Several New Positive Test Results Reported in San Juan County

Posted on April 5, 2020 at 9:06 am by

April 4, 2020: San Juan County Health and Community Services staff have been notified of four new positive COVID-19 test results in San Juan County, including one on San Juan Island and three on Orcas Island. This brings the total number of cases in San Juan County to ten. The County data reporting page will be updated at the end of the day on Monday, once all of the test results and numbers from all local healthcare providers are available and updated.

The new positive test result on San Juan Island was reported for a provider at San Juan Island EMS. However, after extensive public health investigation with the County surveillance team and San Juan Island EMS leadership, there appears to be very limited exposure risk to the public or other agency members.

According to San Juan Island EMS Interim Chief Karl Kuetzing, “We are working closely with San Juan County.  Both EMS and the County Health Department are confident that there has been little to no contact with the general public or members of the EMS team during the period of time when the patient may have been infectious. We will continue to monitor the situation and will provide clear information as needed to the community.” Read More »

Remote PHD Meeting

Posted on April 5, 2020 at 5:45 am by

San Juan County Public Hospital District No. 1 will be having a Board meeting on April 8, 2020, at 5:30 p.m. through Microsoft Teams.

This meeting will be entirely remote, in accordance with the governor’s “stay home, stay healthy,” mandate and in keeping with emergency Open Public Meetings Act rules as issued in Proclamation 20-28 Open Public Meetings Act and Public Records Act (attached here).

Members of the public are invited to call in at 509-824-1884 and enter Conference ID: 643 377 807#

We will release an agenda on Monday and provide more details.

HOT TOPIC #12: April 3rd What If Empathy Went Viral

Posted on April 4, 2020 at 5:50 am by

Photo by @gballgiggs

COVID-19 updates from San Juan County around subjects on the minds of islanders

Since the beginning of the pandemic, I’ve had friends sick. Some were able to get tested, others not so much. All of them felt the burden, like a weight on the chest, of having a potentially life-threatening illness, and the fear that they might pass it on. And as I mentioned in earlier columns, I have other friends dealing with serious health conditions who are fearful of acquiring the virus. And then there’s the noise. The noise of those ignoring the experts and not practicing social distancing. And the noise of those who are practicing social distancing, but are infuriated by the others, until the whole world–online and off–seems to resound with frustration and rage and fear.

During my undergraduate acting training, in one of our oft-quoted textbooks, I was introduced to the concept of “The Magic ‘If.'” The idea being that an actor must constantly ask themselves, ‘what if?’ ‘What if’ I had superpowers? ‘What if’ I was a lawyer, or a banker, or a farmer? ‘What if’ I were rich? Poor? Drunk? Single? Married? The list of potential ‘what ifs’ is never-ending.

So ‘what if’ empathy went viral? Hear me out–what if it were possible, during this time, for us to intentionally practice the discipline of trying to understand other people’s feelings? For some of us (not pointing any fingers, but he might be writing these words), empathy is a big challenge. If you ask anyone who knew me in high school, I’d probably register at the top of the list of people unable to empathize with anyone. About anything. My wife is constantly telling me that I only have one rule to follow: Don’t Be a Jerk. And I’m constantly breaking the one rule!

But let’s practice for a moment… Read More »

San Juan County Council Remote Public Comment

Posted on April 4, 2020 at 5:39 am by

During this time of social distancing, the San Juan County Council Hearing Room will be closed.

If you wish to provide oral public comment at an upcoming County Council meeting, please fill out the form listed on the front page of the SJC website form to be added to the Speakers List.

Forms must be submitted by 7:00 AM the day of the Council Meeting. The clerk will contact you via email if you wish to speak via Skype.

If you have any questions please contact the clerk at 360-370-7472 or via email at Thank you for your understanding and please stay safe.

San Juan County Leaders URGE Residents to Restrict Off-Island Travel and Follow Strict Health Guidelines Upon Returning

Posted on April 3, 2020 at 8:13 am by

As Washington State approaches the anticipated peak of COVID-19 medical surge cases, San Juan County urges everyone to take more aggressive precautions to protect their families and neighbors when coming to the islands from the mainland.

“As cases multiply throughout the state, including Skagit, Island, and Whatcom Counties, islanders traveling back to the islands from the mainland are risking becoming a source of disease spread,”

said San Juan County Health Officer, Dr. Frank James, MD.

Dr. James continues, “island residents have done a great job self-isolating and maintaining social distancing. All that hard work could be erased by a single trip to the mainland. It is proven that continuing social distancing and slowing the spread of this pandemic is directly saving lives.”

