What You Need to Know-Week of August 31st

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




In this Update:

1. Information You Need: Get your flu shot!

2. Information You Need: As fitness facilities reopen, how can I stay safe while working out?

3. Kids and COVID-19: Participating in Youth Sports or Activities




1. Information You Need: Get your flu shot!



We are entering the 2020-2021 flu season in the midst of a pandemic and it is more important than ever to receive a flu vaccine. Here are just a few reasons:

  1.  In Arizona, over 4,000 people are hospitalized for complications from the flu each year. Therefore, hospitalized flu cases added to the number of hospitalized COVID-19 cases will further stress an already overwhelmed healthcare system.
  2. If someone were to be hospitalized for the flu, their risk of developing COVID-19 would increase as they would be in a high-risk healthcare setting. 
  3. Experts are unsure exactly how a simultaneous infection of the flu and COVID-19 would affect the body.
  4. Flu symptoms can be very similar to symptoms of COVID-19, as they are both respiratory viruses. So the medical equipment needed to assist severe cases (e.g., supplemental oxygen, ventilators) would also be similar and could exacerbate medical equipment shortages
Who SHOULD get the flu vaccine?
Anyone over the age of 6 months should receive a flu vaccine including:
– Pregnant women
– Older adults over 65 years of age should consider getting the “High Dose” version of the vaccine, talk to your provider for more information
– Individuals with chronic medical conditions
– Health care workers and their families
Who should talk to their healthcare provider BEFORE getting the flu vaccine?
– Children younger than 6 months old
– Individuals with a severe chicken egg allergy (those with mild chicken egg allergies should check with their physician), there may be an alternative vaccine for those who have an allergy
– Individuals who have had a severe reaction to the flu vaccine in the past
– Those with a current illness accompanied by a fever should wait until the fever and other symptoms subside to get a flu vaccine
Where can I get a flu shot?
To locate a flu shot clinic near you:
– Contact your primary care provider as they may have vaccines available at their practice
– Contact your insurance company to find out if there are any in-network clinic preferences 
– Visit the “Stop the Spread AZ” website
– Dial 211 in Arizona (call 1-877-211-8661 if outside of Arizona)
– Call your local pharmacy or grocery store to see if they offer flu shots, you may also visit their websites to find out more information, locations, or to make an appointment
When going to receive a flu shot, it is especially important to:
– Take COVID-19 safety precautions including: wearing a cloth face covering, maintaining physical distancing, and avoiding crowded, poorly ventilated spaces
– Be sure to take your temperature before going to receive a flu shot. If you have a temperature over 100, wait until your fever subsides before getting the vaccine
Frequently Asked Question: Can the flu shot give me the flu?
Perhaps one of the biggest misconceptions surrounding the flu shot is that getting the vaccine can “give you flu.” In fact, the flu virus is “inactive” which means that the virus particles are dead and thus cannot spread the virus. Some may feel mild symptoms after receiving the vaccine because their body is developing the antibodies needed to protect them from the flu.
Visit this link for more information about getting the flu vaccine.


2. Information You Need: As fitness facilities reopen, how can I stay safe while working out?


A court decision on August 4th ruled that in counties that meet COVID-19 case metrics, gyms, fitness clubs, and fitness centers will be given the opportunity to apply for reopening at 25% capacity. Since then, the Arizona Department of Health Services has released guidelines that gyms and health centers must follow in order for their applications to be accepted. Many businesses that have applied have been allowed to reopen as long as they continue to be in compliance with the safety regulations. 

So now that fitness facilities are beginning to reopen, you may be wondering: Is it safe to return to the gym?

