What You Need to Know-Week of October 4th

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




In this Update:

1. Urgent Updates: COVID-19 Metrics

2. Quick Question: Can vaccinated people spread SARS-CoV-2?

3. Testing Tips: I had an antibody test, what do the results mean?




1. Urgent Updates: COVID-19 Metrics


Updated as of: 10-04-2021

Weekly case, death, and hospitalization counts:

In the past week, there has been an average of:
Cases per day2,601
Deaths per day46
Compared to two weeks ago:
Cases per dayIncreased by 1% ↗
Deaths per dayNo change →
Hospitalizations per dayDecreased by 12%↘
For regularly updated case counts and additional COVID-19 information by county, visit the Arizona Department of Health’s data dashboard summary page.

Hospital Capacity Metrics:

Percent of Arizona hospital beds currently in use93%
Percent of Arizona hospital beds currently in use by COVID-19 patients27%

Important note on hospitalizations: Arizona has reached 93% capacity in hospitals statewide. This leaves only 7% of hospital beds available for incoming admissions (e.g., for heart attacks, injuries, etc.). 27% of beds are currently taken up by covid patients.

Vaccine Information

Number of ArizonansPercentage of ArizonansPercentage in United States
Individuals who are fully vaccinated3,739,82151%56%
Individuals who have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine4,222,74660%65%

7,783,617 total COVID-19 vaccine doses have been administered in Arizona

For a breakdown of vaccination by Arizona counties, visit the CDC’s website.

For updated vaccine information and data in Arizona, visit this link and click on the “Vaccine Administration” icon.

Important note on variants: Last month in Arizona, over 99% of the positive SARS-CoV-2 tests that were sequenced were caused by the Delta variant. For more information about the COVID-19 strains within Arizona, please visit this dashboard.



 2. Quick Question: Can vaccinated people spread SARS-CoV-2?


The short answer is yes, but evidence suggests key differences between transmission from unvaccinated infected vs. vaccinated infected people, including for the Delta variant. 

Transmission of the Delta variant is starting to slow but it remains the most common variant in the U.S. The vaccines are between 40 – 80% effective at preventing SARS-CoV-2 infection, serious COVID-19, and death. However, it is still possible for vaccinated individuals to contract and spread the virus. Questions still remain about the specifics surrounding to what extent vaccinated people are able to transmit the virus if infected, but evidence suggests two important distinctions.

Compared to unvaccinated people, vaccinated individuals:

  1. Appear to have a shorter infectious period. 
  • In other words, the time that they are able to spread the virus to others is shorter compared to those who are unvaccinated. This is an important point because the less time vaccinated people are infectious, the less opportunities for transmission to others. 
  1. Are likely to have a lower viral load compared to unvaccinated individuals. 
  • This means that despite catching the virus, vaccinated individuals have fewer viral particles in their body. The lower the viral load, the lower the likelihood of transmission to others.

It is important to note that these key differences may not apply to vaccinated immunosuppressed individuals. This is due to the fact that those with suppressed immune function, for example those who are currently undergoing cancer treatment, may not mount the same immune response to a SARS-CoV-2 vaccine that a non-immunosuppressed person would.


3. Testing Tips: I had an antibody test, what do the results mean?


Antibody tests tell you whether you have antibodies that assist in providing some level of immunity to COVID-19. For more information about what antibody tests are, visit our previous update.

If you had a negative result and are not vaccinated: 

  • This means you are unlikely to have had COVID-19 in the recent past. However, antibodies may take 1-3 weeks or longer to develop after an exposure. So, this does not rule out the possibility of current SARS-CoV-2 infection. Those who are unvaccinated should continue wearing a mask and physical distancing. 

If you had a negative result and you are vaccinated:

  • If you have a negative test and have recently received a COVID-19 vaccine, there are several reasons. 
  1. You may not have waited long enough to take the test after vaccination for antibodies to form.
  2. The antibody test targets a different part of the virus not in the vaccine. Some antibody tests target the spike protein that is used in the vaccine and other tests target parts of the virus NOT in the vaccine so you could get a negative test even if you are vaccinated. The CDC does not recommend using antibody tests to see if vaccination “worked”. 
  3. Antibodies are not the only immune response to a vaccine, you can get immunity from T cells and other parts of the immune system. 
  4. You may not have gotten a significant immune response, this is more likely in immunosuppressed individuals
  • If you are immunosuppressed and have concerns about the effectiveness of the vaccine, you should contact a healthcare provider. A third, booster shot is recommended for immunosuppressed people including transplant recipients, cancer patients, those with Lupus and others on immunosuppressive drugs. 

If you had a positive result:

  • This means that you have likely been previously infected with or have been vaccinated for COVID-19. Most antibody tests will not be able to tell you if the antibodies are from a previous infection or from vaccination or in some cases, from both! Remember that not all antibody tests are geared towards the antibodies produced after vaccination. 

If I received a positive result, does that mean I have immunity to COVID-19?

  • If you have been vaccinated, yes! Most people have a level of immunity, for at least 8 months and research suggests it could be much longer. Although the immunity may be less protective against new variants, if there are significant genetic changes in the circulating variant from the variant the vaccines are based upon.  Regardless, vaccinations are not 100% effective, meaning that there is still a chance you could contract the virus. Be sure to continue with general hygiene practices such as washing your hands, wearing a mask (and vaccinated or not, still consider wearing one around unvaccinated or immunocompromised friends and family). 
  • Developing antibodies through vaccination is a much safer alternative to developing antibodies to a natural COVID-19 infection because of the long-term side effects that are associated with a COVID-19 infection. However, if you were previously infected, your immune response will offer some protection. It will be even stronger if you receive a vaccination after your infection. 

Regardless of your result, if you feel unwell continue to take necessary precautions to protect others by wearing your face covering, washing your hands, and maintaining physical distancing. 



The next update will cover information about current COVID-19 treatments. 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 September 27th (English | Spanish)
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