Rick Hughes, Chair of the San Juan County Council agrees, “The State and our county have issued emergency declarations limiting travel and other activities to prevent the spread of COVID-19. We have done this to protect our family, friends and our neighbors. Going off-island or coming to the islands from the mainland is a risk to our community health at this moment in the pandemic.” Read More »

Deb Langhans Offers A Special Invitation…

Posted on April 3, 2020 at 5:49 am by

Deb has added a quick addendum to this announcement…

Hello again, Islanders! Due to current “Zoombombing” & possibly still unresolved privacy issues during Zoom meetings, I’ve decided to keep researching online options for the “ITM Circle” I proposed in the posting (below), I’m hoping those interested in the Circle will still contact me so I can update everyone once I determine which online service will be the safest for us. I’m also grateful for any suggestions about that!
My best, D.L.~

In 1946, celebrated Austrian psychiatrist, Holocaust survivor and author Viktor Frankl wrote: “Everything can be taken from [us] but one thing: the last of the human freedoms — to choose [our] attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose [our] own way.”

Over these months since the coronavirus first began ravaging our planet, and amidst the staggering predictions of probable deaths this month alone, numerous people are “choosing their attitude” and finding creative and compassionate ways of supporting and uplifting other suffering beings, sometimes even at their own peril.

I recently wrote to my Journeys To Healing clients that, while this current “shrinking of our universe,” (aka lockdown and social distancing order) forces a “closing down” on numerous levels, it also offers an “opening up” of time and space–an opportunity for venturing within and rediscovering our most precious values and priorities; for addressing all sorts of unfinished business around and within us. That’s actually a blessing for which we can choose to be grateful. Read More »


Posted on April 3, 2020 at 5:47 am by

The OPALCO crew is still at work keeping the power on – while practicing safety precautions.

On March 20th, the Board approved waiving late fees and has added funding to our payment assistance programs to support our membership. Through May 20, no one will be disconnected for an unpaid balance, but members are still responsible for paying their bills, eventually.  For those in danger of unpaid bill balances building up, or businesses that have temporarily closed, please fill out a COVID-19 relief form and call us at 360-376-3500 to set up a payment plan. 

COVID-19 relief measures will be reassessed every 60 days; current measures may be increased or discontinued, new measures may be added – all depending on the need and funding availability. OPALCO is doing all it can to help, but funding is limited and the Co-op’s bottom line is also impacted by the disruptions of the pandemic. Staff are reaching out for all available disaster assistance from local, state and federal sources. Read More »

HOT TOPIC #11: April 1st An Interview with SJC Patient #4

Posted on April 3, 2020 at 5:46 am by

COVID-19 updates from San Juan County around subjects on the minds of islanders

We had the opportunity to talk with the fourth San Juan County resident who tested positive and is currently recovering at home from COVID-19.

The patient has worked as a firefighter/ EMT for 25 years and has called San Juan Island home for nearly 40 years (when not on duty as a Firefighter in Seattle).

Do you know what kind of contact with an infected person led to your illness?

I’m glad you asked because it’s an unusual part of my story. You would think I got it from a patient, as I’m a firefighter/EMT on a very busy truck company in Seattle and have a lot of contact as I provide care for the general public. The truth is, one of the firefighters that I work with got it from a family member and unknowingly brought it to work. I work twenty-four hour shifts and live in the firehouse when I’m working. We’re in close quarters for that time and although we were super diligent and wiped all surfaces and kept things clean, we’re inevitably in close proximity to each other. Read More »

Paycheck Protection Program opens April 3rd to businesses in San Juan County and elsewhere

Posted on April 3, 2020 at 5:45 am, by

This announcement has been updated The San Juan County Economic Development Council (EDC) would like to convey to business owners that applications for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), a vital component of the CARES Act signed into law last week, will be open for local small businesses on Friday, April 3rd. The program gives small  Continue Reading

Boo Boo is Offering Free Online Fitness Workout Classes

Posted on April 2, 2020 at 11:50 am, by

Tanja Williamson sums it up like this: Hey there, I’m helping everyone’s favorite boxer keep islanders entertained AND healthy so they’ll be able to fit into their pre-pandemic clothes. If you haven’t already downloaded zoom, DO IT! The workouts are only 30 minutes and even if you don’t do every move, you’ll definitely work your  Continue Reading

PeaceHealth Medical Group Clinic in Friday Harbor to offer their patients mobile COVID-19 testing

Posted on April 2, 2020 at 11:38 am, by

FRIDAY HARBOR, Wash., April 2, 2020–To minimize face-to-face contact and ensure the safety of our patients, caregivers, and community members, PeaceHealth Medical Group in Friday Harbor will offer mobile COVID-19 testing for PeaceHealth Medical Group patients beginning Friday, April 3, 2020. Testing will be offered as ordered by the patient’s provider in the northeast corner  Continue Reading

SJICF Committed to Community Relief

Posted on April 2, 2020 at 5:50 am, by

At an emergency board meeting last week, the San Juan Island Community Foundation solidified its commitment to providing additional emergency funding and nonprofit support for the duration of COVID-19 response. Specifically, SJICF staff and board members will: Provide grant funding to SJI nonprofits Offer SJI nonprofit support, such as project planning and execution Help nonprofits  Continue Reading

Take a Walk at the Sculpture Park!

