quarantine for 14 days after your last contact with a possibly infected person, staying at home, separating yourself from other people and animals.  In addition to getting tested, it is important to maintain six feet of physical distance from others at all times, even if wearing a mask, and wash your hands often.  For a list of symptoms, or questions about getting tested on Vashon, call 844-469-4554, or visit  

It’s really important that anyone who has cough, fever, sniffles, or other flu type symptoms call our hotline to be screened and scheduled for a test,” urged Dr. Jim Bristow, Medical Reserve Corps lead for the island’s COVID-19 testing and tracing operation. If you have any symptoms, especially respiratory symptoms, get screened by calling the MRC testing team at (844) 469-4554, whether or not you have been vaccinated. There is no cost for testing at the MRC site, even for those with no insurance. Vashon residents who receive a positive test off-island can also call this number for assistance in letting contacts know and accessing quarantine recommendations and support. 

New Developments since Last Report:

The Washington State Department of Health (DOH) is reporting a total of 217 COVID-19 vaccine breakthrough cases among 1.7 million fully vaccinated individuals in Washington State.  Vaccine breakthrough occurs when a person tests positive for COVID-19 two weeks or more after receiving the full course of an approved COVID-19 vaccine. Large-scale clinical studies found that COVID-19 vaccines prevented most people from getting COVID-19 illness. However, the vaccines are not 100% effective.  This means a very small number of fully vaccinated people will still get sick with COVID-19; these cases are mostly mild. Scientists note that breakthroughs are expected with any vaccine. In the case of COVID-19 vaccines, none of the approved vaccines are more than 95% effective, leaving room for the breakthroughs even for fully vaccinated people.. "Finding evidence of vaccine breakthrough cases reminds us that, even if you have been vaccinated, you still need to wear a mask, practice social distancing, and wash your hands to prevent spreading COVID-19 to others who have not been vaccinated," said Dr. Umair A. Shah, Secretary of Health.    

Justice Department warns about fake post-vaccine survey scams.  Consumers are receiving requests via email and text message to take a bogus COVID-19 survey, promising cash or free gift – such as an iPad Pro – for doing it.  In reality, the survey is designed to steal your personal information in order to commit identity theft, the Justice Department warns. That’s because you’re required to pay shipping and handling to get your free prize. The Justice Department cautions “You should never click on links in text messages or email unless you expected that communication, and are certain you know who sent it.” 

How to spot a restaurant that’s following the right practices to maximize your safety.  Many of the COVID-19 safeguards required for food and beverage businesses are designed to minimize how much air we share. That’s why a restaurant allows fewer people inside, why everyone who isn’t eating or drinking should wear a mask, and why good airflow and ventilation is the top priority indoors. Public Health – Seattle & King County has posted food service guidelines to allow customers to make informed choices about safety where they eat. The site provides required safety practices and examples of how you will know they are followed by the establishment. Visit:

Regular cleaning is usually enough to keep you from catching COVID-19 from surfaces.  New research suggests that the risk of getting sick this way is actually pretty low with the right precautions. Cleaning doesn’t kill germs, but it washes them away and lowers your risk of getting sick. DOH suggests you use soap, water, and a tightly woven cloth; choose a soap without fragrances or dyes; and frequently clean surfaces that are dirty or touched often. Disinfecting procedures are an extra degree of prevention that kill germs left on surfaces even after cleaning. You should disinfect if someone in your home is sick or tested positive for COVID-19 in the past 24 hours.  

Public Health – Seattle & King County is hosting a community event, “COVID Vaccines:  A Community Conversation,” on Thursday April 29, from 5 to 6:30pm.  Community members can learn more about COVID vaccines, ask questions, and hopefully gain confidence in vaccination. Medical and health panelists will share their own reasons for getting vaccinated, address common concerns, and discuss how to talk with hesitant friends and family. The Zoom link is: Simultaneous translation in Spanish, Somali, Vietnamese, and Russian, as well as ASL interpretation and live captioning will be available. 

