What You Need to Know-Week of February 16th

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




In this Update:

1. Urgent Updates: COVID-19 Metrics

2. Testing Tips: At-home COVID-19 tests covered under insurance

3. Quick Question: Should you hold off on receiving a third vaccine dose (e.g., a booster shot) for an Omicron-specific vaccine?




1. Urgent Updates: COVID-19 Metrics


Updated as of: 02-16-2022

Weekly case, death, and hospitalization counts:

In the past week, there has been an average of:
Cases per day4,095
Deaths per day52
Compared to two weeks ago:
Cases per dayDecreased by 70% ↘
Deaths per day Decreased by 50% ↘
Hospitalizations per day Decreased by 35% ↘

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: At-home COVID-19 tests covered under insurance


In addition to the federal government push to send 4 at-home COVID-19 tests per household, it was announced in mid-January that insurance companies are now required to cover the cost of 8 at-home, over-the-counter COVID-19 tests per individual, per month. This process will vary by insurance provider, but will most likely require either:

  • Purchasing the at-home tests at specific, in-network pharmacies and showing your insurance card or member ID at check out.
    OR
  • Allowing individuals to submit an insurance claim for reimbursement of the testing costs

Covered tests include any of the FDA-approved at-home tests and all 8 tests can be purchased individually or all together. Any tests administered by a health professional do not count toward the 8 test limit, the limit only applies to at-home tests.

If you are currently insured and want to acquire at-home COVID-19 tests follow these next steps:

  1. If you have purchased a test since January 15th, 2022 and did not know about this mandate, you can submit a claim for reimbursement to your insurance company if you are able to acquire your receipt.
  2. Find out if your insurance has specific in-network pharmacies 
  • If they do: purchase your test at one of the in-network pharmacies and be sure to have your insurance card and/or member ID when you check out.
  • If they do not: purchase your test at a pharmacy near you and hold on to your receipt and submit a claim through your insurance.

If you are not currently insured: 

It is important to note that due to the spike of COVID-19 cases, testing availability may be very limited in your area. Some pharmacies will not disclose test availability over the phone, as it is frequently changing. If this is the case, visit your local (in-network, if specified) pharmacy to ask about testing availability.


3. Quick Question: Should you hold off on receiving a third vaccine dose (e.g., a booster shot) for an Omicron-specific vaccine?


The answer is no! You should not wait to get a third mRNA (e.g., Pfizer or Moderna) vaccine dose (or second for J&J) until the Omicron-specific vaccine is available. Everyone who is eligible to receive a third vaccine should do so! Booster doses are shown to reduce the probability of getting COVID-19, but most importantly they provide very strong protection against severe COVID-19 for most individuals. Antibody levels of those who have only received the initial dose(s) of a COVID-19 vaccine clearly wane at least 6 months following the second mRNA or first J&J vaccine. 

Further, getting a booster dose now does not mean that you will automatically be ineligible for an Omicron-specific booster when it becomes available. The Pfizer clinical trial for the Omicron-specific booster dose is examining whether the dose is actually needed following a third booster, or if the third booster provides enough immunity alone. For information about that trial, visit our previous update.




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 February 7 (English | Spanish)
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