What You Need to Know-Week of January 31st

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




In this Update:

1. Urgent Updates: COVID-19 Metrics

2. Quick Question: Should I swab my throat when taking an at-home rapid (antigen) test?

3. All Things Vaccines: Breakthrough Cases Update




1. Urgent Updates: COVID-19 Metrics


Updated as of: 01-31-2022

Weekly case, death, and hospitalization counts:

In the past week, there has been an average of:
Cases per day14,763
Deaths per day83
Compared to two weeks ago:
Cases per dayDecreased by 21%↘
Deaths per day Increased by 52%↗
Hospitalizations per day Increased by 11%↗

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.



2. Testing Tips: Rapid and PCR tests – which one should you take and when?


Developing a sore throat appears to be a common symptom of the widely-circulating Omicron variant. So, the question of whether a throat swab would provide a better rapid test sample has been raised. However, at this time, it is advised to use the currently FDA authorized, at-home rapid COVID tests as directed – only by taking a nasal swab. Fortunately, growing evidence suggests that these authorized at-home rapid tests still provide accurate results when used as directed with a high viral load. Peak viral load varies by person and it is recommended that if you have symptoms you take more than one antigen test.. A recent research article from the University of California San Francisco, not yet peer reviewed, found that the popular, at-home rapid test brand – BinaxNOW, was nearly as good (detected a positive result ~95% of the time) at detecting a current SARS-CoV-2 as the PCR, which is used as the testing “gold standard” (which detected a positive result ~98.5% of the time) in their study. This was when viral loads were highest. But the ability to capture positives at lower viral loads fell. Therefore, while antigen tests can provide an indication of if you are positive, they are less able to tell you for sure that you are negative. The tests were designed for nasal swabs and research is ongoing to determine if throat swabs are effective. It can be hard to get a good throat swab especially with kids! If you are concerned your negative result from your home test may not be accurate, it is better to try to find a lab for a PCR test. 

For information about the different types of tests, visit our previous update.


3. All Things Vaccines: Breakthrough Cases Update


While the vaccines available for COVID-19 have been an essential and successful component of the COVID-19 mitigation efforts, they are not – and have never claimed to be – 100% effective. Breakthrough cases, or individuals developing COVID-19 after being fully vaccinated, have always been expected to occur. This does not mean that the vaccines are not working. Breakthrough cases, or post-vaccination cases, are occurring more often due to the sheer number of people who are becoming infected with the highly contagious, Omicron variant. Fortunately, protection against severe disease and death still remains high for those who are fully vaccinated. 

Vaccine effectiveness against COVID-19 has been shown to wane about 6 months after the one (J&J) or two-dose series (Pfizer or Moderna) has been received. This is why booster doses are important! Everyone over the age of 12 is eligible to receive a booster dose. Some professionals are saying we should move towards discussing vaccines as a 3-dose vaccine to get away from the thought that a booster is “extra”. Boosters have and continue to demonstrate very promising antibody results and can help your body regain a higher level of immunity against COVID-19. This can help protect you if you are exposed. However, it is important to remember that it takes roughly 2 weeks for the booster dose to provide its full benefits.

To help prevent a breakthrough infection:

  • Continue to take COVID-19 safety precautions!
    • Continue wearing a face covering when you are in public indoor spaces, preferably a surgical, KN95, KF94, or N95 mask 
    • Continue physical distancing as much as possible
    • Continue avoiding very large gatherings where people may be unmasked and closed indoor spaces
  • Get vaccinated or boosted or if you have already – encourage others to do the same! The more people around you are vaccinated, the less likely it will enter your social group or family.




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 January 24 (English | Spanish)
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