Has COVID-19 made you feel symptoms of trauma, anxiety, or depression? Maybe it is time to try yoga.  The DOVE Project is hosting ReGrowing Our Wings: Yoga for People Healing from Trauma.  The four-week program, led by Deborah King, will run Thursdays from April 22 to May 13, from 5 to 6:30pm.  To register, email Nyn Grey at   

If you missed the streaming conversation The Vashon Model: A Community-based Response to COVID, it is now posted on the Vashon Heritage Museum’s website. The discussion between doctors James Bristow, Ina Opplinger, Clayton Olney, and Jinna Risdal from the Vashon Medical Reserve Corps, all of whom are key players in Vashon’s nationally-recognized response to the COVID pandemic, can be viewed at

State Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI), Chris Reykdal, has announced students will not take the Smarter Balanced Assessments or the Washington Comprehensive Assessment of Science this spring.  OSPI will continue to use locally determined assessments that his department believes are more informative and actionable measures of student learning, as school districts prepare for next school year and beyond.      

Public Health – Seattle & King County has updated all sections of its COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions website to reflect updated information and guidance. The site is a source for information on virus, vaccine and response questions. It also provides links or contact information for more assistance to safely get through the pandemic. Visit: 

Washington State Department of Health has updated the guidance document for Child Care, Youth Development, and Day Camps during COVID-19. Updates include recommendations for physical distancing, cohorts, sensory materials, and program types included in this guidance. Full document at 

COVID-19 Vaccination FAQs document for Critical Workers' Employers has been published by Washington State DOH. The document considers common questions and answers about COVID-19 vaccination from employers in workplace (non-health care) settings. Visit:    

Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler has extended two emergency orders requiring health insurers to waive copays and deductibles for any consumer requiring testing for COVID-19, and his order protecting consumers from receiving surprise bills for lab fees related to medically necessary diagnostic testing for COVID-19 are both extended until May 16, 2021. 
Progress on Community Support Operations:

Emergency Operations Center (EOC): Four operational priorities -- health, food security, housing security and economic recovery -- were put in place for Vashon's pandemic emergency response shortly after our activation over 57 weeks ago. The four priorities were established by the Incident Commander Fire Chief Charlie Krimmert, and approved by the VashonBePrepared Board.

School District/EOC/MRC: Work continued this week in two areas of support for Vashon Island School District.
  • The District Superintendent agreed this week to proceed with plans for COVID-19 vaccinations to be offered at the high school for 16, 17 and 18 year olds. This initiative will provide rapid, highly efficient vaccination for an estimated 200 people by the MRC, CERT and Vashon Pharmacy program, rather than having the patients come one-by-one to the drive-through vaccination site.
  • MRC has connected the School District with a state-sponsored COVID-19 surveillance testing pilot program. The opportunity involves the laboratory that provides services for the MRC testing site. The test protocol utilizes pooled testing as an efficient way to test large numbers of people with less logistical effort than one-by-one testing. Pooled testing in this case would sample groups of 20 patients for one lab analysis, thereby getting large numbers of people tested. If one of the pooled samples shows an infection, then each of the 20 patients in that group would be individually tested. The technique has been shown to be very effective in use in large groups of people, such as school settings, where surveillance can help prevent spread of COVID-19.
Vax Access: The focus continues on making vaccinations accessible to those who face significant barriers to access. A round of vaccinations has been provided to homebound individuals, and there has been significant success in reaching Spanish speakers who need assistance. Spanish language interpretation is being provided on days when Latinx patients have been concentrated in the drive-through site appointment system.

Vashon COVID Relief Fund: Disbursements are being prepared for April for funding to island nonprofit organizations that partner with VashonBePrepared to provide food security, housing security, social services, and economic recovery assistance to respond to the pandemic emergency. The disbursements, to be finalized next week, will total about $45,000 this month. The Relief Fund grew out of public donations, which have been replenished by federal reimbursements arranged through support from King County Office of Emergency Management, VIFR, and FEMA. This will be the 15th round of funding since the Relief Fund was established, soon after the pandemic emergency was declared on Vashon.

Economic Recovery: The VashonBePrepared Executive Committee signed off this week on Relief Fund support for the new Chamber of Commerce economic recovery program called This Is Vashon. The multi-dimensional program includes centralized marketing of island businesses through a business directory and website, along with webinars and other consultation support to help island businesses in areas such as advertising, COVID safety, licensing and permitting, business strategy, and business law.

Acknowledgements: This week we give special thanks to two businesses who have been essential to our emergency response during the pandemic. The island's two hardware and building materials supply stores have been essential partners for both of our outdoors operations -- the testing site and the drive-through vaccination site.  So, thanks to Doug Snyder at Ace Hardware Service Center for help with tent rentals, and thanks to Steve Snyder at Island Home Center and Lumber, for help sourcing the many materials needed.

