What You Need to Know-Week of January 25th

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




In this Update:

1. Urgent Updates: Transmission, Hospital Capacity, Vaccine Information, & Testing

2. Quick Question: Will the COVID-19 vaccine give me COVID?

3. Information You Need: What does a new federal administration mean for the COVID-19 pandemic?




1. Urgent Updates: Transmission, Hospital Capacity, Vaccine Information, & Testing



Updated as of: 01-25-2021
Current Transmission Status: High

Transmission:

New cases per day within Arizona have started to decline slightly compared to last week, but transmission is still very high! Counties with the highest number of cases per 100,000 people are Yuma, Santa Cruz, Navajo, Apache, and Graham. For regularly updated case counts and additional COVID-19 information by county, visit the Arizona Department of Health’s data dashboard summary page.

  • Please continue to stay home and take the necessary precautions (e.g., practicing hand hygiene, physical distancing, and wearing cloth face coverings) to prevent COVID-19. 
  • Remember that while interacting with others outdoors does reduce your likelihood of a COVID-19 infection compared to being indoors, it is still necessary to wear a cloth face covering and maintain physical distancing from anyone who is outside of your household.

Current Hospital Capacity: High Concern

Hospital capacity remains a major concern for Arizona. Currently only 8% of ICU and in-patient beds across the state are available for any incoming admissions. Healthcare workers are incredibly overwhelmed and have less time, resources, and staff to devote to usual care including elective medical and surgical procedures. 

  • It is important to note that hospital capacity percentages only account for available beds and do not account for available staff members or resources, which are dwindling. 

However, it is still important to remember that if you or someone else is experiencing a medical emergency, you should seek emergency medical care immediately. Visit this link and click on “Hospital Bed Usage & Availability” for updated information regarding hospital capacity in Arizona.

Vaccine Information:

Over 300,000 vaccines have been administered across Arizona! Most counties are in the 1B priority phase. Each phase of the vaccine distribution plan and the phases that Arizona counties are in are outlined below:


Phase 1
County Phase


Phase 1A:
Healthcare Workers & Healthcare Support Occupations, Emergency Medical Services Workers, Long-term Care Facility Staff & ResidentsLa Paz
Phase 1B Priority:Education & Childcare Workers, Protective Services Occupations, Adults 75 and older, Remaining 1ACochise, Coconino, Gila, Graham, Greenlee, Maricopa, Mohave, Yavapai, Yuma, Pima, Pinal
Phase 1B:Education & Childcare Workers, Protective Services Occupations, Adults 75 and older, Essential Services/ Critical Industry Workers, Adults with High-Risk Conditions in Congregate Settings, Remaining 1AApache, Navajo, Santa Cruz
Phase 1C:Adults 65 and Older, Adults of Any Age with High-Risk Medical Conditions, Adults Living in Congregate Settings, Remaining 1A & 1B

Phase 2

 
Additional High-Risk/ Critical Populations, General Public, Remaining Phase 1 Populations

Phase 3
General Public, Remaining Phase 1 or 2 Populations

Non-residents (e.g., students and other people who reside in Arizona part-time) are eligible to receive the vaccine in Arizona. All Arizona residents can register to be vaccinated in their own county or in Phoenix. 

You may also sign up for an Arizona Vaccine Program secure portal account to schedule your vaccination appointment when it is your time to do so. Use Mozilla Firefox or Google Chrome as your browser for best usability.

Testing:

Accessing testing may still be very difficult. Many testing sites require an appointment or prior registration to get tested. Use this link to find a testing site near you. 



2.  Quick Question: Is the COVID-19 vaccine safe and does it work?


Yes! And Yes! The COVID-19 vaccines that are available have been shown to be safe and highly effective. But this doesn’t mean they don’t have side effects. Here are a few key things to know about COVID’19 vaccines.  

  • The vaccine is highly effective, around 95% after TWO doses, at preventing COVID-19 disease and almost completely eliminates severe disease. It could save your life.
  • Less is known about how much it prevents infection as all of the clinical trials were only looking at differences between people with symptomatic disease and not infection so it is important to continue to wear a mask and distance.
  • You must have both doses and wait at least two weeks after your second dose to have maximum protection. You can still get infected and ill in the early days after vaccination, especially after only one dose. First dose efficacy only around 50%. This means if you start to feel sick, you should get tested.
  • Expect side effects. They are more common with the COVID-19 vaccines than in other vaccines. However, these are time-limited and MUCH better than what you might get with COVID-19 disease. These side effects like arm soreness, fatigue, and more rarely fever and chills, demonstrate that your immune system is working. In fact, they are more common in younger people than older people. You might want to plan taking your doses, especially your second one, on a day before a light work or study day just in case.
  • While 95% effectiveness is far better than many of us thought it would be, that still means some few people could still get COVID-19 after being vaccinated. And with new variants being introduced the effectiveness might not be quite as high for those strains, but early evidence indicates they will still provide good protection. It is critical to continue practicing good prevention habits even if you have been vaccinated. 
  • Vaccines will help us return to normal but only after we achieve high coverage of vaccination. Get vaccinated when you are eligible.

We are still learning more about all the ways that these vaccines affect the immune system and our bodies. This is why it is important to stay up to date with the newest vaccine-related information! Side effects experienced during vaccine trials were similar to common side effects seen after receiving a flu shot, such as fever, fatigue and headaches. However, these side effects are minimal compared to the potential long term effects of being infected with the live virus.


3. Information You Need: What does a new federal administration mean for the COVID-19 pandemic?


The last week saw major shifts in the way our federal government plans to handle the COVID-19 pandemic. In the coming months you should expect some of the following changes and some have already occured!

  1. Greater support from the federal government to organize and streamline rollout of the vaccine. 
  2. Rejoining the World Health Organization and re-engaging in the global fight against the spread of the virus. 
  3. Increase testing capacity across the nation. 
  4. Increase the production and supply of personal protective equipment for healthcare workers and the general population. 
  5. Mask mandates for federal lands and some public transportation including some planes, trains and buses. 

These measures should help bring transmission rates down eventually, but it will be several months before we will see the full impact of these kinds of changes. Continue to protect yourself and your family.




The next update will cover information about how the mRNA vaccines work. 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 January 18th (English | Spanish)
Update from week of January 11th (English | Spanish)
Update from week of January 4th (English | Spanish)
Update from week of December 28th (English | Spanish)
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