What You Need to Know-Week of April 5th

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




In this Update:

1. Urgent Updates: Vaccine & Variant Information

2. Information You Need: Updated CDC Guidance on Quarantining and traveling after Vaccination

3. Frequently Asked Questions: Negative Rapid Test Results




1. Urgent Updates: Vaccine & Variant Information


Updated as of: 04-05-2021

Weekly case, death, and hospitalization counts: High, but decreasing

Currently, per every 100,000 Arizonans, 11,555 have been infected with the virus.

Compared to two weeks ago:

There is continued good news

  • Cases per day within Arizona have decreased by 37% 
  • Deaths have decreased by 32%
  • Hospitalizations have decreased by 32%

  But trends across the country are indicating a fourth wave may be on its way. The past few days in Arizona have seen a slight increase. Changing behavior with relaxed mandates, and increasing transmission of highly infectious variants may influence this increase. Increasing vaccination, however, may keep the magnitude of the fourth wave lower.  

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

  • 548 cases per day
  • 24 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. 

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 3,268,590 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. The fact that effectiveness remained as high as 90% is good news. The University of Arizona was one of the sites for this research! However, 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. 
    • The variants from Brazil, South Africa, and the United Kingdom are now in Arizona. In addition, there is a variant that was first identified in Arizona that likely originated here 
  • Despite the general decline in COVID-19 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. Information You Need: Updated CDC Guidance on Quarantining and traveling after Vaccination


The CDC has recently updated guidance for quarantining and traveling after vaccination. 

Quarantine

After an exposure to COVID-19, you do not need to quarantine if you meet ALL of the following criteria:

  • You received your final vaccination dose more than two weeks ago.
    • This ensures that you have the full immune benefits of the vaccine.
  • You received your final vaccination dose no more than 3 months ago.*
  • You do not develop any COVID-19 symptoms within the 14 days after your exposure. 
If you met ALL of the above criteria:If you did NOT meet 1 or more of the above criteria:
Watch for COVID-19 symptoms for 14 days after your exposure.

If you begin experiencing symptoms, contact your doctor and get tested.
You will need to quarantine for 10 days after your exposure to a case of COVID-19.

It is encouraged to get tested.

Even with the vaccination you can still spread the virus to others if you have had an exposure. It may be possible for those who have been vaccinated to spread the virus, but more research is needed.

Travel

The CDC now indicates that fully vaccinated individuals can travel within the United States with low risk to themselves. Non-essential travel is still discouraged as we move into a fourth wave but. 

There is good evidence that fully vaccinated travelers are less likely to get and spread COVID-19.

  • After being fully vaccinated you no longer need to:
    • Get tested before or after travel unless their destination requires it
    • Self-quarantine after arriving at your destination OR when you return back home
  • BUT you should still
    • Wear a mask over your nose and mouth
    • Stay 6 feet from others and avoid crowds
    • Wash your hands often or use hand sanitizer

*The guidance is NOT suggesting that COVID-19 vaccination protection wears off after 3 months – this a cautious time frame based off of the time immunity wanes from a natural infection. More research is needed to confirm how long protection from vaccination lasts.

To view the complete CDC guidance, visit this link.

For more travel guidance, visit this link.


3.  Frequently Asked Questions: Negative Rapid Test Results


COVID-19 rapid (antigen) tests are not as accurate as PCR testing. Some schools or workplaces require a negative test result in order to return to in-person activities. For more information about negative diagnostic results, review the answers to the questions below.

QuestionAnswer
What is the difference between the rapid (antigen) and the PCR COVID-19 tests?Both tests tell you if you have a current COVID-19 infection at the time you were tested.

However, PCR tests are more accurate than rapid (antigen) tests because they detect the genetic material of the virus compared to rapid tests that identify specific viral proteins.
I received a rapid (antigen), diagnostic COVID-19 test result, how confident can I be in that result?If you were to receive a positive result on a rapid COVID-19 test, you can be fairly confident that you are infected with the virus.

There is less confidence in a negative test’s ability to identify if someone truly does not have an infection.
Why is there more uncertainty with negative rapid test results?A diagnostic test is more likely to give a false negative result if:

The test was taken too soon after exposure. On the day of exposure or recently after exposure (less than 4-5 days), the amount of virus particles in your body is extremely low and may go undetected on a test.

The person is not showing symptoms at the time they are tested. Evidence suggests that COVID-19 tests are more accurate if the person is tested while they have symptoms. However, not everyone with COVID-19 shows symptoms, so it is a good idea to wait 5-7 days after exposure to get tested.

The diagnostic test sample (respiratory swab or saliva) did not detect the virus. An insufficient sample may be taken that did not collect enough of the virus particles to give a positive result. 

The viral load is low in the infection.
If I receive a negative rapid test result, should I get re-tested?You should consider getting retested if:
You begin to develop symptoms or if your symptoms appear to be getting worse.

You were tested less than 4-5 days after your exposure.

If you are certain you had close contact with someone who tested positive for the virus.

You should also get tested for other diseases that commonly cause symptoms similar to COVID-19; strep throat, influenza, RSV (for children), etc. while circulation of these other diseases is low this year, you may still have something else.
What else should I do if I received a negative rapid test result?Testing is not perfect, so it is important to be cautious.

If you are able to, self-quarantine for 10 days after having close contact with someone who is a known COVID-19 case, particularly if it is a household member, even if your test result is negative.

During this time you should stay home, maintain physical distancing, and watch for symptoms (including taking your temperature each day to ensure it does not go over 100 degrees Fahrenheit), and wear a face covering.

It is important to continue taking precautions and note that you may be asymptomatic or presymptomatic even if you have the virus.

Even if it isn’t COVID-19, try to stay home when sick to avoid spreading other diseases.


REMEMBER: 

  • You may be exposed to COVID-19 after you have been tested for the virus. Therefore, if you received any negative COVID-19 result from a PCR or rapid test, this result only applies to you at the time you were tested – not at the time you received your result. You could still be infected by COVID-19 in the future and should continue to take safety precautions. Note that test results may take up to a week or more.

IF YOU HAVE BEEN VACCINATED:

  • Per CDC guidelines, if it has been more than two weeks since you were fully vaccinated (i.e., you received two doses of Pfizer or Moderna and one dose of Johnson & Johnson), you do not need to get tested after an exposure to COVID-19 unless you begin showing symptoms. For more information, visit this link.

For more information about the available tests, please visit this link.





he next update will cover more information about testing for COVID-19. 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 29th (English | Spanish)
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