Items from Previous Situation Reports:

PDF Archive of items from March here (previous months available to the right)
See Food and Housing security items below Previous Developments

Previous Developments:

Johnson & Johnson Vaccine put on hold: Vaccinations were able to continue today at the Vashon Pharmacy drive-through site with an alternate vaccine available for patients who desired it. The CDC and FDA have decided to pause administration of the J&J vaccine nationwide; the federal announcement came early this morning and WA Department of Health joined the pause later in the day. The precautionary step was taken because six cases have been identified in the U.S. with patients affected by a severe type of blood clot problem. However, nearly seven million J&J vaccinations have taken place in the U.S., so the potential side effect was described by officials as extremely rare and still under investigation. Fewer than 20 people on Vashon have received the J&J vaccine from the Vashon Pharmacy drive-through site and none at Sea Mar, although a number of Vashon residents probably received J&J doses at off-island vaccination providers. There were roughly six dozen people scheduled for J&J vaccinations today, and they were offered Moderna as a replacement so their vaccinations could go ahead. They were automatically booked for the necessary second dose appointments.

The Overview: Vaccination availability on the island has been moderate this week at both of the active vaccination providers.  On Thursday, demand will ramp up when nearly all restrictions are removed and everyone 16 years or older becomes eligible. However, it will be important to bear in mind that eligibility does not equal vaccine supply, and demand will probably far exceed the available doses at first.

Governor Inslee announced on Monday that King County will stay at Phase 3 reopening status and will not be required to roll back to Phase 2 restrictions.  That means Vashon restaurants, along with other businesses and nonprofits, can stay open at 50% capacity limits and will not need to cut back to 25%. Although King County’s case count and hospitalization metrics have been increasing sharply in recent weeks, performance indicators on the Public Health – Seattle & King County (PHSKC) data dashboard stayed short of the red line that would have triggered a rollback.  On the decision deadline date, Monday, April 12th, King County averaged 195 cases per 100,000 population over 14 days, just five points below the red line mark of 200.  New COVID hospitalizations were at 3.7 per 100,000, well below the red line mark of five.     (4/13/21)

Pierce County didn’t meet requirements to remain in Phase 3 of the Healthy Washington–Roadmap to Recovery plan, said Governor Inslee.  The county will move back to Phase 2 effective April 16.  Pierce county case data reports 250.3 new cases per 100,000 population averaged over 14 days and 6.8 new hospitalizations per 100,000 population over 7 days.  Both metrics exceed the levels required to sustain the more relaxed Phase 3 COVID safety measures. Phase 2 will reduce maximum gathering sizes and capacity of retail, food, worship and entertainment establishments.  (4/13/21)

Three Counties moved back to Phase 2 of the Healthy Washington–Roadmap to Recovery plan.  In addition to Pierce County, Whitman and Cowlitz were also rolled back to Phase 2.  "When we see increased rates of cases and hospitalizations, we need to act fast and do the right thing county-by-county to prevent more serious consequences from COVID-19 in our state,” said Dr. Umair A. Shah, Secretary of Health, describing the move as a tough decision.  Shah said, “There is still time to turn the tide and slow the spread of COVID-19 before it turns into a fourth wave, but we need to take these preventative measures over the next few months at least to get numbers going in the right direction again.  Vaccine is a crucial tool, but it isn’t the only tool, and we don’t have enough vaccine yet to keep the majority of Washingtonians safe from the spread of disease.  To keep yourself and others safe we still need to follow simple protection.”  Everyone, including fully vaccinated people, should continue to:

  • ●Wear masks and socially distance in public.
  • ●Avoid medium or larger-sized gatherings
  • ●Delay domestic and international travel. If you do travel, you still need to follow CDC requirements.
  • ●Watch for symptoms of COVID-19, especially if you have been around someone who is sick. If you have symptoms of COVID-19, get tested and stay home and away from others.
  • ●Follow guidance at your workplace.  (4/13/21)

Vashon High School students return to hybrid in-person learning this week.  The return will be phased in over several days, starting with freshman orientation.  Students will be assigned to one of two hybrid learning groups. The move completes the weeks-long process of bringing back all the Vashon Island School District students to at least some classroom learning.   (4/13/21)

Vashon Senior Center Virtual Talk presents: “Are We Prepared Yet?”  Presenter Vicky de Monterey Richoux, President of VashonBePrepared, will give an interactive presentation about easy steps to take to increase our preparedness for any kind of adverse incident in our homes, our neighborhoods, and beyond.  People who attend preparedness talks are often surprised to learn how resilient they already are.  Bring your ideas as well as your questions.  The Zoom talk is Friday, April 16 from 1:00 to 2:30 pm.  Zoom Meeting ID: 925 3699 0595  (4/13/21)

