Virtual Event on January 14th: COVID-19 Vaccine

Island Hospital would like to extend an invite to the Orcas community to join an online event where a panel of hospital and provider leaders will provide updates on the COVID-19 vaccine.

Executive Community Briefing hosted by the Island Hospital Foundation

Jan 14 @ 5:00 pm – 6:00 pm

Virtual Event

Join Island Hospital providers and senior leadership for a community briefing and moderated panel discussion on the COVID-19 vaccine. We will share insights on what is known about the vaccine, including side effects and current recommendations from the CDC. We will also share the most current guidance from state, and what Skagit County officials are looking at as far as the phased distribution to the community. Questions will be taken via the chat feature during the briefing. If you have questions you’d like to submit in advance, please email them to:

Vaccine panelists will include:

Dr. Jason Hogge, Family Medicine/Obstetrics
Anacortes Family Medicine & Medical Director of the Walk In Clinic

Dr. Brandon Greene, Pediatrician 
Anacortes Family Medicine

Charles Hall, MSN, MBA
Chief Executive Officer

Elise Cutter, MBA
Chief Operating Officer

Date: Thursday, January 14, 2021
Time: 5 – 6 p.m.



Who Goes Next: DOH Releases Next Vaccine Phase

OLYMPIA – Today the Washington State Department of Health (DOH) released guidance for the next phase of COVID-19 vaccination. The department worked closely with the Governor’s Office to finalize prioritization for phase 1B, and we are pleased to be able to share eligible groups for this next phase of vaccination. This phase is broken up into four separate tiers.

In addition to partnership with Gov. Inslee and reliance on federal guidance, nearly 20,000 people across the state weighed in on the prioritization through focus groups, interviews, and surveys over the past few months. This feedback directly informed our recommendations for COVID-19 vaccine prioritization and allocation, and continues to help us make sure our vaccine plans are equitable and protect those most at risk from COVID-19 infections.

“Vaccine prioritization decisions are complex, but based in a need for equitable distribution,” says Secretary of Health Umair A. Shah. “Our priority has been to get the vaccine to high-priority people first.”

This graphic shows the groups and the timeline for phase 1B.

It’s important to note that we are not moving into phase 1B right now. Our state is still in phase 1A (PDF) of vaccinations, and will continue to be for the next few weeks. Many pharmacies, clinics and hospitals are vaccinating people in 1A1 (tier 1), and others have moved to 1A2 (tier 2). While phase 1A is still the priority, we hope that the release of phase 1B guidance will help facilities, counties and individuals plan for the months ahead.

Once we’re ready to start phase 1B, we will let our communities know how and where to get vaccine. For now we appreciate everyone’s patience.



January 5th Regular Board Meeting

See the source imageThe Agenda and materials for the first Regular Board meeting of the New Year can be found HERE.

See below for instructions as to how you can join the meeting.

Join Zoom Meeting

Dial by phone:  +1 253 215 8782

Meeting ID: 899 5815 4546
Passcode: 963262

One tap mobile


Mobile COVID-19 Testing Comes to Orcas Island

Orcas Family Health Center (OFHC) delivered an early Christmas present to the Orcas community, launching a mobile SARS-COVID-19 testing project on December 21st.

Recognizing the impact COVID-19 testing was having on staff at both the OFHC and UW Orcas Clinics, leadership at OFHC sought to put funds received as part of the CARES Act to use in supporting expanded testing for the community. Securing the funding was only the first step. Launching an effort of this magnitude required some innovative thinking and support from various organizations. While health care employees in other rural areas are struggling to gain support from within their communities, we are fortunate to have an incredibly supportive community here on Orcas.

As the weather threatened to put a damper (literally) on the launch, the OFHC testing team was determined to proceed with the first test site the morning of December 21st. Along with a team of volunteers who generously dedicated their time and energy, the set-up began very early so testing was ready to go at 8 am at the Orcas Island Artworks parking lot in Olga. The volume of the first clinic exceeded expectations, and the second clinic in West Sound saw even more islanders. All in all, over the first three events the mobile clinic tested 90 islanders and family members.

The OIHCD would like to express our appreciation to everyone involved in the in-clinic and mobile clinic testing efforts. We have been fortunate to have the support of UW Orcas Clinic and OFHC, both of whom have been conducting testing in the clinics for many months. A very special thank you to Aaimee Johnson and Shila Wachtel for coming up with the idea and putting the mobile clinic project together so testing efforts could be expanded. Many thanks to Catkin Cafe, Orcas Island Artworks, the Orcas Island Yacht Club, the West Sound Community Club, and the Orcas Senior Center for allowing OFHC staff to set up testing sites on your properties. We also recognize this takes a village and couldn’t have come together so flawlessly without the help of a few special volunteers. A BIG thank you to Alan Stameisen and Robin Lassen.

