Author: Anne Presson Page 1 of 12

Access the 2/18 Community Briefing

Thanks to the more than 160 Orcas households who tuned in to last week’s Community Briefing with Island Hospital. For anyone who wasn’t able to make it, you can access the recording HERE.

Be sure to mark your calendar for the next Community Briefing scheduled for March 18th at 5 pm. More details and registration information will be provided as we get closer to the date.

Please note that the District Office will be moving to a new location the first week of March. You will soon be able to visit us at our new location: 410 Prune Alley, Unit B. In the meantime, please don’t hesitate to reach out to the Commissioners or Superintendent Presson with any questions. Contact information can be found on the website.


Board Agenda is Posted

The Agenda for the February 16, 2021 Regular meeting of the OIHCD Board is now posted. You can access the information HERE.

The meeting starts at 5 pm and will be remote. To attend the meeting please see Zoom details below:

Join Zoom Meeting

Dial by Phone:  1 253 215 8782

Meeting ID:       851 3454 2271
Passcode:          257890

One tap mobile

Vaccine Update – Important


To those registered for the upcoming Orcas vaccine clinics on Tuesday and Wednesday: the County is working hard to ensure that everyone who isn’t able to come to town on Tuesday due to road conditions will still be able to get their vaccine at another time (hopefully on Friday). No one should put themselves at risk in order to make their appointment.

Please DO NOT cancel your appointment. The County will be reaching out to any no shows.

Hopefully the rain clears the roads. If you can make it safely to your appointment, please do so at your scheduled time. Otherwise, you will be contacted.


Vaccine Update – National Guard to bring 1900 COVID Vaccine Doses to SJC

WA National Guard Vaccine Support to SJC Week of 2/15
A joint effort between San Juan County, the Washington National Guard, and the WA Department of Health is planning to deliver 1900 first doses of the COVID vaccine over next week (Feb 15 – 19).

Approximately 380 first doses will be delivered daily: one day on Lopez and two days each on San Juan and Orcas. The team will return 28 days later to deliver second doses.

Registration for these vaccine events will open at 5pm on Wednesday February 10th. For the latest vaccine registration information, and the updated link to the registration form, please click HERE

Community Briefing

Orcas Island Community Briefing
Thursday, February 18 from 5 – 6 p.m.

Please join leaders from Orcas Island Health Care District and Island Hospital as we share the latest transition plans for the primary care clinic opening April 1, 2021.

Island Hospital’s leadership team will share insights into the staffing plans for the clinic and what you need to know as a patient. Island Hospital CEO, Charles Hall, will also provide a COVID-19 update, and others will be on hand to answer questions about the COVID vaccine efforts on Orcas.

The virtual meeting will be held Thursday, February 18, from 5 – 6 p.m. Island Hospital will be hosting via a different online platform to be able to accommodate a larger audience. Unlike former events hosted by the OIHCD via Zoom, this meeting will be held via Webex and advance registration is required.

Please RSVP at:

You will receive login information via email upon registration. 


Board Agenda is Posted

The Agenda and meeting materials for the February 2nd OIHCD Regular Board Meeting can be found HERE.

Join Zoom Meeting at 5 pm – 7 pm

Dial by phone  +1 253 215 8782

Meeting ID: 884 3948 2528
Passcode: 886400

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One Month into 2021…

If you are like me, it feels like 2020 was a long time ago. Every day in the pandemic feels like a month, and getting through this first month of 2021 has felt like a year. I expect you are all feeling some of this, as the uncertainty as to when there will be adequate vaccine has likely left you anxious and weary. Our resilience is being tested…yet I know islanders are strong.

I realize that asking for patience is not what people want to hear right now, and you want the security in knowing you are on a list, in a system, somehow on a path to get the vaccine by a date certain. We all wish that was possible, and hope that in time we will get there. For now, there continues to be much higher demand than supply, and from week to week there is no guarantee what we will get in spite of what is requested. Every provider who has been approved to receive vaccine, which on Orcas is the County and OFHC, is doing their best to request supply from the State. The UW Clinic is going to be allocated a supply from within their system; however, we were told that the entire UW Medicine system did not receive a vaccine allocation last week and wasn’t expecting anything this week.

