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Posted on: March 4, 2022

COVID-19 Update: New Mask Guidelines, Changes to Data Reporting

County COVID-19 Update (Banner (Landscape))

Earlier this week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released updated guidance on mask-wearing based on COVID-19 Community Levels. This new method helps community members decide what prevention steps to take based on the latest data related to their county. As of today, Cochise County is at a medium community level of spread. 

Cochise County residents can visit the CDC’s U.S. COVID-19 Community Levels by County Map at any time to check Cochise County’s community level of spread. According to the CDC, based on the county’s community level, either low, medium, or high, the public should follow the recommended precautions to protect themselves and others from COVID-19. Citizens may choose to mask at any time. People with symptoms, a positive test, or exposure to someone with COVID-19 should wear a mask.

Prevention Steps to Take Based on COVID-19 Community Level:

  • Low
    1. Stay up to date with COVID-19 vaccines
    2. Get tested if you have symptoms
  • Medium
    1. If you are at high risk for severe illness, talk to your healthcare provider about whether you need to wear a mask and take other precautions
    2. Stay up to date with COVID-19 vaccines
    3. Get tested if you have symptoms
  • High
    1. Wear a mask indoors in public
    2. Stay up to date with COVID-19 vaccines
    3. Get tested if you have symptoms
    4. Additional precautions may be needed for people at high risk for severe illness

“The new guidance outlines when people may consider not wearing a mask based on factors like community spread and hospital saturation,” says Cochise County Health Director Alicia M. Thompson. “The situation in Cochise County is slowly getting better, but our hospitals are still having difficulty transferring non-COVID patients for higher levels of care. Our regional trauma center continues to have 100% of their staffed beds full and their emergency department continues to operate at over 100% capacity. We need to take this into consideration as well.”

On Wednesday, the Arizona Department of Health Services announced their transition from daily to weekly reporting of COVID-19 data. The COVID-19 Data Dashboard will now be updated each Wednesday. Information on cases, hospitalizations, Emergency Department visits, and deaths can be found at azdhs.gov/covid19/data/index.php

Cochise Health and Social Services (CHSS) will follow a similar model of reporting. In lieu of Regular COVID-19 Work Sessions, CHSS will share weekly updates on its Facebook page for community members to follow and stay informed on Cochise County COVID-19 updates. 

Residents are reminded to reach out for assistance regarding COVID-19 tests, vaccines, and safety recommendations by contacting Cochise Health and Social Services via email at Vaccine@cochise.az.gov and Publichealth@cochise.az.gov, or by calling 520-432-9400, Monday-Friday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

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