Testing will continue over the next few months on a rotating basis and will remain limited to Orcas Island residents, full or part time, and their family members. No appointments are required and testing days may be cancelled last minute due to weather (e.g.. high winds, heavy rains, dangerous road conditions). Testing takes place on Monday’s in Olga from 8:00 am to 10:00 am, Thursdays in Eastsound from 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm, and Sunday’s in West Sound from 12:00 pm to 2:00 pm.

As we look towards the New Year let us all be grateful for the dedication of all of our health care workers, EMS and others involved in supporting the wellbeing of the Orcas Community.

Wishing everyone a very safe and healthy 2021.

Community Briefing – a Message from the OIHCD Superintendent

Last night we held the first of what will become a regular engagement with our community. I would like to thank our partners from Island Hospital, San Juan County and Orcas Island Fire & Rescue for their participation…and a BIG THANK YOU to our community. The attendance was so overwhelming it exceeded our Zoom capacity for the first time in over 25 Zoom meetings held since April.

I would like to personally apologize to those who weren’t able to access the meeting due to the unforeseen limitation.  While I try to account for all possibilities and make these Zoom meetings a positive experience for everyone, sometimes things happen that were unexpected. I will do my best to make sure this doesn’t happen again.

While we were also experiencing technical issues all day, the good news is the meeting was recorded. While the recording stopped and then started part of the way in, all of the discussion around the new Clinic was captured. You can access the recording by clicking on the link below and then typing in the Passcode. The Island Hospital power point is also available HERE.

Share recording with viewers:

Passcode: %0aKO@*0

I look forward to continuing to bring our community timely and important information in the New Year. In the meantime, please do not hesitate to contact me if I can be of assistance. I can be reached by cell/text at 360-230-9414 or, and I always welcome your thoughts and feedback.

Wishing everyone a very safe and healthy holiday season!


Community Briefing

Please join leaders from OIHCD and Island Hospital to hear about their joint vision for the new, single clinic coming to Orcas in the spring of 2021. The online meeting will be held from 5 pm – 6 pm on Thursday, 12/17.

In addition to primary, same-day and after-hours care, Island Hospital’s model will include a close collaboration with all community partners, including Orcas Island Fire & Rescue.

Island Hospital CEO, Charles Hall, will provide an update on the transition plans. He will also offer insights into the region’s COVID activity and response, and developments on the COVID vaccine. In addition to Charles, Chief Williams and OIHCD Commissioner Art Lange will be on hand to answer your questions.

We hope you will join us to learn more about the exciting future of health care on Orcas, and take this opportunity to have your questions answered.

Join Zoom Meeting

Dial by phone:  +1 253 215 8782

Meeting ID: 856 4342 8155
Passcode: 350576


Meeting Cancellation

The 12/15 Regular Meeting of the OIHCD has been cancelled. The Board will resume meeting on Tuesday, January 5, 2021 at 5 pm.

Wishing everyone in the community a very safe and healthy holiday season. We look forward to the year ahead.

See the source image

December 1st Agenda and Meeting Materials are Posted

The Board packet for the OIHCD’s 12/1 Regular Meeting can be found HERE.

The meeting begins at 5 pm and continues to be held via Zoom. Please see below for information on how to join.

Join Zoom Meeting

Dial by Phone:  +1 253 215 8782

Meeting ID: 860 3624 3658
Passcode: 831705

One tap mobile

Happy holidays clipart free clip art images image 3 - ClipartBarn

November 17th Agenda and materials are posted

The Agenda and materials for the November 17th Regular Meeting of the OIHCD can be found HERE.

The meeting will continue to be held online in accordance with the Governor’s Proclamation 20-28.12, which extends the statutory waivers and suspensions related to the Open Public Meetings Act until December 7, 2020.

The meeting will begin at 5 pm via Zoom (see details below).

Join Zoom Meeting

Dial by Phone:  +1 253 215 8782

Meeting ID:       892 6243 9019
Passcode:          075186

One tap mobile


2021 Budget and Levy Approved

At their Regular Board meeting on November 3rd, the OIHCD Board of Commissioners approved the budget and levy for the 2021 calendar year.

You can find the final 2021 Budget and Levy documents HERE.


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