Free Home Fire Safety Sessions: The Red Cross wants to teach you how to prevent a home fire and stay safe if one does occur, and you can get the help virtually.  Home fires claim seven lives every day in the United States, but you can help change that.  At the link below you can learn about home fire safety topics including the most common causes of home fires, the importance of creating an escape plan, how to test your smoke alarms, and how to prepare for an earthquake or wildfire.  And, you can schedule a free one-on-one call with one of our virtual Home Fire Campaign safety team members.  You will be offered a free smoke alarm installation once it is safe to do so.  Visit or call 833-918-1531 to request a virtual home fire safety appointment.  (4/13/21)

Pfizer/BioNTech has requested amendments to the US FDA Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for their SARS-CoV-2 vaccine to expand its use to adolescents ages 12 to 15 years.  The current approval authorizes the vaccine’s use among people ages 16 and older.  The request is based on data from a Phase 3 clinical trial among adolescents ages 12 to 15 with or without evidence of prior SARS-CoV-2 infection, which demonstrated 100% efficacy and robust antibody responses after vaccination.  The trial data are not yet published, but the companies plan to submit the results for publication in a peer-reviewed journal. CDC Director Rochelle Walensky predicted the vaccine could be authorized for the younger age group by mid-May.  (4/13/21)

Washington State Department of Health indicated Wednesday that King and Pierce counties could soon be facing a move back to Phase 2 of reopening.  In order to remain in Phase 3, large counties need to have 200 or fewer new cases per 100,000 residents over two weeks, and five or fewer hospitalizations per 100,000 residents over the past week.  Cases and hospitalizations in both counties — as well as several others — are also continuing to rise at a significant rate.  A shift back to Phase 2 would decrease capacity of indoor dining, retail, fitness centers, salons, and entertainment from 50% to 25%.  The state does not plan to add any new, additional restrictions to the phase.  (4/9/21)

Gov. Jay Inslee today updated and clarified the criteria for counties to stay in Phase 3 of the state's Healthy Washington pandemic reopening plan.  Each county will be evaluated on Monday April 12 to determine its phase that will be effective on April 16.  In order to move down one phase, a county must fail bothmetrics for case counts and hospitalizations.  Under the previous plan, a county only needed to fail one metric to move back one phase.  As of today’s Situation Report, King County has a 14-day average for cases of 187.8 and a 14-day hospitalization rate of 3.9.  Both of these targets are just below the values needed to remain in Phase 3. Pierce County reports a 14-day case average of 197.9 and a hospitalization rate of 5.1, which is slightly above the Phase 3 threshold.  Official determinations of Healthy Washington status will be made on Monday, April 12th.  (4/9/21)

Hospitals are seeing more adults in their 30s and 40s admitted with severe cases of Covid-19, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said Wednesday.  “Data suggests this is all happening as we are seeing increasing prevalence of variants, with 52 jurisdictions now reporting cases of variants of concern,” Walensky said.  Scientists say new variants of the coronavirus are more transmissible and some of them may be more lethal as well, resulting in more severe cases.  The highly contagious B.1.1.7 variant from the United Kingdom has become the dominant strain circulating in the United States, Walensky said.  “I’m pleading with you, for the sake of our nation’s health,” Walensky said, warning that traveling for spring break could lead to another rise in cases, especially in Florida where the variant was rapidly spreading.  The B.1.1.7 variant has since spread, and is about 50% more transmissible than the original strain of the coronavirus.  (4/9/21)

Johnson & Johnson production issues will result in a substantial decrease in the number of COVID-19 vaccine doses being delivered to Washington State.  On April 1, the state expected to receive 109,000 Johnson & Johnson doses in the first full week of April, and 41,000 each week for the following two weeks. Now, the state expects 12,900 Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine doses for the week of April 11, and 4,300 doses in subsequent weeks.  Nearly 15 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine were ruined at a manufacturing plant.  The quantity of Pfizer and Moderna doses being delivered in April remains stable, with the number of those doses being delivered expected to be slightly higher than previously anticipated.   (4/9/21)

Guidance for Graduation Ceremonies has been updated by the Governor’s office.  Schools should plan to prevent large gatherings and to keep physical distancing.  Ceremonies must align with the Governor's Healthy Washington Roadmap to Recovery guidance.  The guidance recommends ceremonies should be outdoors in a well-ventilated area, have no more than five people, and should have no person-to-person contact.   (4/9/21)

