Weekly Case Update: 5 New Cases on Lopez, 63 County-WideCurrent case count is now 1175. This is about equal to last week’s case volume, with cases remaining stubbornly high on San Juan Island in particular. LOPEZ ISLAND: There are 5 new cases on Lopez Island since the last update. ORCAS ISLAND: There are 11 new cases on Orcas Island since the last update. SAN JUAN ISLAND: There are 45 new cases on San Juan Island since the last update. Overall Picture: While case numbers continue to drop dramatically across WA, case rates have remained elevated in San Juan County for the past three weeks. This is due primarily to a stubborn persistence of cases on San Juan Island, many of which are tied to school students or staff and their immediate families. With many more islanders now having become sick with COVID or having close friends or family members infected, we’re all now sub-consciously drawing our own conclusions about COVID based on somewhat limited personal information. If we know someone who was vaccinated and got quite sick, we may be more careful about infection, but less trusting of vaccines. However, if we’re fully vaccinated but have avoided getting sick, we may have decided that the vaccines offer perfect protection. Everyone’s subjective experience varies and can be helpful to consider, but it’s also important to zoom out and keep the big picture in mind. Here’s the reality: -Being vaccinated continues to offer nearly miraculous levels of protection against hospitalization and death. -While many people experience very mild symptoms, there are plenty of youthful, healthy, and fully vaccinated islanders who are getting pretty darn sick from COVID. No one should take COVID lightly-it can really kick your butt, even if you don't end up in the hospital. -While there is reason for optimism, we’re not out of the woods yet (especially on San Juan Island), and islanders should continue to make smart decisions about hosting parties or other indoor social events (even though we’re all ready for this to be over). Hopefully in a couple of weeks things will really start to look like we’re in a good place. Masking: The Governor recently announced that his masking order will be lifted (including in schools) on March 21 st. The County Health Team supports this decision but will continue to monitor care trends locally and regionally in case any adjustments are required.