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No Rollback to Phase 3, but Gov. Urges Caution

Here’s what you need to know about April 27 to May 3.

  • Thursday, May 6, 2021 8:41pm
  • News

Current Vaccination Eligibility: Everyone 16+

THE VIRUS

Virus statistics: Public Health – Seattle & King County (PHSKC) reports 116 positive cases of COVID-19 on Vashon since the pandemic began, an increase of three since the last edition.

King County (and Vashon) stay in Phase 3: Governor Inslee today put the state’s reopening plan on pause for two weeks. That means King County and all other Washington counties will stay in their current phases. Therefore, King County and Vashon remain in Phase 3 and avoid for at least another two weeks a rollback to the more restrictive COVID-19 safety measures of Phase 2. A quite different outcome had been widely expected since King County COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations have been rising sharply in recent weeks. New cases per 100,000 residents over the last 14 days rose over 240, well over the Phase 3 limit of 200. Hospitalizations are up as well, over 6.5 per 100,000 over the last seven days, well over the Phase 3 limit of 5.0. However, Governor Inslee said Tuesday that experts over the weekend detected a plateauing of the worrying performance indicator data.

VASHON VACCINATION AVAILABILITY

The overview: The trend of lower demand and plentiful vaccine supply continues. For some weeks, the island’s two active providers have been offering at least some vaccine doses each day. They plan to continue providing that level of vaccination availability, Monday through Saturday. Vashon’s first-dose vaccination rate is currently at 76.4% for those 16 years and over.

Vashon Pharmacy: The Pharmacy site has been converted to a hybrid traffic pattern. It can now easily switch between drive-through and walk-up vaccination services as needed, depending on the number of people who are expected on any given day for shots. The tent area just outside the Pharmacy has been expanded, to more comfortably provide shelter for injections and seating for the 15-minute required medical observation period. A walk-up greeter desk has been set up so that on walk-up days, patients do not need to drive through the greeter/staging area at the movie theater parking lot. Next week, there will be two days when walk-up patients will get vaccinated on an all-comers basis, with no appointment required. The Vashon Pharmacy appointment signup website has been open most of this past week for those who prefer to plan ahead to a specific time. Visit VashonPharmacy.com/COVID.

Sea Mar: The Sunrise Ridge clinic will be open for walk-up vaccinations each day next week. However, clinic staff requests that patients check in advance before coming, so the vials of vaccine doses can be managed to avoid wasting any doses. Also, there will be some Pfizer vaccine available for first doses in the coming week, which is helpful for 16- and 17-year olds, because only Pfizer vaccines are approved for that age group. To verify vaccine availability, and to make an appointment if desired, Sea Mar asks that patients check the website or call a central vaccination-only appointment number. The website listing is seamar.org/covid-vaccine. The central vaccination appointment number is (855) 289-4503.

High school: The vaccination campaign at Vashon High School has been completed, with roughly eighty 16-, 17- and 18-year-olds getting their first COVID-19 vaccination shots. They have also been scheduled for their second doses.

SECOND DOSE HEALTH TIP

Do it for the community: Getting fully vaccinated protects you and those around you from COVID-19. It is important that people who receive a two-dose vaccine (Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna) complete the series as close to the recommended time interval as possible. If you received the Pfizer vaccine, you should get your second shot three weeks (or 21 days) after your first. If you received the Moderna vaccine, you should get your second shot four weeks (or 28 days) after your first. You’re considered fully protected two weeks after your final shot.

Do it for yourself: Once you’re fully vaccinated, you can:

  • Visit with other fully vaccinated people indoors without physical distancing or wearing masks in private settings.
  • Visit indoors with unvaccinated people from one other household without physical distancing or wearing masks, as long as no one in the group is in one of the categories of high risk for severe COVID-19 (such as lung disease, heart disease, or if they are immuno-compromised).
  • Conduct activities outdoors without a mask — except in crowded settings.
  • Travel domestically without a pre-or post-travel test and without quarantining.
  • But Don’t Forget: Even if you’re fully vaccinated, you should still:
  • Wear a well-fitted mask and physically distance in any public place.
  • Avoid medium or large gatherings.
  • Wear masks, stay six feet apart, and keep gatherings outdoors (or indoors with the windows open) when you are visiting with people from multiple households.
  • Wear masks, stay six feet apart while visiting with people in one of the categories of high risk for severe COVID-19 illness.
  • Get tested if you are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms.
  • Follow guidance issued by your employer, school, or place of residence.
  • Follow CDC and health department travel recommendations.