Up until now, the County has been the only vaccine provider with supply. Their online scheduling for Friday events on Orcas filled up within minutes of opening. Again, this is driven by the significant demand and very limited supply, which I know is very frustrating to everyone. As the supply allows, the County hopes to eventually conduct vaccine events on Mondays and Fridays, increasing to 200 prime/200 booster doses per week. OFHC is also hoping to start with 100 doses/week once they receive their first supply. Their preparations are underway, and they are reaching out to their patients to talk about how they will go about scheduling. The UW Clinic hopes to begin a vaccine effort on Orcas sometime the week of February 8th – 13th. They are planning to deliver 100 vaccines/week and are in the process of building a phone system to be used for scheduling. In addition, all three entities will be reaching out to patients without internet access to make sure a certain number of slots are held for those community members. Finally, Ray’s Pharmacy has started the process to become an approved vaccine provider, and once approved we’ll have another avenue for vaccine distribution.

In addition to the uncertainty about the vaccine, we recognize there is a lot of change underway in health care on Orcas. For those of you who have only started to engage following recent announcements by two UW providers, I would like to ask that you take a few minutes to read my latest update, which can be found HERE. It provides an overview of how/why we got to this point and what the future holds for our community. There are also comments from a few of the community’s most trusted leaders, and I think those are voices that are helpful to hear. As always, I am available to talk with any community member who has questions or would like to provide input.

With sincere appreciation and service to the community, Superintendent Presson



Vaccine Update – A Lesson in Patience

If there is one thing everyone can agree on as it relates to the rollout of the COVID vaccine it is that the situation is frustrating. What continues to ring true is that demand exceeds supply, and there doesn’t appear to be any quick resolution in sight.

As the community’s patience is wearing thin, please do try not to take out your frustrations on those who have been caring for you and managing the demands of this pandemic for almost a year. It is important to remember that there are a lot of smart people doing the very best they can to work within a system where the rules keep changing and one where they have no control.

Representatives from the County, OFHC, UW Medicine, Ray’s Pharmacy and OIHCD  are meeting frequently to come up with a coordinated plan to ensure the Orcas community is well served. These are the same people who have successfully guided us through the pandemic to-date, and it is largely through their efforts that we have been able to achieve such positive results.

It is no accident that San Juan County has the lowest rate of total COVID cases per 100,000 people of any county in the contiguous United States. The only counties with lower rates are the most remote areas of both Hawaii and Alaska. In addition, San Juan County is the second largest county in America to have not recorded a single COVID fatality. These statistics are exceptional when you consider the average age and overall demographics of the County. You can find more on the overall case rate information on US News and the fatality information at 24/7 Wall St.

Everyone is working as quickly as possible to find the best path forward, and the efforts will not stop until every member of our community is able to be vaccinated. Hoping we can all search within ourselves to find grace under pressure in the months ahead.

Vaccine Update

On Monday January 18th, Governor Inslee and the WA State DOH authorized delivery of vaccine to those in the Phase 1b Tier 1 eligibility group (note that the eligibility age has been reduced to 65 or over). Please remember that vaccine supplies are still extremely limited, and it is estimated that approximately 5,000 San Juan County residents will qualify for the first Tier of Phase 1b.

Islanders who are Phase 1b Tier 1 eligible and would like to learn more about how to receive a vaccine should carefully read this document. Please remember that until the Federal government vaccine supply increases, a very small number of San Juan County residents will be able to be immunized, regardless of Phase eligibility.

You can access the vaccine updates and yesterday’s Media Release from the County HERE.

Board Agenda is Posted

The 1/19/21 OIHCD Board meeting packet is now available and can be accessed HERE.

The meeting starts at 5 pm and should conclude at 7 pm. Representatives from Island Hospital are scheduled to provide the Commissioners with a short update on the transition.

Details on how to participate can be found below, on the Calendar Tab of the website, and on the Agenda:

Join Zoom Meeting

Dial by Phone:  +1 253 215 8782

Meeting ID: 813 8485 3035
Passcode: 270941

One tap mobile

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