CDC has updated guidance for domestic and international travel and Gov. Inslee has confirmed these are the travel guidelines for Washingtonians.  The most important recommendation is that CDC recommends limiting non-essential travel to reduce the spread of COVID-19, even if vaccinated.  The PHSKC website for frequently asked questions about COVID-19 has a summary table for domestic and international travel recommendations based on vaccination level.  Visit question 24 at  (4/9/21)

Starting April 15, everyone ages 16 and older will be eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine. Those age 16 or 17 may need consent from a parent or guardian to get the vaccine, unless they are legally emancipated.  Currently Pfizer-BioNTech is the only COVID-19 vaccine authorized for people 16 years of age and 17. Moderna and Johnson & Johnson are authorized for people 18 and older.  (4/9/21)

Appointments are now being taken for people 16 and up for COVID-19 vaccine doses at Seattle vaccination sites beginning April 15.  You can also sign up for the City of Seattle Vaccine Notification list to receive email notifications for available appointments at  Please note that the King County mass-vaccinations sites ( block appointments from Vashon’s zip code, but the City of Seattle sites will allow Vashon appointments.  (4/9/21)

CDC has updated its surface-cleaning guidelines and noted that the risk of contracting the virus from touching a contaminated surface was less than 1 in 10,000.  “People can be affected with the virus that causes Covid-19 through contact with contaminated surfaces and objects,” said Dr. Rochelle Walensky, the director of the C.D.C.  “However, evidence has demonstrated that the risk by this route of infection of transmission is actually low.”  “The most important part of this update is that they’re clearly communicating to the public the correct, low risk from surfaces, which is not a message that has been clearly communicated for the past year,” said Joseph Allen, a building safety expert at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.  Catching the virus from surfaces remains theoretically possible, he noted.  But it requires many things to go wrong: a lot of fresh, infectious viral particles to be deposited on a surface, and then for a relatively large quantity of them to be quickly transferred to someone’s hand and then to their face.  “Presence on a surface does not equal risk,” Dr. Allen said.   (4/9/21)

Washington State Department of Commerce launched a new round of free online business trainings for small businesses interested in achieving significant growth in the wake of COVID.  The Rebuild Edition is focused on helping small businesses restart and rebuild by improving their strategic decision-making, creating new operational efficiencies, and strengthening the bottom line.  Interested businesses can choose from three different tracks in the ongoing series at  (4/9/21)

Even though the tax filing deadline has been moved to May 17, tax experts are saying you should not procrastinate.  If you need tax assistance, there are two free options available on Vashon.  You can call or text Deborah Diamond, (206) 200-3236, to set up an appointment to prepare your 2020 tax return by phone.  The second option is to set up a socially distanced appointment with an AARP Tax Aide at the Vashon Lutheran Church.  This assistance is provided on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons through May 6, 2021.  Contact Jim Hauser at (206) 463-5117 to set up an AARP appointment.  (4/9/21)

April 1 was the last day of Vashon Island School District food delivery by bus/van routes.  Every student will have the opportunity to pick up food when they are at school, free of charge.  The pickup location at the west side of VHS will continue to be available for the Vashon community, including students who are remote learning or alternative schooling and community members, from 8am to 1pm, Monday through Friday, on scheduled school days.  During the 2020-2021 school year, meals are available to all children ages 1 through 18 free of charge, and meals are available to adults for $5.00.  (4/9/21)

Casa Bonita Opening: The Casa Bonita quarantine period ends this weekend and, after deep cleaning has been completed, the restaurant will be open this coming week. Negative COVID-19 tests have come back for all of the staff and all of the other potentially exposed people identified during the Medical Reserve Corps contact tracing.  (4/9/21)

●      Patty's Place Closing: Patty’s Place restaurant has voluntarily closed for two weeks as a COVID-19 safety measure.  A staff member tested positive yesterday.  The closure could be a significant financial drain on the family-owned and operated business.  However, owner Patty Freebourn decided to close to help protect the community. VashonBePrepared thanks the owner for this community-minded step.  Patty and the MRC have issued an appeal for customers from this past week to call the MRC phone number to get screened in case they need testing.  “We need to help everyone stay safe and we love our customers. Those two things will get us through this. Safety is number one,” said Freebourn.“ We are working with the Medical Reserve Corps to help with the contact tracing. Please, everyone get vaccinated.  Wear your mask.  Wash your hands.  Maintain social distancing.  Thank you for joining us in this safety effort and we can’t wait to open again in two weeks.”  Please call the Medical Reserve Corps if you dined inside the restaurant Monday through Thursday midday, April 5 through 8. The Medical Reserve Corps number is: (844) 469-4554.  There’s no need to call if you simply picked up a takeout order. Callers will be screened to see if they require testing. MRC experts consider the risk to be relatively low, since most customers of Patty’s Place do take-out. But everyone should call for the screening in order to be safe.   (4/9/21)

