Virus statistics: Public Health – Seattle & King County (PHSKC) reports 104 positive cases of COVID-19 on Vashon since the pandemic began. There has been no increase in the number of cases since last week’s edition.
VASHON VACCINATION AVAILABILITY
The overview: Vaccination availability for Vashon residents looks strong this week. As this edition was going to press, several significant allocations of vaccine had been approved by the state Department of Health (DOH) and Vashon was projected to receive its largest weekly vaccine dose total to date. However, nearly all the arriving doses have been allocated for second dose injections because the clock is ticking to complete vaccination courses before the required deadline. That second dose goal was made especially important last week when nearly all vaccine shipments were delayed by severe weather effects on the country’s transportation systems requiring rescheduling of hundreds of vaccination appointments on Vashon.
Three providers: VashonBePrepared continues to support the three providers who are approved by the state to do vaccinations on Vashon. They are Vashon Pharmacy, Sea Mar at Sunrise Ridge, and Vashon Natural Medicine. The Emergency Operations Center (EOC) recommends that you check the following four websites to see if there is updated information.
Vashon Pharmacy: Virtually all of the Pharmacy drive-through vaccinations this week are for second doses, potentially more than 1,600 of them, a mix of Pfizer and Moderna vaccines. As indicated above, much of this week’s schedule was supposed to take place last week but had to be rescheduled because of the weather delay of shipments, as well as some issues revolving around access problems for the new state online ordering process. MRC and CERT volunteer shifts were expanded this week to handle the largest number of projected vaccination injections since the drive-through site opened. The current record for injections has grown from 60 on the first full day of operation, to a one-day record last week of 240 injections. That record will likely be surpassed this week since two days have already been scheduled for 280 injection appointments. Given the emphasis on second doses, no online appointment portal was opened this week.
Sea Mar at Sunrise Ridge: Sea Mar continues to primarily serve the second dose needs of patients who had previously been vaccinated at the clinic. However, the clinic indicates there is a possibility for a few hundred first doses if all goes well. You can check availability at seamar.org/covid-vaccine. Like the Pharmacy, Sea Mar had to reschedule a number of last week’s second dose appointments because anticipated vaccine doses did not arrive due to the national severe weather effects on transportation.
Vashon Natural Medicine: VNM reports that it has been told it will not receive any shipments until the vaccine is available in much greater supply. The Vashon Natural Medicine website directs patients to Vashon Pharmacy.
Overall vaccination progress: By the end of last week, the island’s registered vaccination providers had administered over 2,800 first vaccination doses. All of the vaccinations so far have been done at the Vashon Pharmacy drive-through site or at the Sea Mar clinic. The total number of first dose vaccinations at island vaccination points equals about one-third of the adult population of the island, based on the latest Vashon EOC tracking. However, it is not possible to compute a precise percentage of vaccinated islanders, because a number of them have gone off-island to get their shots, and there have been some mainland people coming to the island to get vaccinated. The Public Health dashboard reports more than 60% of Vashon residents 65 or older have received at least one vaccination dose, well above the rate for most other regions of King County.
No ID required: It is important to note that no Social Security number or other government identification is required in order to receive a vaccination. The state Department of Health (DOH) has confirmed that vaccination is available regardless of citizenship or immigration status, assuming patients are eligible in the current vaccination priority phase. DOH issued the guidance to help reduce fears that Immigrations and Customs Enforcement might use vaccine clinics to detain and deport people due to their immigration status.
VCC tests clear: Vashon Community Care (VCC) Executive Director Wendy Kleppe reported that a third round of COVID-19 tests of residents and staff were negative. “Today marks 14 days since our positive cases. The Department of Social & Health Services does require a 28 day period without any positive cases before we can move into our Safe Start Re-opening plan,” Kleppe reported. This means that communal dining, activities, and salon services cannot return until March 3rd, regardless of current test results.
Possible testing at schools: Vashon Island School District is one of the 46 districts invited to participate in an expansion of the state’s Return to Learn COVID-19 testing program for schools. The Return to Learn program began with a pilot program of about a dozen districts. As reported this week in the Seattle Times, Vashon has been put on the list of possible participants, but the District has indicated that many fundamental details remain to be worked out, such as who would be tested and what type of test might be used. The District has told the Return to Learn managers that all available resources are tied up at this time getting kids back into classrooms, and it will be a month or more before Vashon schools will be able to make a decision about proceeding. The state-sponsored school testing program is part of the ongoing effort to expand in-person learning to more Washington students.
Emergency Operations Center (EOC): 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. The EOC and other elements of our island emergency response coalition were activated in response to the pandemic emergency on March 12th, 50 weeks ago (351 days).
VashonBePrepared/Vashon COVID Relief Fund: The 13th disbursement of funds to Vashon social service agency partners has been completed, totaling $40,000. Partner vendors have primarily been providing food assistance and housing relief. This round included the Food Bank, Interfaith Council to Prevent Homelessness, Senior Center, Vashon Island School District Nutrition Program, St. Vincent de Paul, DOVE Project, and Vashon Youth and Family Services. To date, the Relief Fund has covered service agency costs for:• 2,980 bags of groceries.
- 18,891 meals
- 477 cases of domestic counseling
- 262 cases of rent relief and other household assistance
- 44 cases of business continuity support
VashonBePrepared/Vashon COVID Relief Fund: Vashon citizens have so far donated more than $376,000 to the Relief Fund. Each dollar of those contributions has been stretched by 155% (over 1.5 times the original amount) by reimbursements from the federal CARES Act and FEMA grants, as VashonBePrepared worked in partnership with the King County Office of Emergency Management and the King County Department of Local Services. Those additional funds have brought total funding to date to over $581,000. In addition to the social service agency partner expenditures described above, donated funds have supported the Medical Reserve Corps/CERT operations of the COVID-19 testing site and the drive-through vaccination site, as well as recouping funds advanced out of the VashonBePrepared pre-pandemic budget, and establishment of a reserve fund in case of a major COVID-19 disease spike or the need to respond to a second disaster on top of the pandemic.
EOC/MRC/CERT: The uncertainty of vaccine shipments due to changes in the state allocation ordering system and the national severe weather effects on transportation have required ongoing coordination efforts by the Emergency Operations Center, Medical Reserve Corps, Community Emergency Response Team, EOC Logistics Section, EOC Situation Section, EOC Public Information Unit and Vashon Pharmacy, in order to properly staff the drive-through vaccination site, and keep the public informed.
EOC Community Operations/Vax Access: The Vax Access program continues to help those facing barriers to vaccination, although the number of people requesting assistance has dropped significantly as more and more patients in the 1b1 vaccination priority category have now received their shots. Community Operations continues to support the efforts of our social service agency partners and is thinking ahead about the new wave of those needing help when additional priority phases open up.
This information is compiled from the Situation Reports produced by the EOC Situation Section and provided to The Beachcomber to help islanders stay informed and safe. To receive reports and other emergency information emails, go to VoiceofVashon.org/alertsignup.