Situation Report #164

March 19th, 2021 - Posted in Alerts, Uncategorized

COVID-19 Vashon Situation Report    The Vashon Emergency Operations Center produces this briefing for our emergency workers and for the community. The situation report is published Tuesday and Friday and includes information on Vashon community response actions and support.
You can read the full text of today’s report as a PDF and access older ones at: https://vashonbeprepared.org/News/SitReps
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Vashon Vaccine Availability: 

The Overview: 
Both of the active vaccination locations on the island say they will not receive any new vaccine shipments and there will be no appointments in the coming week for new first dose patients. There are off-island alternatives; that information has been summarized below.

Going Off Island for Jabs: 
Although vaccine eligibility in WA widened this week, as indicated above, Vashon will not be receiving vaccine for next week to serve the newly eligible. Thus, unless there is an unexpected change, there will not be any first dose appointments for new vaccination patients on the island for at least a week. However, a number of sites within driving distance are making appointments in King, Pierce and Kitsap counties. Here are some websites to check for vaccination opportunities:
Vaccinate WA:  vaccinelocator.doh.wa.gov
WA COVID Vaccine Finder:  www.covidwa.com.
City of Seattle Vaccination Notification List:  bit.ly/VaxNotificationList
Check back with these websites frequently and refresh your browser to find the most convenient locations for you, until the Vashon sites are back in action.  Keep in mind that your mainland healthcare provider may also be a resource (CHI Franciscan, Multicare, Kaiser, etc.).  And all veterans enrolled in the Veterans Administration VA system are eligible at VA facilities.through them.

Vaccination eligibility for Washington State currently includes those in tiers 1a, 1b1, and 1b2, including pre-K to grade 12 educators and staff, as well as licensed daycare workers.  Vaccine Phase 1b2 began for all of Washington State on March 17. Vaccine eligibility for Phase 1b, Tier 2 includes:  
High-risk critical workers in certain congregate settings in agriculture, fishing vessel crews, food processing, grocery store/food bank, corrections (prisons, jails, detention centers), court of law, public transit, first responders not included in earlier tiers (except administrators or those who can work remotely), early learning and child care program workers in child care, youth development, and day camps that were not covered in Phase 1b1.
Congregate setting refers to work in an enclosed space around other people where physical distancing cannot occur.
Pregnant people
People with a disability that puts them at high risk for severe COVID-19 illness.
For full definitions of eligibility, visit https://www.kingcounty.gov/depts/health/covid-19/vaccine/distribution.aspx


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.
VashonBePrepared.org/COVID-Vaccine
VashonPharmacy.com/covid
SeaMar.org/covid-vaccine
VashonNaturalMed.com


Overall Vaccination Progress: 
One reason Vashon is not receiving new vaccine shipments is the very high success rate the island has achieved at vaccinating our seniors. According to the data dashboard published by Public Health — Seattle and King County (PHSKC), Vashon has a better vaccination rate than any other region of the county. The vaccination rate of the general population on Vashon aged 16+ is nearly 43%. The first-dose vaccination rate of the island’s seniors, aged 65+, has reached nearly 112%. Obviously it’s not logically possible to vaccinate more than 100% of the island’s seniors, this is a function of older census data, but the high figure does indicate that senior vaccination has reached saturation.


Sea Mar at Sunrise Ridge: 
Sea Mar currently does not expect to receive any vaccine allocated for first doses and thus will not be able hold any public vaccination clinic this coming week.  Sea Mar will be keeping commitments next week for second doses of both Moderna and Pfizer vaccines.


Vashon Pharmacy: 
For the third week, the Pharmacy’s request for vaccines was denied by the state Department of Health (DOH). The allocations are going to other areas that have not yet been as successful in vaccinating the target populations.


