Island Hospital to book slots for vaccines

Island Hospital's vaccine clinic is in a conference room in the lower level near the main entrance. Those receiving the vaccine will need to be screened for symptoms before entering the building.

UPDATE: All vaccine appointments at the hospital are full.

COVID-19 vaccine scheduling is expected to begin at noon today as Island Hospital moves forward to phase 1B1, which now includes people 65 years and older, as well as those who are 50 years and older who live in multigenerational homes.

Island Hospital remained on schedule for vaccinating health care providers despite not receiving an allotment of 400 doses requested from the state last week. The hospital did receive 400 doses this week.

CEO Charles Hall said that the hospital hopes to run the appointment-only vaccine clinic at least three days a week, but that depends on how much vaccine is received weekly from the state Department of Health.

Those who can get the vaccine through Island Hospital include established patients and those who live in the district, including residents from Fidalgo Island, Guemes Island, Sinclair Island and La Conner.

The hospital has given so far 621 first doses of the Moderna vaccine. A second dose is required 28 days later.

Hall said an estimated 6,500 people qualify for phase 1B1.

“We all expect that there will be more options for the community, more places to receive the vaccine whether it’s Public Health… pharmacies, Safeway, we are seeing those being developed as we speak,” Hall said.

Skagit County Public Health will offer vaccinations by appointment at the county fairgrounds starting Jan. 26.

“I think that the process is improving over time,” said Elise Cutter, Island Hospital COO. “This is an unprecedented distribution of vaccine.”

Gov. Jay Inslee announced Monday a state plan to bolster vaccine distribution, with a goal of vaccinating 45,000 people a day across the state. The plan also lowered the age eligibility from 70 to 65 for the newly named phase 1B1.

“We are removing as many impediments as possible to Washingtonians getting vaccinated; we are going to deliver every dose that comes into our state. We will still be dependent on the federal government for doses, but we are doing everything we can once it gets here,” Inslee said in a release.

Meanwhile, Skagit County Public Health announced it will begin vaccinations on Jan. 26 at the Skagit County Fairgrounds for those who are eligible for phase 1B1 priority. It also is appointment only, and can be scheduled by calling their vaccine hotline at 360-416-1500. An online scheduling system is still being developed.

“It will be hard to get an appointment; that needs to be the expectation,” Laura Han, county spokesperson said. “We’re asking folks to please be patient.”

The county still is not receiving anywhere near the amount of vaccine it is capable of distributing, Han said. The county did receive 1,000 doses a week after the county health board sent a letter to the state requesting “clarity” and “consistency” in the allotment process.

The Skagit County Board of Health has canceled a meeting that was set to take place this week, which was to consider bringing civil penalties to violators of county health orders.

“Education and messaging has been our most effective tool to encourage good health behaviors and practices throughout the pandemic, and we had no intention of ever deviating from those as our primary practices,” Public Health Director Jennifer Johnson said in a release.

Schedule a vaccination

• An online self-scheduling service to receive the vaccine at Island Hospital should be live at noon today at islandhospital.org/coronavirus/ for those in phase 1B1. (65 and over or 50 and over in a multigenerational home)

While telephone appointments can be made at 360-299-1367, online appointments are preferred to keep from overwhelming phones and volunteers.

“Our hope is that most people will schedule online,” Island Hospital spokesperson Laura Moroney said.

Required for a vaccination: an appointment, an I.D. or other proof of residency in the district and a printed confirmation or screenshot showing you are eligible for the vaccine from findyourphasewa.org (link is available on Island Hospital appointment page).

The amount of vaccine available for the following week is known by mid-week, and those eligible can begin signing up at noon on Wednesdays.

• Skagit County Public Health will begin vaccinations on Jan. 26 at the Skagit County Fairgrounds for phase 1B1. It also is appointment only and can be scheduled by calling 360-416-1500. An online scheduling system is still being developed for the county.

Status check

The North region (Skagit, Whatcom, San Juan, and Island counties) did not meet all four metrics to move on to phase two of the latest Healthy Washington plan for reopening during the pandemic.

The region failed in two areas:

Trend in 14-day rate of new COVID-19 cases per 100k: -3% (-10% needed)

Trend in 14-day rate of new COVID-19 hospital admissions per 100k: +61% (-10% needed)

It passed in these two areas:

Average 7-day percent occupancy of ICU staffed beds: 61% (goal is under 90%)

Average 7-day percent positive of COVID-19 tests: 4% (goal is under 10%)

• Skagit County reported, as of Jan. 17, 3,584 confirmed cases and 46 deaths.

• Island Hospital saw one more COVID-19 patient admitted in the last week, bringing the total to 39 since March.

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