What You Need to Know-Week of March 29th

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




In this Update:

1. Urgent Updates: Vaccine & Variant Information

2. Policy changes from the Governor: New Executive Order

3. Information You Need: CDC Guidelines for those who have been fully vaccinated

4. March Wellness Reminder – Move More

5. Quick Question: What is a COVID-19 “long hauler”?




1. Urgent Updates: Vaccine & Variant Information



Updated as of: 03-29-2021

Vaccine Information:

  • Vaccine appointments are now open to all Arizonans, 16 years and older! 
    • Use the information below to register for an appointment. Keep checking back for appointments as they fill up quickly!
  • Over 1,185,986 individuals have been fully vaccinated in Arizona, so far. 3,041,773 total doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been administered. 
  • Good news from CDC! Real life testing of the vaccines indicates 90% effectiveness – there is always a dip in how effective vaccines on “in real life” so a reduction was anticipated. That it remained as high as 90% is good news. The University of Arizona was one of the sites for this research! More research still needs to be done in sub-populations, like those with chronic health conditions as vaccine effectiveness seems to be lower in these sub-groups. 


Registering for a vaccination appointment:

Use the resources below for more vaccination information:

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

Variant Information:

  • The newer COVID-19 variants are being found at increasing rates across the world, including here in Arizona. The variants are more easily transmitted from person to person and evidence suggests that severity of disease is also increased. Importantly previous infections may not protect as well for re-infection from some of these variants. 
    • We currently have documentation of the variant in Brazil, South Africa,and the United Kingdom within Arizona. 
  • Despite the decline in reported cases in Arizona, it is still incredibly important to stay vigilant and continue to take safety precautions to prevent COVID-19. There is concern about another wave given the relaxation of policies and variant introduction in Arizona. 
  • For information about variants of COVID-19, visit our previous update.

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 spread.



2. Guidance from the Governor: New Executive Order March 2021


Special contribution from Leila Barraza, JD, MPH:

On March 25, 2021, Governor Ducey issued an Executive Order that loosened restrictions previously put into place during the public health emergency.

Specifically, the Executive Order:

  • Removed a requirement that large events or gatherings with more than 50 people, including youth sports, had to receive approval from a local government (e.g., city or town) prior to the event. Organizers of such events should still encourage the use of safety precautions, such as distancing. 
  • Transitioned business guidance for operations to prevent the spread of COVID-19, including distancing, from requirements to recommendations; businesses maintain the right to implement and enforce mask requirements and distancing, if they wish to do so. 
  • Limited the authority of cities and counties to issue any order or rule that conflicted with the Governor’s Executive Order, including any order mandating the use of masks. However, cities, towns, and counties can still require masks in government buildings and on public transportation.
  • Permitted bars to resume regular operations.

Implications of this change:

While currently Arizona case numbers are declining, there is a worrisome trend across the United States that we are heading into a fourth wave. European countries experienced this increase weeks ago. On Monday the 28th, the CDC Director issued a heartfelt warning that with the relaxing restrictions, variant circulation, and a still susceptible population we need to all double down on our prevention efforts for just a while longer. Vaccine access is ramping up and we are so close to being in a good place. We at AZCOVIDTXT are also concerned that with these relaxing restrictions that cases could increase again along with hospitalizations and deaths in Arizona. It is already being seen in other parts of the country. We urge all our AZCOVIDTXT participants to continue masking, get vaccinated when you can, and remain vigilant about keeping your social circle small. 


3.  Information You Need: CDC Guidelines for those who have been fully vaccinated


The CDC has recently provided guidance for those who have been fully vaccinated. Fully vaccinated means that it has been two weeks after you have received all necessary doses of the vaccine (e.g., two for Pfizer and Moderna, one for Johnson & Johnson). 

It is important to remember that even after being fully vaccinated, you should continue to physical distance and wear your masks while you are in public. You should also:

  • Avoid medium or large gatherings
  • Only travel if it is essential
  • Watch for symptoms of COVID-19 (and get tested if you feel ill)

Fully vaccinated individuals are allowed to:

For more information about this guidance, visit this link.


4. March Wellness Tip – Move More



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: Move More

Moving our bodies is a key piece of the health puzzle and it is worth revisiting when we can. Whether it’s spending less time each day on the couch or actively going for a walk, simply moving your body is crucial for both physical and mental health. 

Creative ways to stay active

  • Play an active game with household members
  • Clean or organize parts of your house
  • Walk around or stretch during commercials or while on the phone
  • Garden or do yard work
  • Walk around your yard or neighborhood with music or an audiobook
  • Stand up as much as possible, especially if you work from home or spend hours on the computer
  • If you have stairs, climb up and down them for 10 minutes, as fast or slow as you need to
  • Turn on music and have a dance party
  • Set an alarm and move every hour: from getting a glass of water to jumping jacks, anything counts
  • For more challenge, create a circuit of bodyweight exercises for yourself. Some ideas include wall sits, planks, squats, lunges, high knees, and tricep dips. 

Tips

  • Don’t think of this as “exercise.” There are many ways to move your body besides doing an obvious exercise routine, and they are all equally valid ways to be more active.
  • If consistency and routine helps you, schedule movement time for yourself. If you want to just try adding in little 5-minute movement challenges for yourself throughout the day, that works, too. Whatever you do try, decide to make it intentional rather than relying on memory.
  • Be realistic – this isn’t about pushing yourself. Five minutes every day for a month is better than 30 minutes one time that left you exhausted, sore, or unhappy! 
  • Start gradually and listen to your body. Not only is it easier to remember to add one new habit rather than trying to do a dozen things, it is easier on your body to get used to one new activity at a time. 
  • And finally, talk to your primary care provider before starting an exercise routine. 

4. Quick Question: What is a COVID-19 “long hauler”?


Many people who develop COVID-19 will develop mild to moderate symptoms and recover quickly (approximately two weeks). Other cases experience a severe reaction to the virus and may take a month or so to recover. However, a COVID-19 “long hauler” is someone who contracted the virus and continues to have symptoms, ranging from mild to severe, for several months or more following their initial infection. Be sure to talk with your healthcare provider if you continue to experience symptoms.

There is a lot still to learn about these “long hauler” cases, but here is some information that we do know:

  • “Long-haulers” have been reported in all age groups
  • “Long-haulers” have been reported across people who had mild, moderate and severe acute infections. In fact, the AZ CoVHORT study determined that in non-hospitalized patients – the prevalence of at least one symptom 30 days after infection may be as high as 2/3rd of non-hospitalized patients. 
  • It is unlikely that “long-haulers” are contagious two weeks after their initial infection, despite their prolonged symptoms
  • The most common lasting symptom among “long-haulers” is fatigue, although many experience extended brain fog and shortness of breath and other common COVID-19 symptoms (e.g., cough, headache, etc.)
  • Scientists have not yet found consistent reasoning as to why certain individuals become “long-haulers,” but it appears more likely in those with chronic underlying medical conditions
  • “Long-haulers” can still receive a COVID-19 vaccine, but should consult with their doctor about when it is best to do so
  • The duration of and severity of symptoms experienced by “long-haulers” can negatively impact their mental health, and some may develop anxiety or depression
  • Some individuals who have lost their sense of taste and smell are regaining their senses and experiencing parageusia, or a metallic, poor taste as a result of a COVID-19 infection. This is also considered a “long-hauler” symptom.
  • Learn more about what the University of Arizona is doing to understand long term consequences of the pandemic at Home | CoVHORT (arizona.edu)


The next update will cover information about cdc guidance for quarantine after being fully vaccinated. 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 22nd (English | Spanish)
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