Urgent Updates: Transmission, Hospital Capacity, Vaccine, Variants, Testing, Cloth Face Covering, & MIS-C Information – Week of February 8th

Updated as of: 02-08-2021
Current Transmission Status: High


New reported cases per day within Arizona have decreased 34% compared to two weeks ago, but transmission is still very high across the state! Currently, per every 100,000 Arizonans, 10,475 have been infected with the virus. In the past week, there has been an average of 150 COVID-19 deaths per day. 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. During the past week, there were an average of 4,421 COVID-19 patients in Arizona hospitals. Currently only 12% of ICU beds, 10% of in-patient beds, and 50% of emergency department hospital beds across the state are available for any incoming admissionsHealthcare 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 580,000 first doses of the 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 & Residents
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, La Paz, 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.


  • Brazil Variant (P.1): The first case of Brazil’s more contagious variant (P.1.) was reported in Minnesota. The case did have recent travel to Brazil.
  • UK Variant (B.1.1.7): This variant was confirmed in Arizona in travelers returning from abroad.  Evidence is suggesting that in addition to being more contagious than the original virus, the UK variant (B.1.1.7) may cause more serious disease. More research is needed on this variant.


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. 

Cloth Face Coverings:

Cloth face coverings with multiple layers create a barrier for 50-70% of fine respiratory particles that are produced through breathing, talking, coughing, etc. With the news of more contagious COVID-19 variants, it is very important to have a cloth face covering that fits snug around your nose and mouth – with no gaps. Having a well-fitting cloth face covering protects those around you and by physical distancing from others, you help protect yourself. KN95 masks can be used to add a layer of protection for yourself and are available fairly widely – but be careful of knockoffs, you can find FDA approved KN95 here. N95 respirators should still be reserved for healthcare workers and must be fit-tested prior to use.  

Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C):

MIS-C is a rare condition that has been linked to COVID-19 in children. Much is still unknown about MIS-C, but it can be life threatening. Since the pandemic began, there have been over 1,600 cases in the U.S. and 26 reported deaths.

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