What You Need to Know-Week of December 14th

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




In this Update:

1. Pandemic Preparedness: Is it safe for me to attend a holiday gathering?

2. Quick Question: What to do if you think you were exposed to COVID-19 during a holiday gathering

3.  Information You Need: How to attend community ceremonies and gatherings during the holidays




1. Pandemic Preparedness: Is it safe for me to attend a holiday gathering?



Ask yourself the following questions:

  1. Are you in a high-risk group for COVID-19 or will there be vulnerable people attending the holiday gathering you are considering? 
  2. Do you or other members of your household have potential exposures due to activities that put you in close contact with people outside your household on a regular basis? This could be by choice or it could be due to your job, childcare, etc.. 
  3. Would you need to travel to the gathering (e.g., by plane or public transportation)? If so, are there travel restrictions where you reside or where you are travelling?
  4. Are you unable to quarantine before and after the holiday gathering (including travel time)?
  5. Are the number of COVID-19 cases in your destination much higher than where you are residing? 
  6. Will there be many people attending the holiday gathering?

If you answered yes to any of the above questions, it may not be safe for you to attend a holiday gathering. Instead, opt to celebrate the holidays with your immediate family or pandemic pod.

If you answered no to all of the above questions, we still recommend minimizing your gatherings with other households. But if you choose to get together, follow the guidance and tips we provided in our previous update on how to reduce COVID-19 risk during holiday celebrations.

For more information about assessing COVID-19 risk, visit our previous update. 



2. Quick Question: What to do if you think you were exposed to COVID-19 during a holiday gathering



  1. Begin to quarantine yourself. While CDC guidance has changed to include shorter quarantines under some circumstances it is still ideal to quarantine for 14 days. Each jurisdiction will enforce the quarantines based on the current context. Some are reducing this time period to 10 day and others are reducing it to 7 days if you have a negative test in the 48 hours previous to day 7.  Days start after the last day that you had exposure to the person who tested positive for COVID-19.
  • What does it mean to quarantine? Do not go out in public! Arrange for your groceries and essential goods to be delivered or dropped off by a friend or neighbor. Stay in your own room and use your own bathroom if possible to avoid possible spread in your household. Sleep away from your partner or children. Household members who are vulnerable may consider going somewhere while you quarantine to avoid infection. Clean high touch surfaces regularly. 
  1. Watch for symptoms. 
  • Especially a fever over 100.4℉, cough, shortness of breath, body aches, headache, loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting, or diarrhea. Loss of taste or smell is one of the most specific symptoms that indicate it might be COVID. 
  • Seek medical attention if you have trouble breathing, chest pain, new confusion, or bluish lips or face. Consider buying a pulse oximeter if you become ill. 
  1. Get a COVID-19 diagnostic test (PCR, rapid) if you have a known exposure or begin experiencing symptoms. 
  • If you are not experiencing symptoms, still consider getting a test but wait until day 5-7 as many people get a negative test even if they are positive when they test too early. Even if you receive a negative result, if you can quarantine the full 14 days it reduces the chance of transmission. If you really would experience hardship, the CDC guidelines indicate you can end quarantine at 10 days OR at 7 days if you have a negative test in the previous 48 hours.  
  • You can be infectious and never develop symptoms or develop only mild symptoms. .
  1. Communicate with everyone you may have had close contact with, including those who attended the event where you may have been exposed
  • At the earliest possible opportunity, everyone who may have been exposed should be informed so that they can assess who they may have come into contact with since exposure. Given the current level of transmission it is impossible for contact tracers to reach everyone in time to prevent them from transmitting to others. As soon as you get symptoms of COVID you should tell people possibly exposed and then follow-up to tell them if your test turned out positive. 
  • Encourage everyone at the event where you think you were exposed to follow the steps below, too. 
  • Notify any schools, employers, daycares, where you may have visited while you were infectious. Remember you can be infectious 1-2 days BEFORE you show signs or symptoms of illness.
  1. You and anyone that you have had close contact with (e.g., household members) should stay home and not travel until the 10-day quarantine period is over.

For more detailed information about what to do if you have been exposed to COVID-19, visit our previous update.


3.  Information You Need: How to attend community ceremonies and gatherings during the holidays


The upcoming holidays are usually times when many community and religious ceremonies and gatherings take place. Given the current COVID-19 crisis AND the predictions of further increasing cases, hospitalizations and deaths, we at AZCOVIDTXT recommend you cozy down within your household this year and forego most gatherings. We know it is hard and some of us have personally chosen to miss significant family events; funerals, weddings, birthdays, and holiday gatherings to keep everyone in our family and friend networks safer. It was rough. But the vaccines mean hopefully we can make-up for these missed moments next year.  If you do decide to attend or participate in any gatherings, there are things you can do to be safer.

Before the event:

  1. Do not attend the event if you or anyone in your household is feeling ill, even if it is a mild illness. Take your temperature before going to ensure that you and other family members do not have a fever. Remember a mild case for you may transmit into a severe illness for your loved one. 
  2. Do not attend the event if you or anyone you have had close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 in the past two weeks.
  3. If there is a way to attend the event or ceremony virtually, choose that option. One of us recently attended a family members funeral over a cell phone. Again, this is hard but the best choice for our family. 
  4. If you are traveling to the event check out a recent update by AZCOVIDTXT Dr. Kacey Ernst and fellow faculty member Paloma Beamer for tips on flying safer. [updated recently from our first article]

During the event:

  1. Outdoor gatherings are always better than indoor ones. But this doesn’t mean you can do whatever you want outdoors. Continue to maintain distance and wear masks. 
  2. If the gatherings are indoors in a public place, opt to go at less busy or crowded time.
  3. While attending, wear a cloth face covering. Remember three layers with a polypropylene lining is best. 
  4. Follow physical distancing protocols to maintain 6 feet or more between you and other people that you do not live with. 
  1. Avoid close contact with other individuals (e.g., hand shaking, hugging, etc.).
  2. Bring a 60-70% alcohol based hand sanitizer with you to the gathering.
  3. If you are attending a religious ceremony, avoid sharing worship or other religious materials.
  4. Avoid taking food or beverages, unless they are individual wrapped or pre-packaged. If you do take your own prepared food, it is best to portion out for the households that are there ahead of time and have everyone have their own portions at separate household tables. You can also just order take out and have the restaurant split the packaging by household. 






The next update will cover information on where to access food. 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 December 7th (English | Spanish)
Update from week of November 30th (English | Spanish)
Update from week of November 23rd (English | Spanish)
Update from week of November 16th (English | Spanish)
Update from week of November 9th (English | Spanish)
Update from week of November 2nd (English | Spanish)
Update from week of October 26th (English | Spanish)
Update from week of October 19th (English | Spanish)
Update from week of October 12th (English | Spanish)
Update from week of October 5th (English | Spanish)
Update from week of September 28th (English | Spanish)
Update from week of September 21th (English | Spanish)
Update from week of September 14th (English | Spanish)
Update from week of September 7th (English | Spanish)
Update from week of August 31st (English | Spanish)
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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