What You Need to Know-Week of March 8th

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




In this Update:

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

2. March Wellness Reminder – Gratitude

3. Information you Need: Mask Guideline Update

4. COVID-19 Vaccine Quick Question: Why are the second dose side effects likely worse than the first dose?




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



Updated as of: 03-08-2021

Current Transmission Status: High, but decreasing

Compared to two weeks ago:

  • Cases per day within Arizona have decreased by 46% 
  • Deaths have decreased by 40%
  • Hospitalizations have decreased by 44%

Currently, per every 100,000 Arizonans, 11,228 have been infected with the virus. 

In the past week, there has been an average of:

  • 1,284 cases per day
  • 79.7 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. 

Current Hospital Capacity Concern: High, but decreasing

During the past week, there were an average of 1,409 COVID-19 patients in Arizona hospitals.

  • Currently only 14% of ICU beds, 13% of in-patient beds, and 52% of emergency department hospital beds across the state are available for any incoming admissions
  • 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:

Great news! The Johnson and Johnson COVID-19 vaccine has met the FDA requirements for efficacy and safety. After 30 days of the one dose  vaccination, this vaccine was shown to be 85% effective against severe COVID-19 and 66% effective against moderate to severe COVID-19. 

  • Over 1.7 million total Pfizer and Moderna vaccines have been administered across Arizona! 
  • All counties, with the exception of Santa Cruz county are currently vaccinating those 65 and older. 

Use the resources below for more vaccination information:

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. 

It is still important to take safety precautions even after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine. Visit our previous update for more information.



2. March Wellness Reminder – Gratitude


As we come up on the one-year anniversary of the pandemic in the U.S., we want to take this time to remind people to reconnect with your wellness. It is important to find moments in your week for self-care as we both process the difficult past year and prepare for the next one ahead of us. 

Wellness Tip of the Week: Gratitude 

During times of crisis, hardship, and turmoil, it is more important than ever to take time to be aware of and express gratitude and appreciation in order to improve our mental wellbeing and resilience. 

  1. Start a gratitude journal by writing something each day that you are grateful for. If you need help getting started, there are many websites and apps to provide suggestions and prompts. 
  2. Be aware of the small kindnesses and thoughtful gestures of people around you and let others know you have noticed by acknowledging their actions. This can be simple: a wave, a thumbs up, a smile, a thank you. For important people in your life, take a little extra time to tell them what you have noticed and exactly how it helped you. 
  3. Appreciate your own strengths, resilience, hard work, or kindness. Think of times in the past when life was hard, maybe even the worst moments of your life, and take a moment to appreciate the strength it took for you to make it through. Maybe even reflect on what you learned and how you grew from that challenge. Give yourself credit and acknowledgement, because you deserve it. 

As we come up on the one-year anniversary of the pandemic in the U.S., we want to take this time to remind people to reconnect with your wellness. It is important to find moments in your week for self-care as we both process the past year and prepare for the one ahead of us. 


3.  Information you Need: Mask Guideline Update 


With the news of more contagious COVID-19 variants, it is more important than ever to follow face covering and mask guidelines. Cloth face coverings with multiple layers create a barrier for 50-70% of fine respiratory particles that are produced through breathing, talking, coughing, etc. 

Having a well-fitting cloth face covering or mask that fits SNUGLY to your face is key! Gaps around the edges make it easier to breathe, but defeat the purpose as they allow unfiltered air and droplets to move freely past the mask. 

Tips to ensure your mask is working effectively:

  1. Adjust Fit: Your mask should fit snugly and securely to prevent gaps around the edges. 
    1. A metal strip over the nose can be bent and shaped can help improve the fit.
    2. For disposable and surgical masks, use the knot and tuck technique to shape the mask to fit more snugly to your face.
    3. Tightening the ear loops or ties can help the mask fit more snugly to your head on all edges, especially against your cheeks. 
    4. Do not wear a mask with a valve, as this allows unfiltered air to pass through the mask, defeating the purpose of a snug fit. 
  2. Add layers: Ensure your face covering or mask has at least two layers, three may be better. 
    1. Do not wear two disposable masks at the same time as they will not fit snugly enough. 
    2. Add a surgical mask beneath your cloth face covering. The outside face covering must still fit snugly on all edges to provide protection.
    3. Make sure that you can still see and breathe with the additional layers.
  3. Use a KN95 respirator: These may provide greater protection and are widely available.
    1. The respirator must fit snugly to your face on all edges to provide the greatest protection.
    2. Be careful of knockoffs, as there are many products on the market which do not meet safety standards. Find FDA-approved KN95 here
    3. Do not combine KN95 masks with any other mask or face covering. 
    4. Note: “N95” respirators should still be reserved for healthcare workers and must be fit-tested prior to use.
  4. Make sure it’s comfortable! If you have to wear a mask for an extended period of time, it should be comfortable and fit well enough that it does not need to be adjusted often. 
    1. To reduce ear fatigue, you can use a paperclip to connect the ear loops behind your head or add silicone mask hooks to the earpieces of your glasses. 
    2. Adding an under-mask support frame can create space between the mask and your face to increase comfort and breathability. Ensure that the edges of your mask still snugly fit to your face when using a support frame.
    3. If you do touch or adjust your mask, be sure to wash your hands or use hand sanitizer before and after!


4. COVID-19 Vaccine Quick Question: Why are the second dose side effects likely worse than the first dose?



If you have received either a Pfizer or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine, you may have felt some side effects. Whether that was a sore arm, a fever, fatigue, headaches, or one of the other common side effects, this is your body giving you a signal that the vaccination is working! However, the second dose of the two currently available COVID-19 vaccines in the U.S. has gained a reputation for causing worse side effects, but why is that?

Simply put, the first dose of the vaccine taught your body to identify the mRNA component found within the vaccine as an unwelcome invader. After the second dose is received, your body is already familiar with the pathogen from its previous encounter and your immune system knows that it must ramp up its response to get rid of it. You may feel your body’s immune response in the form of side effects (e.g., chills, fever, muscle aches, headache, etc.). 

  • You can think of it this way: when you first encounter a problem, you are working to understand the problem. However, when you’ve dealt with the same problem again, you immediately know what to do to solve it and you can jump right into action with even more determination than when you first encountered the issue.

It should be known that not everyone will feel side effects after their first or even second dose of a vaccine and if you are one of those people, you should not worry. Everyone’s immune systems are different and respond differently to vaccinations!

Those who do experience side effects, usually only feel them for a very short period of time (a day to a few days). Remember that these side effects from the vaccine are very minimal compared to the potential long-term effects of COVID-19. So, do not be scared of the side effects – you are only receiving a confirmation that the vaccine is working!

If you’re experiencing side effects for more than several days, be sure to: 

  1. Report your symptoms to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS)
  2. Sign up for and report your symptoms to V-Safe, the CDC’s after vaccination health checker
  3. Contact your doctor

It is also a good idea to know the difference between COVID-19 symptoms from an exposure to the virus and COVID-19 vaccine side effects. Respiratory issues are unlikely to be related to a vaccine, so if you are experiencing respiratory symptoms (e.g., shortness of breath, difficulty breathing) make an appointment to get tested. 


If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, the choice to get vaccinated should be decided with your doctor or health care provider’s input. Each circumstance may differ depending on health status, risk of COVID-19 exposure, what stage of pregnancy you are in and other factors that should be considered with your health care professional. 




The next update will cover the difference between N95 and KN95 masks. 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 March 1st (English | Spanish)
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