What You Need to Know-Week of February 15th

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




In this Update:

1. Urgent Updates: Transmission, Hospital Capacity, Vaccine, and Variant Information

2. Quick Question: How do I register for a COVID-19 vaccine?

3. Information You Need: Tips for what to do before you receive the COVID-19 vaccine! 




1. Urgent Updates: Transmission, Hospital Capacity, Vaccine, and Variant Information



Updated as of: 02-15-2021
Current Transmission Status: High

Transmission:

New reported cases per day within Arizona have decreased 58% compared to two weeks ago, but transmission is still very high across the state! Currently, per every 100,000 Arizonans, 10,761 have been infected with the virus. In the past week, there has been an average of 133 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 13% of ICU beds, 12% of in-patient beds, and 48% of emergency department hospital 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 1,265,950 total doses (863,807 first doses) of the vaccines have been administered across Arizona! Apache, Cochise, Coconino, Gila, Graham, Greenlee, La Paz, Navajo, Pinal, Yavapai, and Yuma counties are currently vaccinating those 65 and older. 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.

Variants:

  • 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. Despite currently comprising a very small proportion of cases in the US, it is increasing significantly. Fortunately, vaccines appear to still provide good levels of immunity against this strain. 
  • South African variant (501.v2 or B.1.351): Recently confirmed in South Carolina, California and Texas. Recent evidence indicates the AstraZeneca vaccine from the UK is not as effective against this variant. There is no information yet on how it impacts Moderna or Pfizer vaccines, the primary vaccines in the U.S. It is anticipated that there will still be some protection from severe hospitalization or death even if it is not as effective. 



2. Quick Question: How do I register for a COVID-19 vaccine?



The Arizona Department of Health Services has created a portal for vaccinations. Through this secure portal you can access resources about the vaccine and schedule a vaccination appointment for you and your family members. Follow these steps to set up your account and get registered when you are eligible:

  1. To register for a vaccine in Arizona, visit this link
  2. You will be asked to create an account if you have not made one already
  3. After creating your account, login
  4. Click on “Book an Appointment” in the Vaccination Appointment box 
  5. You will then be directed to a webpage where you answer a series of questions to determine eligibility and if you are eligible, you can then sign up for a vaccination appointment 
  6. If you do not have an email address or need assistance registering you can call 1-844-542-8201


3.  Information You Need: Tips for what to do before you receive the COVID-19 vaccine!


Before getting vaccinated:

  1. Consider postponing appointments or services that involve vaccines, cosmetic injections, or other injections at least two weeks before your COVID-19 vaccination appointment. If you have any questions or concerns, talk with your doctor.
  2. Go to bed early!
  • You want your immune system to be in good shape for receiving the vaccine! Scientists have found that sleep can greatly improve your immune function, so it is a good idea to be well-rested both prior to and after getting your vaccination. Limiting caffeine, alcohol, and exposure to blue light from technology before bed may help you get a better night of sleep.
  1. Avoid drinking alcohol 24 hours prior to your vaccination appointment.
  • Research is still needed to understand whether alcohol will impact the immune response made to the vaccine, but alcohol is known to compromise immune function. It is a good idea to at least avoid alcohol 24 hours prior to getting the vaccine, especially binge drinking (5 drinks for men and 4 drinks for women in two hours).
  1. Stay hydrated!
  • Similar to getting a good night’s rest, staying hydrated by drinking 8 cups of water a day is key to a healthy immune system.
  1. Avoid taking over the counter allergy medication as a “preventative” measure to avoid allergic reactions or pain at the injection site before your vaccine 
  • Continue to take these medications if you normally do so or are advised to do so by your doctor.
  • Allergic reactions to vaccinations are very rare and taking allergy medications like benadryl prior to your vaccination is not likely to prevent a severe allergic reaction. Vaccine point of distribution sites are stocked with epinephrine in case of emergency.
  • If you have questions about your specific allergies (especially to previous vaccinations or ingredients found in vaccinations), consult with your doctor before receiving the vaccination.
  • Note: If these medications are recommended by your doctor, or you take these medications already to manage chronic conditions DO NOT stop taking them prior to your vaccination appointment.
  • For more information about COVID-19 vaccines and allergic reactions, visit this link.
  1. Avoid taking NSAIDS (e.g., ibuprofen, aspirin) as a “preventative” measure to avoid pain at the injection site before your vaccine 
  • Continue to take these medications if you normally do so or are advised to do so by your doctor.
  • It is unlikely that these painkillers will drastically affect your response to the vaccine, but this is not yet well-understood, so it is best to avoid taking these as a preventative measure for pain prior to your vaccination. 
  • However, if you do experience common side effects such as aches or pain at the injection site after receiving the vaccine, consult with your doctor about taking acetaminophen (e.g., Tylenol) or ibuprofen.
  • Note: If you take these medications to manage chronic conditions or your doctor has recommended that you take them, continue to take the medication.




The next update will cover vaccine mythbusters. 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.

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