Posted on April 2, 2020 at 5:49 am, by

We’re all getting cabin fever these days, and going outside to explore our beautiful island can bring a smile to your face, and perhaps help bolster your immune system at the same time. Our sculpture park on Roche Harbor Road is a perfect place to take a walk. There are enough paths in the 20-acre  Continue Reading

Alchemy Art Center Creates Opportunities for Creativity at Home

Posted on April 2, 2020 at 5:47 am, by

Just because we can’t gather in person, doesn’t mean we can’t connect through art! In lieu of the in-person classes and workshops that had been planned for the spring, Alchemy Art Center is now introducing a series of free/donation art opportunities via live Zoom classes, as well as a community mural project, to provide islanders  Continue Reading

Two New Confirmed Positive Test Results Reported in San Juan County

Posted on April 2, 2020 at 5:45 am, by

April 1, 2020: San Juan County Health and Community Services staff have been notified of a second positive COVID-19 test result on San Juan Island and a third on Orcas Island. This brings the total number of cases in San Juan County to six. The County data reporting page will be updated at the end  Continue Reading

San Juan County Council Allocates Funds for Emergency Rental Assistance

Posted on April 2, 2020 at 5:41 am, by

At their March 31, 2020 meeting the San Juan County Council directed staff to make available as soon as possible funds for rental assistance to assist those in our community struggling to make ends meet during the COVID-19 outbreak. If you or someone you know are experiencing difficulties with your rent or mortgage payments during  Continue Reading

A Message From San Juan Airlines

Posted on April 1, 2020 at 5:58 am, by

From San Juan Airlines – Hello fellow islanders, if you need supplies but don’t want to leave the islands we provide regular freight services to and from the islands and are now offering fresh grocery delivery. To find out more, visit or call us at (800) 874-4434. If you’re concerned about safety but need  Continue Reading

Island Senior: Coping With Coronavirus II, Staying Home, Staying Healthy

Posted on April 1, 2020 at 5:50 am, by

Island Senior is a regular column on the San Juan Update written by Peggy Sue McRae… How is everybody doing? As an introvert who already works at home having to stay home has not changed my lifestyle very much. Yet, it is different. I am aware now that I touch my face way too much  Continue Reading

WSU Master Gardeners Provide Horticultural Resources

Posted on April 1, 2020 at 5:35 am, by

San Juan County has over 70 WSU Master Gardener volunteers who are trained as horticulture educators. Due to COVID-19 and related Stay Home, Stay Healthy order, we will not be in the community this spring as usual, but are available to answer questions about food gardening, fruit tree care, landscape plants, pollinators and more.  To  Continue Reading

HOT TOPIC #10: Medical Surge Planning: Hoping for the Best, Planning for the Worst

Posted on April 1, 2020 at 5:30 am, by

COVID-19 updates from San Juan County around subjects on the minds of islanders Many in the islands are wondering how San Juan County is preparing in case access to mainland medical care becomes limited. This is known as medical surge, which the CDC defines  as, “…the ability to provide adequate medical evaluation and care during  Continue Reading

San Juan County Fire District 3 Commissioners Request Annexation Election Postponement

Posted on April 1, 2020 at 5:15 am, by

FRIDAY HARBOR, WA – San Juan Island County Fire District #3 Commissioners joined the Town of Friday Harbor requesting postponement of the scheduled April 28, 2020 election asking voters to annex the Town into the Fire District. Fire District #3 Commissioners requested the postponement due to the impacts of the global COVID-19 pandemic. The scheduled  Continue Reading

From Stephanie Prima: Free Mindfulness and Qigong Training for COVID-19

Posted on March 31, 2020 at 5:30 am, by

In this time of COVID-19 we’ve all received tons of emails from businesses offering ‘tips’ to manage the crisis that are sales pitches in disguise. But there is very little on how to deal with the anxiety that comes with daily changes and restrictions. As a gift to our beloved community, I have put together  Continue Reading