Current Virus Statistics:

Vashon Island COVID-19 Case Count as of 3/19/21:*
108 confirmed positive cases, 0 new cases since last Situation Report on Tuesday
Date of last positive test: March 3
0 new positives in past 7 days and 0 positives in the past 14 days  
4 people have been hospitalized. Date of last hospitalization: March 18, no information is available about the most recent hospitalization
3 Vashon deaths per the King County dashboard, last death reported 2/27/21


King County COVID-19 Case Count as of 3/19/21:*
85,073 confirmed positive cases, 657 new since last Situation Report on Tuesday
1,450 deaths, 9 new since last Situation Report on Tuesday


Washington State COVID-19 Case Count as of 3/17/21:*
352,907 confirmed positive cases, 2,401 new since last Situation Report Tuesday
5,168 deaths, 332 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:


Test, test, test…it’s still a crucial tool to stop the pandemic. “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. The MRC experts gleaned some important lessons from analyzing one recent case. They are issuing a reminder to everyone that a vaccination does not provide full protection until two weeks after the second dose. It is entirely possible for someone to get their shot and get COVID. “That’s one reason we always remind people to mask, distance, and hand wash even after getting your shots. In one recent case, a patient assumed their respiratory symptoms were just a reaction from the vaccination, but they got tested and sure enough, they had COVID-19,” Dr. Bristow emphasized. “Please, 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.”


Vaccine is the best tool we have to prevent the spread COVID-19.  It is important that people who receive the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine complete the entire two-dose series as close to the recommended time interval as possible. The Johnson & Johnson vaccine is a single dose.
Two doses of Pfizer should be given three weeks or 21 days apart
Two doses of Moderna should be given one month or 28 days apar
Providers are prioritizing second doses to ensure series completion, by scheduling second dose appointments when people receive their first dose of vaccine.  Local providers are sending appointment reminders, rescheduling missed or canceled appointments, and promoting the importance of receiving a second dose for the best protection.


People are considered fully vaccinated:
Two weeks after the second dose in a two-dose series, like the Moderna or Pfizer vaccines OR
Two weeks after a single-dose vaccine, like Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine
If it has been less than 2 weeks since your shot, or if you still need to get your second dose, you are NOT fully protected. Even 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.
We are still learning how well vaccines prevent the spread of COVID-19, and updates are ongoing https://www.kingcounty.gov/depts/health/covid-19/vaccine/distribution.aspx


Local COVID Activity:

new positive COVID-19 test has been reported at Vashon Island School District (VISD) that has not yet appeared on the PHSKC dashboard. In an update today, VISD Superintendent Slade McSheehy indicated that testing and contact tracing have been completed for a new positive COVID-19 case at the School District office. The District has determined that the positive case was not a result of any school program or activity.  The patient who tested positive is isolating at home and several potentially exposed people were tested. All the potential contacts have tested negative. However, a few of the potential contacts remain in quarantine, in accordance with the District’s protocols and guidelines from the state Department of Health. 

New Developments since Last Report:

Gov. Jay Inslee announced Thursday that the state will open up COVID-19 vaccine eligibility for the next two tiers (1b3 and 1b4) earlier than originally expected. Additionally, the state will lower the eligibility age to 60. This expansion and acceleration of the timeline is due to increasing availability of vaccine and improving vaccination rates. The expansion will open up appointments on March 31st for:
Anyone with two or more comorbidities (diseases or medical conditions).
Anyone between the ages of 60 and 64.
Anyone living in congregate settings (correctional facilities, group homes for those with disabilities, those experiencing homelessness, etc.).
Additional workers in congregate settings (restaurants, manufacturing, construction)  https://medium.com/wagovernor/inslee-announces-extension-of-eviction-moratorium-expansion-of-vaccine-eligibility-long-term-635b34eb0ca


The state Department of Health launched a new Vaccine Locator tool that aims to simplify the appointment scheduling process. It will display all available appointments within a 50 mile radius of your zip code, and is available in multiple languages.    https://vaccinelocator.doh.wa.gov


