Vashon BePrepared Remembers: Three Years Ago

Our community responded well and things have improved since those early confusing and dark days.

It was three years ago this month when the World Health Organization declared COVID a global pandemic. The world changed at that time. We had our first case on Vashon. Our Emergency Operations Center was activated. Many businesses went dark and unemployment hit 22% on Vashon. But our community responded well and things have improved since those early confusing and dark days. We have masks, home testing, vaccines, a recovered economy, and more. It seems like a good moment for us to ask VashonBePrepared President Vicky de Monterey Richoux to say a few words. She responded…

“Thank you, Vashon”

“Congratulations and thank you Vashon for your high rates of vaccination,” de Monterey Richoux said. “Nearly 54 percent of Vashon residents have received the latest bivalent booster. That’s a higher percentage than in any other area of King county. Among Vashonites aged 65 and older, the rate of the latest booster vaccination is more than 73 percent.

“To be sure, there’s still room for improvement — more than 45 percent of residents who are eligible for the bivalent booster haven’t yet received it — but this effort continues to keep more Vashon residents safer and healthier, with far fewer hospitalizations and deaths per capita than anywhere else in our three-county region. Thanks for this vaccination achievement go not only to our community members, but also to the many vaccination volunteers from Vashon Medical Reserve Corps, Community Emergency Response Team and Emergency Operations Center, Vashon Pharmacy employees, the crews from VIFR, and all the others who went above and beyond to make this possible.”

Help solve the mystery of long COVID

After three years, we still do not know what causes long COVID, what to do about it, or even how to precisely define it. Yet, at least one in 13 people who get COVID get the potentially debilitating condition, and perhaps many more.

You can help solve these mysteries. Some spots for people who recently had COVID or never had it are still available to participate in RECOVER, a nationwide study by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to learn about the long-term health effects of COVID. Participants will be followed for four years. To learn more, and sign up, go to

Marijke van Heeswijk, a coordinator of much of Vashon Emergency Operations Center’s COVID vaccination effort, has volunteered for the long COVID study.

“After recently catching COVID, I was looking for a way to have something positive come out of getting sick,” she said. “Participating in the study seemed like a great way to contribute by helping researchers unravel what causes long COVID and how it eventually may be prevented or treated.”

Could Turkey-class earthquake happen here?

A team of the University of Washington earthquake experts says we shouldn’t fool ourselves just because we live in a modern building area.

They say Puget Sound has active faults and buildings that resemble the ones that caused such suffering during the earthquake in Turkey last month. Speaking in a column for the Opinion section of The Seattle Times, the three experts pointed out that Syria has building codes similar to ours but, like our area, many buildings predate the current science on how to mitigate earthquake destruction and loss of life.

They also called attention to our local faults that could be just as dangerous for us, such as the highly-publicized Cascadia fault off the coast. The Tacoma Fault crosses Vashon Island right around Point Robinson, and the Seattle Fault crosses the Sound just north of Vashon.

Read the full column here.

COVID Prevention Advice: Basic Risk Level

The VashonBePrepared COVID Risk Advice Tool is keyed to the hospitalization rate in our three-county COVID risk assessment area. It also takes into account the new case rate, the positive test rate, and COVID virus levels in wastewater tested by regional public health departments.

  • Wear an N95 mask indoors if you have been exposed to COVID, are at risk for health or other reasons, or live with or spend time with someone at high risk.
  • Keep vaccinations up to date, including boosters, and maintain good ventilation at home and at work. Avoid those with suspected or confirmed COVID.
  • If exposed to COVID, wear a mask in public and avoid contact with those at high risk for 10 days. Always home-test if you have symptoms. If you test positive, isolate for at least five days and until you test negative. If immunocompromised, discuss additional prevention actions with your healthcare provider.