What You Need to Know-Week of July 27th

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

In this Update:

1. Essential Worker Safety and Support: Keeping Employees Safe

2. Information you Need: Mental Health during a Pandemic

3. Mask Up and Make a Difference: Wearing and Caring for your Face Covering

4. COVID-19 and Kids: Update on Child Transmission

1. Essential Worker Safety and Support: Keeping Employees Safe

Essential workers who must return to in-person jobs are at higher risk of contracting COVID-19 due to increased contact with others. Scientific studies have shown that a large percentage of COVID-19 cases were likely contracted at work. Therefore, teleworking is the safest option, especially for employees that belong to a high risk group for COVID-19, but it is not always possible. If employees must return to in-person employment, follow these recommendations to reduce the risk of COVID-19 spread in the workplace.

What your EMPLOYER can do to protect YOU while at work:
Have employees take their temperature and report if they are having symptoms before arriving at work each day. If they do report symptoms, have them stay home.
Employers may add stickers or markings on the floor to indicate 6 feet separation.
Space out workspaces / work areas by 6 feet.
Employers may install hand sanitizing / washing stations, and increase workplace sanitizing practices.
If an employee has been exposed to COVID-19, or are showing symptoms of the virus, mandate that they get tested (at least 4-5 days after their exposure).
Employees may have difficulty obtaining face coverings. It is especially important to provide face coverings to employees whenever possible. Supplying 2-3 cloth face coverings that can be washed, instead of disposable face masks is highly recommended.
This will ensure that employees will follow the protocol and wear a face covering while in the workplace.
If employees wear disposable masks, be sure that they are disposed of properly. 
If an employees position requires travelling, consider limiting this for the time being.
Installing protection screens is important if the employees have regular contact with the public.
Space out breaks for eating and resting so that the least amount of people are in the same area.
This will reduce congregation of multiple people, where COVID-19 is more likely to spread. 
If possible, improving ventilation within the building will reduce the risk of COVID-19 spread while indoors. Employers may install fans, or increase outdoor air circulation.
Employers should provide employees with information about how to prevent COVID-19 at home. For daily precautions to take, please visit this link. 
Whenever possible, avoid sharing items amongst employees. If this is unavoidable, ensure that the equipment and/or personal items have been properly sanitized after each use.
If you believe that your employer is not taking necessary precautions to protect employees at your place of work, you can file a complaint through the Occupational Safety and Health Administration or you may contact your county’s health department.

2. Information You Need: Mental Health during a Pandemic

Mental health concerns such as depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, and substance abuse are on the rise in Arizona and throughout the United States. According to a poll conducted by the Kaiser Family Foundation in April, roughly half (45%) of Americans reported that the pandemic is negatively impacting their mental health. David Sbarra, a University of Arizona psychologist, answered questions on how the pandemic may be impacting mental health. Visit this link for more information. 

A pandemic presents us all with many unknowns and uncertainty. Further, isolation, trauma, and other stressors (e.g., financial) associated with the COVID-19 pandemic can be harmful to mental health and overall wellbeing.  Prioritizing mental health is always important, but is especially crucial under the current circumstances with many people experiencing grief at the loss of community, employment, or other significant life changes. Remember to check on yourself, your family, and friends as we all try to navigate these unprecedented times together. 

It is important to remember that stress due to the pandemic continues to affect people in different ways and to varying degrees. Groups that are more vulnerable to stress during a crisis include: 

  • Essential workers (including frontline health workers)
  • Children and young adults
  • Those belonging to certain racial and ethnic minority groups
  • People with existing mental health conditions or substance use disorders 
  • People with underlying medical conditions
  • Socially isolated individuals (including those who live alone)
  • Individuals with disabilities
  • Those experiencing changes in employment
  • People experiencing homelessness
  • Individuals living in group settings
  • People lacking access to information in their primary language
  • Those without access to healthcare or health services

Be sure to also watch for mental health warning signs in yourself and others. These can include excessive worrying or fear, feeling sad or low, and recent changes in habits or behaviors (sleeping, eating, socializing, mood). For more mental health warning signs, please visit this link.