For more information on vaccine eligibility, use the Phase Finder tool from the state Department of Health.  Phase Finder will let you know if you are eligible, but does not schedule an appointment. It also checks your eligibility only for the current phase, so can’t tell you which future vaccination eligibility tier you will qualify for.  https://form.findyourphasewa.org/210118771253954


The Washington State Department of Health (DOH) shared Thursday that nearly double the current weekly allocation of COVID-19 vaccine doses is expected within the next month. “Thirty million doses of vaccine will be available each week across the nation,” said Michele Roberts, assistant secretary with the state DOH. “Breaking that down, that means about 600,000 doses of COVID19 vaccine should be coming here to Washington state each week in April.”  Right now, the state’s three-week forecast is “pretty steady,” according to the state DOH on Twitter. The department expects to receive about 345,000 doses of vaccine each week from now through early April. DOH also reported receiving a small unexpected allocation of 8,400 Johnson & Johnson doses this week.   https://coronavirus.wa.gov/news/covid-19-vaccine-distribution-update-washington-state-department-health-8


COVID-19 data show some concerning trends as well as promising signs for protection through vaccination. Case counts have increased slightly in western Washington and plateaued in eastern Washington as of late February. Case counts are still relatively high across the state—around the same level seen last October when the third wave of disease activity was ramping up.  Seeing numbers plateau or increase at these high levels is concerning. DOH wants to see these numbers continue to decline.  Cases are increasing among younger adults aged 20-29 and 30-39. This has previously been an early warning sign of larger surges in the general population. Case counts in other age groups were declining, but have now flattened. As more people who are 60 and older get vaccinated, there should be a more rapid decline in cases in this population. On the positive side, DOH has seen sharp declines in hospital admission rates among people 70 and older.  https://www.doh.wa.gov/Newsroom/Articles/ID/2684/COVID-19-data-show-some-concerning-trends-as-well-as-promising-signs-for-protection-through-vaccination


The current state eviction moratorium has been extended by Gov. Inslee through June 30, 2021. The governor also signed proclamations extending the utility shutoff moratorium and debt garnishment on federal pandemic payments through July 31, 2021.  https://www.governor.wa.gov/sites/default/files/proclamations/proc_20-19.6.pdf


Governor Inslee said Thursday that it’s now safe to resume visitation for the state’s nursing home and long-term care facilities.  Outdoor visitation remains the safest and preferred option, but indoor visitation will be allowed for visitors or residents who are fully vaccinated. Compassionate care visits will remain allowed, regardless of vaccination status. https://mynorthwest.com/2702683/inslee-vaccine-eligibility-long-term-care


The Household Assistance Request program is available if your family needs financial support for housing costs to successfully isolate or quarantine. Anyone living in King County who tests positive or is exposed to COVID-19 may be eligible to receive a one-time household bill payment benefit of up to $1500 toward their current rent, mortgage, utility, water, phone, and internet bills. The Household Assistance Request program is funded by the WA Department of Health and will continue for as long as funds are available. https://www.kingcounty.gov/depts/health/covid-19/care/har-program.aspx


The Internal Revenue Service announced it is postponing the country’s tax-filing deadline until May 17, as the agency grapples with a mounting backlog of 24 million returns awaiting processing since the 2019 tax year. The effects of the IRS backlog already have been substantial: The delays have kept some Americans from receiving their tax refunds for months, while preventing some cash-strapped workers and companies nationwide from taking advantage of some of the stimulus benefits that Congress authorized to blunt the economic impact of the pandemic. For assistance with unemployment or tax issues, contact deborah@vashonbeprepared.org or (206) 200-3236 


