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VASHON EOC SITUATION REPORT # 91 – July 31, 2020
July 31st, 2020 - Posted in Alerts
COVID-19 Vashon Situation Report
Weekdays the Vashon Emergency Operations Center produces a briefing for our emergency workers and for the community. The M-W-F situation report includes information on Vashon community response actions and support.
You can read the full text of the report as a PDF here:
Current Virus Statistics:
Vashon Island COVID-19 Case Count as of 7/31/20:
King County COVID-19 Case Count as of 7/31/20:
Washington State COVID-19 Case Count as of 7/29/20:
NOTE: Federal law prohibits Public Health – Seattle & King County 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 (PHSKC) dashboard.
Health Tip of the Day:
Dr. Jim Bristow, Chairman of the Vashon Medical Reserve Corps testing project, notes that yesterday’s new positive test means Vashon has had four new cases this month. “We are fortunate that our infection rate remains relatively low compared to the mainland but that will change if we become complacent.” Dr. Bristow emphasized: “COVID-19 is here on Vashon. There will be more cases. Folks should assume that anyone they encounter may be capable of spreading the disease. Keep doing the proven things that keep you and those around you safe.” He urged everyone to wear a mask, social distance, wash your hands frequently, and stay at home to the extent possible. He pointed out that these steps are especially important now, when so many people come to the island from the mainland to enjoy the good summer weather and Vashon’s reputation for being relatively COVID safe.
New Developments since Last Report:
Updated University of Washington projections now estimate there will be 230,822 US deaths from COVID-19 by November. Over 152,000 people have already died so the projection means another 80,000 people could die between now and November. This update reflects an increase of about 11,000 from the university’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) last forecast on July 22. The latest death projections are due to an increase in infections and the refusal by some people to wear masks, to practice social distancing, and to perform other measures to mitigate the transmission of the virus. If the US universally adopted wearing masks, the number of deaths by November would drop to nearly 198,831, the model projected. The use of masks is up but not as high as it needs to be across the nation. However, there has been a rise in mask wearing across states and locations with increased cases and deaths, the IHME said. According to the Institute’s latest computer modeling, “If 95% of Americans wore masks each time they left their homes, infection rates would drop, hospitalizations would drop, and forecast deaths would drop,” said Ali Mokdad, a professor of health metrics sciences at IHME. “Unfortunately, people let down their guard until media report the risk of increased infections.” https://covid19.healthdata.org/united-states-of-america
A study by the Seattle Times highlights how the effects of the pandemic have varied dramatically from one community to another in King County. The Seattle Times story builds on data collected from the beginning of the epidemic by Public Health — Seattle & King County (PHSKC) through earlier this month. It shows that the percentage of positive tests, and the rates of testing and death from COVID-19 vary tremendously across the county. Generally, the PHSKC data shows that a higher percentage of positive tests means there is a higher level of the virus in a community. The areas with the lowest rates of positive tests are wealthier and whiter. In other words, where you live could make a big difference in your risk of contracting COVID-19. On Vashon Island, less than 1% of tests have come back positive. At the time of the Seattle Times study there had only been seven confirmed cases among Vashon residents, out of more than 1,100 people tested. But in the past two weeks PHSKC reports Vashon’s positives have risen to 11 (including one apparent false positive). The uptick in the Vashon disease count is a strong reminder that the virus is present on the island. To read the full story, visit: https://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/data/where-has-covid-19-hit-king-county-the-hardest-depends-where-you-live-data-shows
Public Health Insider reports the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, specifically the jobs lost as a result of the economic shutdown, has spanned across sectors but impacted some sectors and race/ethnicity disproportionally. These inequities, as well as their direct impact on the health of communities already experiencing significant health disparities both before and during the pandemic, will continue through the economic recovery and beyond unless efforts are made to address the structural racism and inequities that created and perpetuate them. Full report at https://publichealthinsider.com/2020/07/27/wage-gaps-unemployment-and-inequity-the-economic-impacts-of-a-pandemic-in-king-county
Federal Unemployment Boost has ended: The federally funded $600 boost to state unemployment benefits has expired with no replacement legislation yet passed by Congress. Any additional federal benefits passed by Congress could be retroactive to cover any gap weeks but there is no assurance that the Senate, House and President will agree on a stimulus package. They are currently quite far apart on a range of issues. Regular state unemployment and federal benefits created by the CARES Act, including the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (which expands eligibility) and the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (which provides 13 additional benefit weeks for eligible claimants), will continue through December 26, 2020.
