This week’s issue of The Beachcomber includes the final contribution, for now, from Vashon’s Emergency Center regarding our island’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
In it, the EOC offers a summation of its work for the past 15 months and a resource guide for COVID-19 testing, vaccines, and social services, going forward.
The report is worth saving, tucked in a place you can easily find. The list of resources in it is still needed, but in addition to that, it provides a document of what has been achieved in our small, rural community.
Vashon’s response to COVID, by the numbers, is remarkable.
Seattle & King County (PHSKC) shows 11.2 cases per 1,000 residents of Vashon, compared to the county-wide case rate of 49.6 per 1,000.
Likewise, deaths have occurred on Vashon at the rate of 0.3 per 1,000 residents, less than half the 0.7 per 1,000 rate for the county overall.
Vashon’s testing site, operated by Vashon’s Medical Reserve Corps (MRC), Vashon Community Emergency Response Team (CERT), and the EOC team, conducted 3,571 COVID-19 tests at its testing site, identifying 80 of the 121 reported cases on Vashon.
The MRC conducted contact tracing on behalf of Public Health Seattle King County, tracing 42 case clusters on Vashon and identifying 178 contacts and 47 additional cases among contacts.
VashonBePrepared’s vaccination site, a partnership with Vashon Pharmacy supported by MRC, CERT, and the EOC, administered more than 10,000 doses of vaccine.
Its COVID Relief Fund distributed more than $500,000 in economic relief to organizations supporting human compassion and safety on the island.
How can we ever thank EOC Manager Rick Wallace and all the many volunteers of VashonBePrepared and its partners, for all of this?
One way might be for us all to make a pledge, going forward, to look for and listen to facts as much as we can — not only about COVID-19 but other aspects of our lives together here on Vashon.
Last weekend, an incident of vandalism took place on the island, and we have reported the facts as we know them in this issue. There is still much to learn.
But sadly, over the course of the hot, interminable weekend, some islanders jumped onto social media, assigning blame for this incidence of vandalism to one troubled islander who has caused disturbances in the past.
The fact of the matter is that we do not yet know who committed this destructive and hateful act. And it is harmful to express certainty about things we do not, in fact, know. COVID-19 has taught us that.
As we move forward, with Gov. Jay Inslee’s announcement of our state’s re-opening, and King County’s lifting of its mask requirement for vaccinated people, let’s also look to facts to guide us in our choices and statements. The EOC has proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that this is the best course — and that believing in facts, and insisting on them, can help us become a better, healthier community.
We are here to take care of each other.
In closing, all of us at The Beachcomber send our deepest condolences to the family and friends of William (Will) Huck, a member of the VHS Class of 2021, who died tragically on Monday, after drowning. Vashon’s heart breaks with this unimaginable loss.