Vashon Library will be opening to the public on Friday, April 9th with limited capacity (20 people at a time).  The in-building service will initially be limited to Fridays and Saturdays for alternating one-hour time slots.  The library will continue to offer curbside service on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.  For more information and hours visit    (4/6/21)

Public Health-Seattle & King County has updated their Frequently Asked Questions webpage about COVID-19 vaccine.  The site answers questions on vaccine safety, how the vaccines work, availability, and what to expect when receiving the vaccine.  Information is available in many languages.  Visit:    (4/6/21)

Go behind the scenes of the Vashon emergency response to the pandemic by streaming The Vashon Model: A Community-based Response to COVID, on Thursday April 8 at 7pm.  Well-known island writer and radio personality Susan McCabe will moderate the discussion between doctors James Bristow, Ina Opplinger, Clayton Olney, and Jinna Risdal from the Vashon Medical Reserve Corps, all of whom are key players in Vashon’s nationally-recognized response to the COVID pandemic.  To register for the free Zoom event, go to

Seattle area residents are among the most likely to get vaccinated based on a national survey by the US Census Bureau.  A nationwide survey conducted in early March asked people whether they would get vaccinated.  Seattle had the highest intention to vaccinate of any city at 73%, a jump of 5 points since a previous poll in January.  The Puget Sound metro area also had a higher intention to get vaccinated than other metro areas in the survey.

Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler extended his emergency order until May 2, directing all state-regulated health insurers to make additional coverage changes to aid consumers during the coronavirus pandemic.  The order continues coverage for providing telehealth; coverage of all medically necessary diagnostic testing for flu and certain other viral respiratory illnesses billed during a provider visit for COVID-19 with no copay, coinsurance or deductible; and for insurers to treat drive-up testing sites for COVID-19 as provider visits with no copay, coinsurance or deductible.   (4/6/21)

Children may be susceptible to contracting COVID-19 from the more contagious variant B.1.1.7 first detected in the U.K.  “It infects kids very readily. Unlike the previous strains of the virus, [where] we didn’t see children under eighth grade get infected often,” said Dr. Michael Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota.  Dr. Danielle Zerr, the division chief of Pediatric Infectious Disease Research at Seattle Children’s said if the B.1.1.7 variant is found to be spreading in children, vaccinating them will be an important part of reaching herd immunity.  She said, “I think we really need to wait to see the data, really analyze the evidence on that as to whether or not kids are truly going to experience more severe illness with the U.K. variant.” Implementing safety measures is the key to keeping children safe — social distancing, wearing masks and washing hands.   (4/6/21)

Pfizer-BioNTech announced findings from a Phase 3 clinical trial of its SARS-CoV-2 vaccine among adolescents ages 12-15 with or without evidence of previous infection.  No symptomatic COVID-19 cases were identified in the vaccinated group of more than 1,300 kids. Eighteen symptomatic COVID-19 cases were identified in the placebo group of 1,129 children. Those figures translate to 100% vaccine efficacy among vaccinated participants.  Vaccinated participants demonstrated strong immune response one month after their second dose, and the vaccine was well-tolerated.  Both immune response and side effects were consistent with results seen in previous trials among participants 16 to 25 years of age.  Pfizer-BioNTech plans to submit amendments to the US FDA and the European Medicines Agency for use of the vaccine among individuals 12 and older under the current US Emergency.    (4/6/21)

End-of-Day Waitlist/Cancellation: Vashon Pharmacy has added two features to its vaccination signup page. At the beginning of each day, up to twelve people can put their names in to be called if any vaccine doses are left at the end of the day.  This morning the waitlist filled in 15 minutes.  The waitlist of eligible persons is reset to zero each day.  In addition, there's now an appointment cancellation feature that will help reduce the number of no-shows.  Both features are available at the appointment signup website:

Vax Access: The outreach to Spanish speaking residents of Vashon has so far helped more than 60 people book vaccination appointments.  The Vax Access program helps promote access equity for people experiencing significant barriers to vaccination, such as physical challenges, lack of computer, and lack of English language skills.  Work also continues on providing mobile vaccinations to homebound residents.