Yesterday Gov. Inslee strengthened protection of personal information for persons responding to contact tracing requests. Inslee said “The success of the response to the COVID-19 epidemic depends in part on the free flow of information and individuals’ willingness to share information and cooperate with public health authorities,” “Ensuring the protection of a person’s personally identifiable information may determine whether that person will fully cooperate with COVID-19 case investigators and contact tracers,” Secretary of Health John Wiesman said. “While we believe that COVID-19 case investigation and contact tracing information, and the personally identifiable information that is gathered as a part of that work, is already exempt under the Public Records Act, we need certainty because ensuring the protection of a person’s personally identifiable information is critical to our COVID-19 efforts.” https://www.governor.wa.gov/sites/default/files/proc_20-64.pdf
Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler has extended his emergency order protecting consumers from receiving surprise bills for lab fees related to medically-necessary diagnostic testing for COVID-19 until August 27. His order applies to both in-state and out-of-state laboratories, when a provider orders diagnostic testing for COVID-19. The Commissioner also extended to August 27, his emergency order requiring health insurers to waive copays and deductibles for any consumer requiring testing for coronavirus (COVID-19). https://www.insurance.wa.gov/sites/default/files/documents/extension-of-emergency-order-20-06.pdf
Gov. Jay Inslee has extended a proclamation that protects high-risk employees and workers’ rights. The guidance memo confirms that employees who are 65 and older continue to be covered by the proclamation and clarifies processes for employers of individuals with certain medical conditions. https://www.governor.wa.gov/sites/default/files/Memo%20on%20High%20Risk%20Worker%20Proclamation.pdf
Today is the last day to participate in the Reconnect West Seattle Survey. SDOT is studying transportation options and has developed a survey for community input. The form does not include Vashon’s zip codes but they can be entered in the “other” box. The survey will close tonight, July 31. To participate in the survey visit https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/LM7MWN8
Progress on Community Support Operations:
Emergency Operations Center (EOC): This is day 141 (20 weeks, 2 days) since EOC activation on March 12. Currently activated at Maintenance & Monitoring level.
Long Range Planning: The Fire District Board of Commissioners has adopted the five year update of the Hazard Mitigation Plan and sent it to King County Office of Emergency Management. The plan, produced in collaboration with VashonBePrepared, is one of several types of plans that help communities organize priorities and is a keystone element in applying for some federal grants.
Mask Distribution: The drive continues to distribute the thousands of masks provided to the island by King County. Vashon Social Services Network, Chamber of Commerce, and the Emergency Operations Center have been coordinating efforts. There has been a helpful new program this week where U.S. Bank distributes bags of five single use paper masks to everyone going through their drive through service. The mask handouts are available Tuesday and Wednesday afternoons from 1:00pm to 4:00pm. Based on this week’s pilot effort, the program will be distributing as many as 1,000 masks per week. High quality fabric masks are also available going to the Masks for Vashon website: www.MasksForVashon.org.
COVID-19 Testing: Vashon’s Medical Reserve Corps testing project did 267 tests in July. That single month total equals the number of MRC tests for the first three months of operation. The July test total represents 58% of all testing of Vashon residents for the month. The remainder of the 453 tests of Vashon residents in July were performed by local clinics, off island healthcare providers (e.g., Kaiser, Franciscan, Multicare, etc.) and SCAN Public Health. In all, about 4.5% of the island population was tested for COVID-19 during July. This effort is made possible by the ongoing committed volunteers of CERT and the MRC and we thank them!
Medical Reserve Corps: Efforts to improve federal support for MRC efforts are looking slightly brighter. The National Association of City and County Health Officers (NACCHO) has adopted a letter writing campaign designed by Vashon MRC. This morning, a template letter went out from NACCHO to the more than 850 MRC units around the country. The email helps by giving local MRC groups an easy click-the-button method to edit the letter and then send to their local area member of congress. In past years the entire MRC federal support budget has been $6 million. The letter campaign asks for $100 million.
School Reopening: The EOC Team continues its efforts to support the Vashon Island School District as it formulate reopening plans. For example, the EOC has been working with District leadership on options to support small group outdoor teaching if that is possible, given that the schools will begin the year with online, distance instruction.