What You Need to Know-Week of April 20th

The most important weekly updates for you to keep your community healthy




In this Update:

1. Social Distancing

2. Wear Face Masks

3. Types of Testing

4. Health Disparities

5. “Re-Opening”




1. Social Distancing


Social or physical distancing is not just for you. It helps keep your friends, neighbors and loved ones safe. Physical distancing breaks the chain of transmission between people. If one person in your household goes into the community without practicing social distancing, that person has the potential to bring the virus back to everyone in your household. Be sure you tell your kids and family about why social distancing is so important. This video is useful for explaining social distancing to children who may find the idea confusing. When done properly, social distancing reduces the number of people who get sick at once and helps “flatten the curve”. Social distancing has already had an impact on the battle against COVID-19. Please continue to practice social distancing and maintain six feet of distance between yourself and other people!


2. Wear Face Masks


The CDC now recommends that everyone wear face masks to reduce the spread of COVID-19 to the community. Some people who are infected never become ill, but can still spread the disease to other community members. You can buy masks or make your own. If you make your own mask, it is best made from cotton material. There are tutorials for those of you who sew. For those who don’t sew, you can use an old t-shirt to make a face mask. Tests at the University of Arizona and other research groups indicate that including a vacuum bag filter in a mask provides even better protection than cloth alone. Wearing a mask is most effective at helping you protect those around you from any germs you may be carrying, but, remember, even if you wear a mask you may still get infected. Even when you wear a face mask, it is important that you continue to keep six feet between yourself and other people. Masks labelled as “N95 masks” should be kept for our healthcare workers and first responders who get exposed to the virus daily.


3. Types of Testing


You may be hearing a lot about testing during the COVID-19 pandemic. There was a recent announcement about a new test being developed at the University of Arizona and it may be confusing to people. There are two kinds of tests for SARS-CoV-2 infection, the virus that causes COVID-19. There are viral tests and antibody tests, also known as serology tests. Viral tests are used WHILE someone is sick or infected to confirm if the person’s illness is caused by the COVID-19 virus. AFTER somebody has been sick, antibody tests are used to determine if you were infected with the virus sometime in the past. Because it can take weeks for antibodies to form after somebody has been infected, it can be several weeks before a test indicates a person had COVID-19. Formal testing often serves as an official measurement of the spread of a virus across a community. Due to the shortage of both types of tests for COVID-19, officials are turning to other reporting methods, such as that used in AZCOVIDTXT, to help assess the impact of COVID-19 in our community.


4. Health Disparities


An unfortunate effect of the COVID-19 pandemic is the recognition of significant health disparities. African Americans and indigenous peoples are at higher risk of severe illness and death due to COVID-19. This may be due to a combination of factors, including higher likelihood for underlying health issues combined with less access to health care. To better protect themselves, it is particularly important for vulnerable communities to have more access to resources to help protect their communities. Currently in Arizona, there are very high levels of transmission among the Navajo people. If you can help provide masks, food, or other support to these at-risk communities, please do so.


5. “Re-Opening”


Discussions of “re-opening” are all over the news. Everyone, including the AZCOVIDTXT team is looking forward to being able to resume our normal activities. We all want to go out and enjoy our lives again, go back to the jobs we enjoy and sleep better at night. We aren’t there yet but we should all be hopeful and look forward to a post-COVID-19 pandemic world. It will take a concerted effort on all our part. At the same time we are hopeful, we must also prepare for a second wave of transmission. This means putting our plans in place for increasing testing, identifying people who may have been in contact with an infected person, and being willing to isolate ourselves if we are exposed. We must continue to work together to keep ourselves and communities healthy and strong to combat a resurgence of COVID-19. AZCOVIDTXT aims to keep you informed, so we can make that happen more quickly.

Comments are closed.