The CDC made a major guidance revision today intended to encourage more schools to welcome children back to in-person instruction. The CDC relaxed the six-foot distancing rule for elementary school students, saying they need only remain three feet apart in classrooms as long as everyone is wearing a mask. The three-foot rule also now applies to students in middle schools and high schools, as long as community transmission is not high, CDC officials said. When transmission is high, however, these students must be at least six feet apart, unless they are taught in cohorts, or small groups that are kept separate from others. The six-foot rule still applies in the community at large, officials emphasized, and for teachers and other adults who work in schools, who must maintain that distance from other adults and from students. Locally at Vashon Island School District, Superintendent Slade McSheehy said “Washington DOH is reviewing the guidance and at this immediate time, there is no change to the current 6’ guidance.”   https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/schools-childcare/operation-strategy.html


Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler issued a consumer alert today to set the record straight about vaccines affecting life insurance policies and payouts. Misinformation has been circulating nationally, falsely noting that receiving a COVID-19 vaccine would void a policyholder’s life insurance coverage due to the rapid development of these vaccines. A person’s vaccine status is not part of policy language, nor is it a consideration when applying for a new policy.  “I encourage all people in Washington state to get a COVID-19 vaccine as soon as they are eligible and can find an appointment,” said Kreidler. “It is a life-saving measure for yourself and your loved ones. Rest assured that doing so will not affect your ability to qualify for life insurance or adversely affect your premiums or benefits.”  https://www.insurance.wa.gov/news/kreidler-sets-record-straight-vaccines-and-life-insurance


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 April 18, 2021. https://www.insurance.wa.gov/news/kreidler-extends-emergency-orders-coronavirus-testing-and-surprise-billing-april-18


Gov. Jay Inslee updated a proclamation which generally prohibits garnishment for consumer debt in certain circumstances. The update replaces the specific reference to “federal stimulus payments” with “federal payments of any kind issued in response to the COVID-19 pandemic”. The update will protect the new federal COVID-19 relief in the same manner that prior iterations of this proclamation protected federal stimulus payments. https://www.governor.wa.gov/sites/default/files/proclamations/proc_20-49.14.pdf


The Seattle Coronavirus Network (SCAN) study, a coalition of several organizations helping to support and inform King County’s response to COVID-19, has identified three priorities for 2021:
Gaining greater knowledge of COVID-19, especially as new variants emerge;
Working with community-based organizations to reduce inequities in testing and access to COVID-related resources, and;
Ensuring testing is available to groups at highest risk of infection, including essential workers and residents of adult family homes.
“The SCAN program is valuable to our contact tracing team, allowing an important option for home testing of people during their isolation or quarantine period, as well as convenient testing to worksites and adult family homes,” said Dr. Jeff Duchin, Health Officer for Public Health – Seattle & King County.  https://publichealthinsider.com/2021/03/18/seattle-coronavirus-assessment-network-scan-study-identifies-priorities-for-2021. To access SCAN’s at-home testing, see https://scanpublichealth.org.


Progress on Community Support Operations:

Emergency Operations Center (EOC): 
In response to the pandemic emergency, the EOC and other elements of our island emergency response coalition were activated more than one year ago (373 days), March 12th, 2020. Our four operational priorities were put in place shortly after activation, established by the Incident Commander, Fire Chief Charlie Krimmert, and approved by the VashonBePrepared Board. Those priorities continue to be health, food security, housing security and economic recovery.


Vaccination Operations: 
The drive-through vaccination site at Vashon Pharmacy will not operate this coming week.  As reported above, the state Department of Health denied the Pharmacy’s allocation request and will not be sending vaccine.  The EOC has shifted to making sure we provide information on mainland sources of vaccination.


Stimulus/Rescue: 
Work continues on plans to help local businesses, individuals and nonprofits take advantage of the new stimulus plan signed into law by President Biden earlier this week.  The plans will likely rely on public information and education support, working through our network of partners.

Gratitude Project: The Gratitude Project, a community thank you note campaign, has now been launched with the commemorative advertisement in this week’s Beachcomber.  You can request packets of free thank you cards to send to your neighbors volunteering in the pandemic response effort.  For details, see the ad or go to: vashonbeprepared.org/gratitudeproject

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