Below are resources for addressing mental health concerns:

  • If you feel that you or another person is in immediate danger because of their mental distress, call 911. 
  • In March, Arizona launched a 2-1-1 hotline to provide statewide COVID-19 counseling.
Crisis / Disaster
Aurora Behavioral Health: Call at 877-870-7012

Resilient Arizona: Call 2-1-1- for COVID-19 crisis counseling

Veterans Crisis Line: Call 1-800-273-8255 (press 1)

Be Connected (Veterans): Call 1-866-4AZ-VETS (429-8387)
Disaster Distress Helpline: 1-800-985-5990 (press 2 for Spanish), or text TalkWithUs for English or Hablanos for Spanish to 66746. Spanish speakers from Puerto Rico can text Hablanos to 1-787-339-2663.

Veteran’s Crisis Line: 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or Crisis Chat or text: 8388255

Coping with a Disaster or Traumatic Event
Abuse and Assault
Arizona Coalition to End Sexual and Domestic Violence: Call 602-279-2980

Arizona Child Abuse Hotline: Call 1-888-SOS-CHILD (767-2445)
National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-7233 or text LOVEIS to 22522

National Child Abuse Hotline: 1-800-4AChild (1-800-422-4453) or text 1-800-422-4453

National Sexual Assault Hotline: 1-800-656-HOPE (4673) or Online Chat
Children and Young Adults
Teen Lifeline: Call or text 602-248-TEEN (8336)
Helping Children Cope during an COVID-19 Outbreak

Helping Children Cope with Emergencies
Teen Depression
Mercy Care (Maricopa County): Call 1-800-631-1314 or 602-222-9444

Complete Health (Cochise, Graham, Greenlee, La Paz, Pima, Pinal, Santa Cruiz, and Yuma counties): Call 1-866-495-6735

Health Choice Arizona (Apache, Coconino, Gila, Mohave, Navajo, and Yavapai counties): Call 1-877-756-4090
Gila River and Ak-Chin Indian Communities: Call 1-800-259-3449
Salt River Pima Maricopa Indian communities: Call 1-855-331-6432
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255) for English, 1-888-628-9454 for Spanish, or Lifeline Crisis Chat 

SAMHSA Suicide Prevention

Suicide Risk Factors and Warning Signs

Five Action Steps for Communicating with Someone Who May Be Suicidal
Substance Use Disorder
Arizona Substance Abuse Helpline: Call (866) 857-5777

Arizona Addiction Recovery Center: Call (602) 346-9130
SAMHSA’s National Helpline: 1-800-662-HELP (4357) 

Treatment Services Locator Website 

Interactive Map of Selected Federally Qualified Health Centers
High Risk Groups
COVID-19 Hotline: Call 2-1-1
Serious Illness Care Program COVID-19 Response Toolkit

Healthcare Personnel and First Responders: How to Cope with Stress and Build Resilience During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Emergency Responders: Tips for Taking Care of Yourself

Disaster Technical Assistance Center (SAMHSA)

Employees: How to Cope with Job Stress and Build Resilience During the COVID-19 Pandemic

3. Mask Up and Make a Difference: Wearing and Caring for your Face Covering

Wearing a face covering is for the protection of others. Using and caring for your face covering properly, however, is for YOUR protection. 

Face coverings absorb your respiratory droplets (think of them like a sponge!), and those respiratory droplets may carry COVID-19 if you have been exposed, so handle face coverings with extra care to avoid spreading the virus to your hands and face. COVID-19 has been found to stay on surgical masks for up to seven days, so all face coverings should be cleaned regularly or thrown away if disposable.

✅ Wearing it correctly✅ Taking it off correctly✅ Washing it correctly
Do not share face coverings with others, even with people in your household.

Wash your hands or use hand sanitizer before putting it on.

Adjust the fit as needed so that it fits snugly to your face.

