What You Need to Know-Week of December 21st

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




In this Update:

1. Information You Need: URGENT COVID-19 Arizona Update

2. Information You Need: Is Hydroxychloroquine effective against COVID-19?

3.   Information You Need: Food Insecurity in the Pandemic

4.  Quick question: Are UV light sanitizing devices effective?




1. Information You Need: URGENT COVID-19 Arizona Update



Right now, COVID-19 cases and transmission in Arizona are higher than they have ever been. Hospitals are at full capacity within the state, overwhelming frontline workers and the healthcare system as a whole. Going into the holiday season, it has never been more important to take basic precautions such as staying home, washing hands, and wearing a cloth face covering. It is also critical to keep yourself safe from other avoidable issues that could lead you to contact the health care system – with health care systems overwhelmed avoiding injuries is equally important to reduce burden on our system. 

For regularly updated case counts and for more COVID-19 related data, visit the Arizona Dept of Health site. 

 If you or someone you know is experiencing symptoms, or has been exposed to someone with COVID-19, it is essential that they get tested, quarantine while waiting for results, and isolate if they are positive. Testing can sometimes be challenging to find and one of the MEZCOPH research teams and SERI, led by Dr. Paloma Beamer, has compiled a list of all the testing facilities in Tucson, AZ which is available at this link

Other testing facilities across the state can be identified at this link. 



2.  Information You Need: Is Hydroxychloroquine effective against COVID-19?



Scientific studies have found that there are not any notable preventative or treatment benefits for hydroxychloroquine use against the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

Earlier in the pandemic, hydroxychloroquine was mentioned heavily in the news as a potential treatment or preventative measure against COVID-19. However, at that time, little was known about the drug’s effects on the virus. Since then, much more research has been done to explore whether or not this drug is a beneficial preventative or treatment measure. Many scientific studies, including randomized control trials, have found that hydroxychloroquine provided no to minimal benefits in preventing the virus or among hospitalized COVID-19 patients and could lead to lethal heart rhythm abnormalities. Other treatments that have been shown to be more effective include monoclonal antibody therapy, remdesivir and corticosteroids. There is some limited evidence that if you are vitamin D deficient, supplementation can boost your immune system. Low doses, under 1000 IU are considered safe, but high doses of vitamin D are not recommended as over 4000 IU per day can be harmful. Vitamin C has also gotten attention but at high doses, it can cause nausea, cramps, and an increased risk of kidney stones. In general, supplement only if you are deficient and cannot obtain daily requirements through your diet. 


3.  Information You Need: Food Insecurity in the Pandemic


Food insecurity can be defined as uncertain or limited access to enough food to be healthy. This could look like families running out of food before their next paycheck and being unable to buy more without borrowing money; families being unable to eat a balanced, healthy diet; or some/all family members eating less than they need in order to save food or ensure that someone else in the family eats enough. 

If you are struggling financially this year and are feeling unsure where your next meal is coming from, you are not alone. A recent survey of Arizona households between July 1 and August 10, 2020, by ASU and the National Food Access and COVID Research Team (NFACT), found that 1 in 3 households in Arizona have experienced some level of food insecurity since the beginning of the pandemic, a 28% increase from 2019. Even households without current food insecurity reported persistent worries about access and affordability of food in the future, showing that this is a widespread area of concern for many people in Arizona. 

If you are worrying about providing food for yourself or your family, these resources may help:  

  • 211Arizona
    • This is a statewide service available both online and by telephone that can help direct you to a wide variety of local resources. 
  • AZ Department of Economic Security 
    • DES provides a wide variety of government-funded hunger relief programs, including SNAP benefits, emergency food assistance (TEFAL), and many programs specific to seniors over 60 years old. 
  • Arizona Food Bank Network 
    • A network of food banks, food pantries and agencies across Arizona working to address hunger and food insecurity. This website can help connect you to the food banks in your area such as the Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona, United Food Bank serving much of northern AZ, and many more. 
  • Produce on Wheels Without Waste
    • Get up to 70lb of fresh produce for $12 by visiting a weekly distribution site. Produce will vary depending on availability and season, and is available first-come, first-served. If you are in the Nogales area, you can visit the distribution warehouse directly and get a full shopping cart of produce for only $5. Find out where, when and how this works by visiting their site. 
  • School Meal Programs
    • For families with school-age children, check with your children’s school to see if they are continuing to offer meals for students and family members throughout the winter break and beyond. 

If you would like, and are able, to support others during these unprecedented times of need:

Please consider donating to the Arizona Food Bank Network or to your local food bank. While all support is appreciated, here are some reasons to donate money instead of food: 

  • Food banks are able to purchase more food per dollar than the average consumer, making that money go further. 
  • Food banks are able to purchase the specific foods they need to supplement donated foods and provide well-rounded nutritional food packages.
  • Food banks are able to purchase fresh foods like dairy, meat, fruits and vegetables, which are less often donated, have a shorter shelf-life, and are more difficult and costly to store.
  • Finally, food banks are able to use donated money to purchase foods year-round and continue to provide food even when there are fewer donations. 

Other ways to help: 

  • If donating food or organizing a food drive makes more sense in your situation, we recommend contacting your local food bank(s) to confirm what they need and work with them to make your food drive as effective and helpful as possible. 
  • If you are looking to volunteer your time, contact your local food bank(s) to find out what opportunities are available and what physical distancing and safety precautions are in place to keep you safe. 


 4. Quick question: Are UV light sanitizing devices effective?


The short answer is yes, but the full answer is a bit more complicated! UV light sanitizing devices (prices start at $30) have been shown to be effective against bacteria and other coronaviruses such as MERS, so it is highly likely they would be effective against the virus that causes COVID-19, but there is not currently a 100% guarantee that this is true. UV, specifically UV-C, light sanitizing devices can be used to disinfect a range of items. Most commonly used to sanitize technology like phones and earbuds, these devices are also able to sanitize things like keys, packaging, sunglasses and even face masks.

  • These devices are not necessary and do not replace the easiest and most essential preventative measures. 
    • An alternative to these devices is using Lysol Disinfectant Spray to disinfect smooth surfaces, but be sure to follow the directions on the bottle and never use Lysol directly on food or on your skin. 
  • Phones and technology especially are known to be extremely dirty and in many cases they can carry 10 times the amount of germs in comparison to a toilet seat. So, it is definitely a good idea to sanitize your regularly used items and technology. However, even these devices are not perfect. They do not work effectively if an object is covered (e.g., by a phone case) and things like buttons may also not get fully sanitized. 
  • UV light sanitizing products should NOT be used to disinfect body parts, as they can be very harmful to skin and eyes. 





The next update will cover information on mRNA vaccines. 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 14th (English | Spanish)
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)
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Update from week of June 1st (English | Spanish)
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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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