Editor’s note: This article is a COVID update from VashonBePrepared and the Emergency Operations Center.
Data shows vaccination and local action are working
The Delta variant began hitting Vashon in early July, triggering the spike in new cases shown in the graph below comparing the case rates of Vashon and King County.
The island is currently averaging roughly one new case per day on Vashon after having only a single new case in June. A combination of factors is driving the increase in island cases.
The Delta variant is significantly more infectious than prior variants, and that puts all unvaccinated people at increased risk. In addition, although the vaccines confer strong protection against hospitalization and death from Delta, infections of vaccinated individuals are now occurring regularly — nearly 60% of Vashon’s cases in the past two months.
These cases usually produce symptoms but have not caused hospitalizations or death on Vashon. However, vaccinated individuals can and do transmit COVID. Another major factor in Vashon’s increased COVID case rate is summer travel. A large percentage of the island’s new cases have been traced back to travel outside the region, and a lot of people are traveling right now. It was holiday travel that fueled the most serious spike of the pandemic in November and December of last year.
Comparison to mainland
This week, the total case count on Vashon climbed to 156 since the pandemic began. That’s an increase of 27 cases in the last month. Although the situation on Vashon merits concern, the recent case rate statistics for the mainland are much worse. For example, fewer than 2% of all COVID tests on Vashon have been coming back as positive. By contrast, in mainland King County the rate of positive tests has been almost ten times worse, or almost 20%.
Vaccination and Local Action
Vashon’s vaccination rate continues to increase; 94.6% of Vashon residents aged 12 or older have now initiated vaccination, with about 84.5 fully vaccinated. That full vaccination figure puts Vashon in the top four of King County communities.
An analysis of all King County residents shows that vaccination has been working. Unvaccinated people are seven times more likely to get COVID.
Another contributing factor to Vashon’s COVID safety record has been local action. The Medical Reserve Corps (MRC) contact tracing team has been helping those infected with COVID or exposed to it to understand the importance of full quarantine periods. In addition, MRC and the Emergency Operations Center (EOC) have fulfilled more than a dozen requests for safety consultations in the last two weeks from businesses and other island organizations.
We need your assistance to help keep Vashon safe. Get vaccinated. If you haven’t completed your vaccination series, get your second dose. Either way, if you have COVID-like symptoms, or have possibly been exposed to someone with COVID, please call the Vashon Medical Reserve Corps (MRC) for testing guidance: (844) 469-4554. Get detailed information on testing at VashonBePrepared.org/COVID/Testing.
The MRC strongly supports the new universal masking mandate ordered by the Governor and the state Department of Health. With few exceptions, everyone must mask in public spaces and crowded outdoor settings, including those who have been vaccinated. The mask mandate includes all students, teachers, and staff at schools.
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