Make sure it covers your nose AND mouth and leave it there. Not only does it not work if it isn’t covering both areas, but it can spread the virus onto other areas of your body and your clothes if the face covering is repeatedly moved on/off the face and left to sit around your neck.

You should be able to breathe normally, even though it may feel warm and uncomfortable.

Wash your hands or use hand sanitizer before AND after touching or adjusting your face covering while wearing it.

Face coverings should be replaced if they become damp.

Wear your face covering any time you are away from home, cannot maintain 6ft of physical distance, and/or as required by business or local laws. Keep spare disposable masks in your car in case you forget!
Wash your hands or use hand sanitizer before touching it or taking it off, AND afterwards. 

Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth while taking it off.

Handle it by the ear loops, ties, or edges as you take it off.

Avoid touching any part of the face covering that was near your nose or mouth.

Place face covering directly into a washing machine or designated container like a resealable plastic tupperware or baggie until it can be washed. 

If switching face coverings during the day is challenging and your risk of exposure is low, one option is leaving your face covering on your car’s dash in full sunlight for about 90 minutes. If it is at least 95 degrees outside, your car’s interior will be about 135F–and the dashboard may be even hotter. This amount of intense heat will inactivate most, if not all, of the virus. Please note, these temperatures are NOT safe for humans or animals.  
Cloth face coverings can typically be washed with your regular laundry in the washing machine, but please check care instructions before washing. Some filter materials should not be washed. 

Wash face coverings in the hottest water possible and use soap or detergent.

If handwashing: soak them for 5 minutes in a bleach solution of 4 tsp bleach (note: color-safe bleach is not effective) per 4 cups of room temperature water; rinse thoroughly with running water.

Face coverings should be dried completely before reusing, either in the dryer on the hottest setting or laid flat to air dry, ideally in direct sunlight.
If your face covering has a polypropylene filter, add static by ironing or rubbing it with a plastic glove for 20 seconds – static charge can increase the efficacy of your covering.

Face coverings should be washed after each use or at least once a day.

4. COVID-19 and Kids: Update on Child Transmission

Guest contribution from Dr. Kacey Ernst, an epidemiologist at the University of Arizona.

Additional information is being collected on the potential for children to transmit SARS-CoV-2:

Children older than one appear to be less likely to become seriously ill from COVID-19. However, this does not mean they cannot get infected. One of the current questions is how much kids can transmit the virus. There are a few new studies and outbreaks that indicate children can indeed transmit the virus fairly well: 

  • Summer camps in Georgia, Kansas and Texas, have reported many children (7-18 years old) becoming infected. These reports have not been investigated and published thoroughly, but since these are overnight camps, there is likely to be close contact between the children and transmission among the kids cannot be discounted. 
  • A study out of Korea tracked the contacts of nearly 6000 confirmed cases, including children. The study concluded that children aged between 10-19 appeared to be more likely to transmit to household contacts (moderate sample size) and those aged 0-9 years were less likely (but the sample size was quite small). Although the study had some limitations, the conclusions indicate some level of transmission from children, especially older children.

More research is needed on children’s ability to transmit SARS-CoV-2, but there is building evidence that children, especially children over the age of 10, can spread the virus more easily than was previously thought.

The next update will cover depression. If you would like to learn more about this and other topics related to COVID-19 in Arizona, please complete next week’s AZCOVIDTXT survey that you will receive via text in about a week.

View Updates from Past Weeks:
Update from week of July 6th (English | Spanish)
Update from week of June 29th (English | Spanish)
Update from week of June 22nd (English | Spanish)
Update from week of June 15th (English | Spanish)
Update from week of June 8th (English | Spanish)
Update from week of June 1st (English | Spanish)
Update from week of May 25th (English | Spanish)
Update from week of May 17th (English | Spanish)
Update from week of May 11th (English | Spanish)
Update from week of May 4th (English | Spanish)
Update from week of April 27th (English | Spanish)
Update from week of April 20th (English | Spanish)


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