  • There is no entirely risk-free way to visit a gym or fitness facility. Businesses will do their best to keep areas sanitized and disinfected, but it is impossible for their efforts to be perfect. Safety and disinfection are everyone’s responsibility. Here are some safety precautions that can help reduce the risk of COVID-19 if you do decide to return to a fitness facility:
Before going to the fitness facility:
STAY HOME IF:
You are feeling ill
If you have a temperature above 100 degrees Fahrenheit (37.7 degrees celsius)
If you know that you are a close contact of a COVID-19 case (you spent 15 or more minutes within less than 6 feet, regardless of wearing face coverings) 
If someone you have had close contact with is feeling ill
✓ CHECK WITH YOUR FITNESS FACILITY TO SEE IF APPOINTMENTS ARE REQUIRED TO WORK OUT
At many fitness facilities, attendees are required to make appointments before arriving at the facility to ensure that they are operating at reduced capacity. 
✓ CONSIDER CALLING AHEAD TO FIND OUT WHEN THE FACILITY IS LEAST BUSY
Whenever possible, avoid crowded and poorly ventilated spaces. COVID-19 spreads more easily in these areas
If you arrive at the fitness facility and it is crowded, consider returning at a different time
Ask the facility if outdoor fitness options are available
✓ WASH YOUR HANDS 
Upon arriving, wash your hands or use a 70% alcohol based hand sanitizer 
✓ ONLY BRING ESSENTIAL PERSONAL ITEMS TO THE FACILITY
Bring only essential items such as keys and your wallet
If possible bring your own towel, mat, and a bag to bring them in (be sure to wash your hands after placing your gym items back into the bag).
✓ GET YOUR FLU SHOT
This is more important now than ever! 
While at the fitness facility:
✓ OPT FOR EXERCISING OUTDOORS WHENEVER POSSIBLE
Outdoor activities are less risky than indoor ones, COVID-19 spreads more easily indoors in confined spaces
✓  MAINTAIN PHYSICAL DISTANCING 
Stay a minimum of 6 feet away from others
WEAR A CLOTH FACE COVERING
Do this whenever possible, especially when physical distancing cannot be maintained
Those participating in high intensity workouts may not be required to wear masks, if this is the case, consider avoiding a facility or class especially if you are in a high-risk group for COVID-19 
Check with your gym about specific regulations for wearing cloth face coverings 
 OPT FOR WORKING OUT ALONE INSTEAD OF IN FITNESS CLASSES
Working out alone is a safer alternative to a workout class with a group of people
There are also lots of free fitness apps that provide online class workouts to participate in at home
If you do decide to participate in a group fitness class be sure to follow physical distancing guidelines.
✓ WIPE DOWN EQUIPMENT BEFORE AND AFTER USE
If possible, bring your own disinfecting wipes to use before and after using equipment
✓ WASH YOUR HANDS 
When switching between pieces of equipment, regularly wash your hands or use a 70% alcohol based hand sanitizer 
✓ AVOID CONGREGATING IN GROUPS
It is important to maintain physical distancing in lobbies, waiting areas, etc. 
If possible, wait outside if the facility is crowded or if you do decide to participate in a fitness group.
✓ IF POSSIBLE, LAY A TOWEL DOWN IF YOU ARE WORKING OUT ON THE FLOOR
This will reduce your risk of touching virus particles that have landed on the floor
✓ IF POSSIBLE, AVOID USING SHARED SPACES OR OBJECTS 
This includes locker rooms (these may temporarily closed at your facility), restrooms, water fountains, chalk bins, etc.
Limiting the number of machines or equipment you use is also a good idea and be sure to wash your hands in between each use.
After leaving the fitness facility:
✓ WASH YOUR HANDS 
Regularly wash your hands or use a 70% alcohol based hand sanitizer upon before leaving
✓ CHANGE CLOTHES AND SHOWER ONCE YOU RETURN HOME
It is a good idea to change into different clothing, leave your shoes outside, and shower after you return home as COVID-19 has the potential to remain on clothing and surfaces.


3. Kids and COVID-19: Participating in Youth Sports or Activities


Returning back to school this year looks different for parents and students, and the same is likely true for returning to youth sports activities. As some of these activities resume with the new school year, it is important for both parents and children to understand the risks of these activities and to know how to stay safe while participating during a pandemic. 

For both parents and children, making the decision to participate in youth sports or group activities can be an especially difficult one. Whenever possible, opt for online or hybrid (online/in-person) options; however, these are not always available. When deciding whether or not to participate, it may be helpful to evaluate how risky the activity is, visit this link for information on that topic

In addition to considering the components of an infection, you may use the questions below to help make your decision:

Do some sports or activities have higher COVID-19 risks than others? 

The answer is yes! There are a lot of factors to consider when it comes to the risk of COVID-19:

  • Is the activity or sport taking place outside?
    • Sports and activities that take place outside like golf, football, cross country or track and field, tennis, horseback-riding, and soccer are less risky than other activities that take place inside or in areas with poor ventilation.
  • Is there appropriate physical distancing between the players or participants?
    • Sports or activities that maintain physical distancing are safer than those that do not.
  • Is the activity or sport operating at a reduced capacity?
    • Limiting the number of participants and those attending a sport or activity can help to lessen the risk of COVID-19 so that appropriate safety measures (e.g., physical distancing) can be taken. Parents and supporters should not congregate in lobbies, waiting areas or on the sidelines.
    • For competitions and tournaments check with your organization before inviting additional attendees to confirm spectators will be allowed. If additional viewers are allowed, be sure to follow physical distancing guidelines and wear a cloth face covering.
  • Are face coverings required for participants and attendees?
    • Cloth face coverings have been shown to drastically reduce the spread of COVID-19. Consider requiring face coverings if physical distancing cannot be maintained during an activity.
  • Are hand hygiene stations readily available?
    • Practicing regular, thorough hand washing or hand sanitizing is key to reducing the spread of COVID-19. It is important for activities or sports to have increased handwashing stations or hand sanitizer that is at least 60% alcohol. 
  • Are vaccinations required for participants?
    • As we enter the 2020-2021 flu season, everyone over the age of 6 months should receive a flu shot. 
  • Are you being asked to carpool or travel?
    • It is important to avoid carpooling with members outside of the household 
    • Traveling for a sport or activity – especially if travelling occurs with a group (in busses, cars, by plane, etc.), is considered high risk for COVID-19. Whenever possible, avoid travelling for a sport or activity. If you must travel, opt to take your own vehicle or mode of transportation so that only members of the same household are travelling in the same vehicle.
  • What is the organization’s policy on known or suspected COVID-19 cases?
    • Knowing this information ahead of time will allow you to be prepared in the event there is a known or suspected COVID-19 case.






The next update will cover information about schools. 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 24th (English | Spanish)
Update from week of August 17th (English | Spanish)
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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