“Disease transmission is increasing and we are seeing concerning signs.” said Dr. Umair A. Shah, Secretary of Health.  “Case counts are showing increases in King County, Pierce County, Snohomish County.”  Shah said health officials believe people could be letting up on the measures known to prevent transmission, such as masking and distancing.  “We are not out of the pandemic until we’re out of the pandemic, meaning: Don’t let your guard down,” Shah said.  And coronavirus variants of concern — which could spread more easily, cause more harm, or more readily escape treatment or immunity by vaccination — now make up a majority of most recent cases to receive genomic sequencing by Washington laboratories.  Scientists believe two variants, named B.1.429 and B.1.427, are roughly 20% more transmissible. They may be resistant to some types of treatments, and could cause some reduction in vaccine performance.  The B.1.1.7 variant, which scientists believe is about 50% more transmissible and could cause more severe COVID-19 symptoms, is also spreading, according to state data.    (4/2/21)

State health leaders are pleading for people to stay home for spring break.  COVID-19 cases are climbing, and this is not the time for Washingtonians to let down their guard.  “Don’t travel unless it’s absolutely necessary,” said Dr. Scott Lindquist, acting state health officer.  He said to stay home even if you are fully vaccinated.  “I know that’s a hard message to send to folks who want to go on spring break. But truly, we are seeing cases in vaccinated people that are breakthrough, that have done just that, people who traveled to spring break, etc.”  The state is following Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines, which state you should get tested for COVID-19 before you fly and when you get back. They want travelers to self-quarantine for a full seven days after travel, even if their test is negative.   (4/2/21)

"We are getting closer to knocking out the pandemic, but we are not there yet, and there are very concerning warning signs that we could be headed for a fourth major spike in infection.  Our community has the lowest infection rate in King County, but all around us the numbers are rising" said Dr. Jim Bristow, Co-Coordinator of Vashon Medical Reserve Corps and leader of the island's COVID-19 testing effort.  "For some weeks at the test site, a big percentage of our patients have been requesting testing so they can travel. It's easy to understand why, after more than a year of pandemic.  Unfortunately, the number one source of infections for the past year has been people traveling off island and bringing the infection home with them.  If we can hold out for another couple of months, many more people will be protected by vaccination and it will be much safer," he continued.  His advice: stay home a bit longer, mask, distance, and wash hands to keep our community safe.  (4/2/21)

Mask-wearing is essential in preventing the spread of COVID, said King County Health Officer Dr. Jeff Duchin.  Adding “COVID-19 spreads through the air, and the risk is highest in crowded and indoor spaces with poor ventilation.”  New data from King County from November to February found that 89% of county residents were following the state mandate and wearing a mask that covered their nose and mouth.  One goal of the study was to identify any areas of lower mask usage to tailor messaging to those communities.  Masking was highest in grocery stores and hardware stores (94-97%) and lower for people entering convenience stores and at transit centers (76-84%). Children were less likely than other age groups to be wearing masks. “Wearing a well-made and snug-fitting mask is one of our best tools against COVID-19.” Said Duchin.    (4/2/21)

Gov. Jay Inslee announced that everyone 16 and older who wants a COVID-19 vaccine will be eligible to receive one in Washington state, starting on April 15.  The state’s phased eligibility approach was designed to ensure the most vulnerable people got vaccinated first, including older adults, those in long term care facilities, critical healthcare workers, and more.  The expansion of eligibility comes, in response to a recent uptick in COVID cases in the state, and a forecast of increased vaccine allocations by the federal government.  Currently, Pfizer-BioNTech is the only COVID-19 vaccine authorized for people 16 years of age and older.  Moderna and Johnson & Johnson are authorized for people 18 and older.  Those age 16 or 17 may need consent from a parent or guardian to get the vaccine, unless they are legally emancipated.    (4/2/21)

CDC has updated its travel recommendations for vaccinated travelers.  International travel poses additional risks, and even fully vaccinated travelers are at increased risk for getting and possibly spreading new COVID-19 variants.  CDC recommends delaying international travel until you are fully vaccinated.  Even after you are fully vaccinated with an FDA-authorized vaccine, you should continue to follow CDC’s recommendations for traveling safely, and get tested 3-5 days after travel.  Vaccinated travelers do NOT need to get tested before leaving the United States unless your destination requires it, and you do NOT need to self-quarantine after arriving in the United States.  Full recommendation at    (4/2/21)