Yes to second doses: Second-dose appointments can be made at Vashon Pharmacy for those who received their first shot off-island. To make an appointment, call the Pharmacy at 206-463-9118 and select option 9 to leave a message requesting an appointment; include which vaccine you received for your first dose. For now, pending a site upgrade, do not use the online portal for second-dose appointments. Make sure your appointment is at the appropriate interval from the first dose, three weeks for Pfizer and four weeks for Moderna. If you received your first dose at the Pharmacy, you already have an appointment scheduled. For all second-dose appointments, bring your vaccine card with you.

COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENTS

Good news for island workers: Vashon Island shows signs of economic recovery after more than a year of the pandemic. The number of unemployment claims from island residents is less than one-third of the number of claims from one year ago. Current claims are at 339, down from 1,080 last April. If you have questions about unemployment or need assistance in filing, contact deborah@vashonbeprepared.org or phone/text her at 206-200-3236.

Go outside if you like, if vaccinated: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) relaxed mask guidance for fully vaccinated persons. If you are fully vaccinated, you no longer need to wear a mask outdoors if you’re walking, running, hiking or biking alone, are with members of your household, or are attending a small outdoor gathering. But the CDC continues its advice on other safety measures, saying vaccinated adults should continue wearing masks and staying six feet apart in large public spaces, like outdoor performance or sports events, indoor shopping malls and movie theaters, where the vaccination and health status of others is unknown. And you still should avoid medium and large gatherings, crowds, and poorly ventilated spaces.

Don’t lose that shot card: The state Department of Health (DOH) recommends you laminate your card once you have completed your vaccine series, and keep it in a secure location. Take a photo of it for your records and keep the photo on your phone. People who misplace their CDC COVID-19 vaccination cards can easily view their immunization records online using MyIR (myir.net), which is the state’s free and secure immunization records system. Once registered, you can access your family’s immunization records any time you need them.

EMERGENCY OPERATIONS

Emergency Operations Center (EOC): Vashon’s pandemic emergency response began 421 days ago (one year, one month, and 25 days). Our current operational priorities were established by the Incident Commander, Fire Chief Charlie Krimmert, and approved by the VashonBePrepared Board. Those priorities are health, food security, housing security and economic recovery.

MRC/CERT/EOC: A new traffic flow at the Vashon Pharmacy vaccination site was tested this week, with 70 walk-up inoculations on each day of operation. The site is transitioning to a walk-up approach and reducing the original high-volume drive-through approach. This coming week will see the first walk-up vaccination clinic with no appointment required. The site has been redesigned somewhat, with a walk-up check-in desk and more tent cover for shade and to keep people dry from the rain.

EOC/Community Engagement: Plans have been completed for a campaign to encourage vaccination by those who have not yet taken the opportunity. The island has reached more than 75% first-dose vaccination of island residents aged 16 and over. The vaccine engagement plan will include question and answer (FAQ) information, and a new raccoon banner. As described above, steps are also being taken to make it even more convenient to get vaccinated, including no-appointment-required days.

School covid screening testing: It now appears that COVID-19 monitoring via pooled testing may begin at Vashon Island School District the week of May 10. It has taken some time to work out details, and the plan is to begin with a small group at first, probably with sports teams, in order to refine procedures and resolve any issues. The technique calls for pooled testing making it possible to quickly screen large numbers of people by combining their test samples into groups. If one of the pools shows an infection, then each of the individuals in that pool would receive an individual test.

Volunteers: For the last full week reporting period, 39 volunteers contributed 445 hours of work to VashonBePrepared’s pandemic emergency response. That brings the total contributed hours to almost 28,500 since the activation began. At the FEMA reimbursement grant rate of $31.72/hour, VashonBePrepared volunteers’ hours have just surpassed the $900,000 mark for in-kind contributed value. VashonBePrepared gives thanks as well for the many hours of extra work logged during the pandemic in support of the Vashon community, by the staff and volunteers at local social services agencies.

Acknowledgments: This week we acknowledge the help we have received with the invaluable signage that directs patients through the pharmacy vaccination site and the testing site at Open Space for Arts & Community. Island Home Center & Lumber has been providing large-format printing at no charge, and Richard Rogers of Rogers Graphics has provided crucial help with layout and production. We are making a weekly tradition of thanking those businesses that have made our work possible.

ABOUT

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.




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