New cases: The COVID-19 case count for Vashon Island was holding steady at seven cases. The last case was recorded on June 21, according to Public Health – Seattle & King County (PHSKC). No Vashon COVID-19 patients have died and only one was hospitalized. The infection rate for Vashon is 0.6 cases per 1,000 residents, well below the overall King County rate of 4.8 per 1,000. (Federal law and PHSKC privacy policies strictly prohibit access to individual patient outcomes.)
No mask, no service: Governor Inslee has expanded the state’s mandatory mask order. In light of the rising number of COVID-19 cases in the state, the Governor issued a statewide order prohibiting businesses from serving customers who are not wearing masks. The new regulation expands an earlier order that had already required people to wear masks in indoor public settings such as the grocery store, pharmacy and so on, as well as outside if unable to keep six feet away from other people at all times. Failure to comply is a misdemeanor.
Masks are free: Distribution of 10,000 masks provided to the island by King County has been under way for more than a week, thanks to bulk distribution to island locations by the Chamber of Commerce, Vashon Social Services Network, Vashon Emergency Operations Center, Community Council and Greentech. Both supermarkets have been distributing masks, as have the Senior Center, DOVE, VYFS, Care Closet, Granny’s Attic and others. Voice of Vashon and the Heritage Museum will be distributing masks in the community on weekends in July as they travel around neighborhoods collecting oral histories for the Vashon COVID History Project.
Get tested: King County recommends testing for anyone who has COVID-19 symptoms or close contact with someone who has COVID-19. Testing as soon as possible after symptoms appear helps keep COVID-19 from spreading to family, friends, and the community. Testing is available from Vashon Medical Reserve Corps, with the cost covered by VashonBePrepared for those without insurance. You must have a doctor’s order and call ahead for an appointment to (844) 469-4554 from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday. The service is available to Vashon residents and those working on the island. Get more information online at testing at vashonbeprepared.org.
Transit fares resume: Metro has resumed charging full fares on all its services, including buses as well as Link and Sounder trains. Fares had been suspended as a financial relief measure in response to the pandemic. Metro services are still running at reduced capacity to provide for social distancing. For more information, visit soundtransit.org/ride-with-us/how-to-pay/fares.
Share your COVID story: Voice of Vashon (VoV) has joined with the Heritage Museum to put together the Vashon COVID History Project. VoV’s broadcast van will be out in neighborhoods on July weekends. The Museum’s expert historians will interview you on camera to preserve the COVID story on Vashon for generations to come. In addition to interviews, historians would like you to bring journals, pieces of art, or other COVID artifacts, so they can document them to go with your story. Dates and times will be posted 3 days in advance on VoiceOfVashon.org and VashonHeritageMuseum.org. Just look for the big white VoV broadcast van.
Library reopening steps: The Vashon branch of the King County Library System (KCLS) has opened up for curbside pick-up of library materials in a safe, contact-free manner. Patrons can’t yet go inside the library but can follow instructions on signs outside the library to pick up items. For now, pickup is available only for items placed on hold prior to the library closure. However, starting July 15, the service will be expanded to new hold items. Place library materials on hold by going online to the library website or using the KCLS app. Curbside pick-up hours are 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday. For more information, call 425-507-3252 or visit kcls.org/curbside/
Eviction protection: The King County Council has passed new legislation protecting tenants who are unable to pay their rent due to the financial impacts of the COVID-19 outbreak. The ordinance extends pandemic eviction protections to residential tenants through September 1. The protections include manufactured homes and small commercial tenants in unincorporated King County. For details, visit kingcounty.gov/council/news/2020/June/6-23-CB-tenant-protections-release.aspx.
Emergency Operations Center (EOC): This is day 120 since EOC activation on March 12. During this activation, volunteers working for Vashon’s Emergency Operations Center, Medical Reserve Corps (MRC), and Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) have contributed 11,000 hours of work. Those hours are valued at $31/hour by FEMA and are thus worth a total of $341,000. Although FEMA does not compensate directly for volunteer hours, the hours can be applied to our FEMA requirement for 25% local matching funds when we make our reimbursement application.
EOC Reorganization: The transition from full Type 1 activation to Maintenance and Monitoring status has been completed. The Medical Reserve Corps and the Community Care Team remain at full force. The Community Support Operations Section functions have generally been put into the hands of community partners. Vashon COVID Relief Fund support continues in the previously designated priorities of health, food, shelter and economic recovery. Traditional Incident Command System support teams for logistics, planning and finance have been consolidated, scaled back, or demobilized.
Medical Support Branch: Demand for local Vashon testing has doubled. Vashon Medical Reserve Corps (MRC) has conducted close to 300 tests to date, representing roughly one-third of all tests administered to Vashon residents, according to data from Public Health. MRC volunteers believe local demand has increased due to greater awareness of the availability and convenience of the service, as well as increased anxiety due to reports of spiking COVID-19 cases in the region and in other states (see above for information on getting tested).
Recovery Operations: Vashon COVID Relief Fund disbursement #5 has gone out. In this latest Relief Fund disbursement, payments are going to support community needs being met by social service and economic recovery organizations, including the Food Bank, Senior Center, Vashon Youth and Family Services, DOVE Project, Interfaith Council for Prevention of Homelessness, St. Vincent de Paul Vashon, and Vashon Chamber of Commerce. Funding is also going to the Heritage Museum for its history collection effort supporting the EOC Documentation Unit.
This information is compiled from the Situation Reports produced by the EOC Situation Section. Situation Reports are normally internal updates, but for this emergency, VIFR Fire Chief Charlie Krimmert ordered the EOC to share these reports with the public to help islanders stay informed and safe. This partnership with the Beachcomber helps achieve that goal. To receive daily reports and other emergency information emails, go to VoiceOfVashon.org/Alerts.