The Washington Department of Health has updated some of its Phase 3 business guidance.  These updates include farm and agricultural workers, long-term care facilities, food workers and establishments (including outdoor farmer’s markets), and homeless shelters.  For the full updates visit:    (4/2/21)

The Washington State Department of Health (DOH) is investigating reports of people in the state who tested positive for COVID-19 more than two weeks after being fully vaccinated. Scientists call these “vaccine breakthrough” cases, which are expected with any vaccine.  “It is important to remember that every vaccine on the market right now prevents severe disease and death in most cases,” said Dr. Umair A. Shah, Secretary of Health.  “People should still get vaccinated as soon as they are eligible, and encourage friends, loved ones, and co-workers to do the same.  Finding evidence of vaccine breakthrough cases reminds us that, even if you have been vaccinated, you still need to wear a mask, practice socially distancing, and wash your hands to prevent spreading COVID-19 to others who have not been vaccinated,” said Secretary Shah. (4/2/21)

Cassie Sauer, president of the Washington State Hospital Association, says it’s important to protect those most at-risk, but that it’s also tough to ignore that rises in case counts can be traced back to younger populations not yet eligible for the vaccine.  “The states that are seeing an uptick are seeing transmission fueled by people in that 25, 30, 35 age range — they’re not eligible but they’re spreading it,” she said.    (4/2/21)

Lives Well Lived, a new series by Vashon Heritage Museum (VHM) and Vashon Community Care (VCC), will host a talk entitled The Vashon Model: A Community-based Response to COVID, on Thursday April 8 at 7pm.  Well-known island writer and radio personality Susan McCabe will moderate the discussion between doctors James Bristow, Ina Opplinger, Clayton Olney, and Jinna Risdal from Vashon Medical Reserve Corps, all of whom are key players in Vashon’s nationally-recognized response to the COVID pandemic.  To register for the free Zoom event, go to (4/2/21)

Vashon Hwy SW CLOSED at Judd Creek Bridge (South of SW Quartermaster Drive) - April 5 until April 28.  Starting as soon as 8 a.m. on Monday, April 5 through 8 a.m. Wednesday, April 28, both directions of Vashon Highway SW at Judd Creek between SW 227th Street and SW 225th Street (just south of SW Quartermaster Dr.) will be fully closed around the clock for Judd Creek Bridge repairs.  Local access to homes and businesses north and south of the Judd Creek Bridge will be maintained throughout construction.  A signed detour will direct through traffic off of Vashon Highway SW between SW Burton Drive and SW 204th Street. View the detour and get more information on the project website:    (4/2/21)

Special enrollment period for health insurance has again been extended through August 15 for people who are uninsured.  Anyone who doesn’t have health insurance can buy a plan directly from an insurer or through the Washington Health Benefit Exchange.  If you buy a plan through the Exchange, you may qualify for federal help paying your premium; additional funding is now available to subsidize health coverage, even eliminating premium payments for some.     (4/2/21)

If you lost your health insurance or had a reduction in income you may now qualify for the free Apple Health Insurance.  Public Health - Seattle & King County is offering to assist people signing up for health insurance plans, including Apple Health, as well as SNAP (food stamps) and Orca Lift transit cards. Contact Miguel Urquiza directly at 206-491-3761 (cell) or 206-477-6965 or email  Miguel speaks Spanish and helps Vashon residents access health-related resources..   (4/2/21)

Washington State DOH has released a report of COVID-19 outbreaks in Washington state K-12 schools.  The report covers the period between Aug. 1, 2020, and Feb. 28, 2021, where 134 COVID-19 outbreaks and 526 COVID-19 cases in K-12 schools were reported to DOH. For the full report visit (4/2/21)

Casa Bonita restaurant has closed for two weeks as a voluntary COVID safety measure and the staff are in voluntary quarantine and being tested. Two staff at the restaurant tested positive earlier this week. The Vashon Medical Reserve Corps (MRC) and the owner of the restaurant issued an appeal for members of the public who may have been exposed to call the MRC phone line to be screened for possible testing. Please only call if you were served inside the restaurant on Thursday, Friday, or Saturday, March 25 through 27. You need not call if you were ordering or picking up to go orders unless you spent more than 15 minutes in the restaurant. The MRC number is: (844) 469-4554. So far, a total of 32 Vashon residents have been tested and only the two original cases have tested positive.   (4/2/21)

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.