What You Need to Know-Week of August 17th

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

In this Update:

1. Information You Need: Doctor and Dental appointments

2. Travel Tips: Is it safe to fly?

3. Information You Need: COVID-19 and Common Illness Symptom Comparison

4. Information You Need: Credible COVID-19 Sources

1. Information You Need: Doctor and Dental appointments

Despite doctor and dental offices being open, you may be wondering whether it is safe to attend appointments. Over the past week Arizona has seen a decrease in cases, which is great news! However, it is still important to take safety precautions, as there is still a risk for COVID-19. 

  • Whenever possible, opt for an online or tele-medicine appointment. 
  • People who have a pressing need for medical attention should attend appointments. People who are generally healthy should consider the percentage of positive cases in their community when deciding to attend routine medical appointments. The total percentage of positive cases should be below 5%. For reference, the total percentage of positive cases in Arizona is currently 12%.
Dentist AppointmentsDoctor Appointments
When is it important for me to attend my medical appointment?If you are experiencing a dental issue that needs attention such as pain, suspected cavity, etc.If you are at high risk for a condition or disease, or if you are  managing a chronic condition, still attend routine appointments.

Anyone who has a concern that needs attention, particularly if you are experiencing new or worsening symptoms of illness

If you are due to receive vaccinations

If the appointment is necessary for school, work, or volunteering
What are some important questions to ask before scheduling?1. If you are high risk: ask if there are special hours (typically early morning) for individuals who are at risk for severe COVID-19 disease 

2. For Dentist appointments: Will fewer power tools be used to reduce aerosolized particles?

3. Are you offering online appointments?

4. Is the office operating at reduced capacity?

5. Are patients and staff required to wear face coverings while inside the facility?

6. Are temperature checks required for patients and staff?

7. How long do you wait between patients to place someone in a room?

8. What should I expect when I arrive at my appointment?

9. How is ventilation handled in the patient rooms?

10. What is the testing protocol for staff and/or patients?

11. What are the facility’s disinfection protocols?
What safety precautions should I take:
Before my appointment?If you can, schedule your appointment to be the first appointment of the day because the facility may be less trafficked

Have a discussion with your provider about what exactly you will need done for your appointment (e.g., testing, or certain equipment)

If you are feeling ill, stay home

Take your temperature before arriving at your appointment and stay home if your temperature is over 100 degrees fahrenheit (37.7 degrees celsius)

Avoid bringing anyone with you to your appointment unless absolutely necessary (often caretakers will not be allowed into the patient rooms)

Only bring essential personal items

Consider bringing glasses to wear while you are being examined

If possible, bring your own hand sanitizer to the appointment

Wait outside the facility until you are ready to be seen
During my appointment?Avoid touching surfaces and objects like toys, magazines, etc. in the facility

Wear a face covering at all times while inside the facility – unless it is necessary for you to remove it

Stay at least 6 feet away from staff and other patients whenever possible

Bring your own pen if you need to fill out any paperwork

Keep all items that you brought with you in a single bag, purse or pocket, avoid handling them or setting them on high touch surfaces
After my appointment?Use hand sanitizer as soon as you enter your car

Leave your shoes outside of your home or bring a pair of shoes to change into if you are not going home (you can place the other ones in a plastic bag in your trunk)

Wash your hands with soap and water when you arrive at home or the office

Change your clothes immediately after arriving home or if not returning home, you may bring a change of clothes

Shower after you return home

2.  Tips for Travel: Is it safe to fly?

As summer ends many college students may be returning to universities, employees may be returning to in-person workplaces, while others may need travel for various reasons. It is important to remember that if travelling is necessary, extra precautions are necessary to reduce your risk of COVID-19.  

According to an article written by University of Arizona epidemiologist, Dr. Kacey Ernst and environmental scientist, Dr. Paloma Beamer: the answer is – there is no way to make travelling entirely safe. Since asymptomatic cases are common for COVID-19, this means that there is a risk that you or others travelling around you may be carrying the virus without being aware or showing any symptoms.

Answer these questions to help determine the safest way for you to travel:

3. Information You Need: COVID-19 and Common Illness Symptom Comparison

It can be difficult to understand the differences between COVID-19, allergies, cold, and flu symptoms. The chart below highlights the main difference in symptoms between these illnesses. 

  • Common: a particular symptom is often associated with the illness.
  • Sometimes: a symptom has been reported in some, but not most people who have the illness.
  • Rare: a symptom is uncommonly reported in people who have the illness.

4. Information You Need: Credible COVID-19 Sources

Everyday, there is an overwhelming amount of COVID-19 information being released. This daily influx of new information can make it difficult to distinguish credible information from non-credible information. In addition to receiving your COVID-19 related information from AZCOVIDTXT, there are other reliable and accessible sources that can be found in the table below. There are also other sources (e.g., blog and social media posts, news sources, and YouTube videos) that release COVID-19 related updates. While some of these sources can be trusted, it doesn’t hurt to confirm the information by checking a credible source.

Types of InformationCredible Sources
General information
(prevention, guidance)
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

The World Health Organization (WHO)

Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS)

University websites
University of Arizona
Arizona State University
(cases, state-specific numbers)
The COVID Tracking Project

Arizona Department of Health Services Data Dashboard

John Hopkins COVID Resource Center
Other credible sources:NPR’s Coronavirus Page

Other credible sources can be found at this link
Always verify information from these sources with a credible source
Blog posts

News articles: Some may have correct information, but it is best to confirm with a credible source

Social media posts: Unless posted by a credible source

Youtube videos: Unless posted by a credible source
Warning signs that help identify misinformation
Claims about:
Easy treatments or cures for COVID

Certainty – the science of COVID is still evolving – scientifically based information will not be presented with 100% certainty

A product that is for sale

Misinformation may play on your emotions instead of facts so look out for:

Personal stories or evidence presented as a “fact” that comes from only one person’s opinion
Stories that use general sources – “some doctors say” or “people are talking about”

Fake accounts – things that look like a news account from a good source may be a fake – check for things like a change from .gov to .com

Determine if the same things are being discussed from multiple reputable sources

If it is a science-based article try to determine if the article has been through peer-review (the process by which other scientists assess the methods and conclusions of the work before it gets published to make sure it is good science) or if it is a pre-print (pre-prints are a way to get science out faster before peer-review)

The next update will cover information on herd immunity. 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 August 10th (English | Spanish)
Update from week of August 3rd (English | Spanish)
Update from week of July 27th (English | Spanish)
Update from week of July 20th (English | Spanish)
Update from week of July 13th (English | Spanish)
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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