COVID-19 by the numbers. Maricopa County has been tracking COVID-19 cases since Jan. 22, 2020. Review the latest numbers here.
Remember, a healthy Scottsdale starts with you. Stay home when you can, practice physical distancing, cover your nose and mouth and wash your hands frequently. Find downloadable graphics for social media and request a poster pack for your business or organization.
Downward trend in case counts continues in Scottsdale; don’t get complacent. The latest data shows 270.86 cases per 100,000 people in Scottsdale, which is 124 cases per 100,000 fewer than we saw over the previous period. The data, which is reported with a two-week lag, shows the city’s case counts on a downward slope since the peak of 384.89 cases per 100,000 we saw on Jan. 3. The city has been in the category of substantial community spread for 15 straight weeks, but the latest data shows a lower case count per 100,000 than we’ve seen since mid-November. Wearing face coverings, physically distancing and washing hands often is contributing to the decreased spread.
Maricopa County to expand vaccination eligibility to those 65 and older. With more than 44 percent of people 75 and older now having received at least one vaccine dose, Maricopa County will expand vaccine eligibility to adults 65 and older in all vaccine locations starting Monday, Feb. 15. This decision is in alignment with the federal pharmacy vaccine program scheduled to begin later this week, which will bring vaccine to 182 pharmacies in Maricopa County. The county estimates that nearly 400,000 adults ages 65-74 are eligible for the vaccine. Learn more about the phases.
County ensures equitable vaccine access. Maricopa County Public Health is focused on ensuring equitable access to the vaccine across racial and socioeconomic levels. Working with partners, the county& is making vaccine appointments when and where they are convenient for people. Efforts include:
Setting up five regional drive-thru sites across the county, then adding a sixth, more centrally-located site close to public transit with a walk-thru option for those who do not have their own vehicles.
Allocating vaccine doses to pharmacies across
Who determines eligibility phases. The Vaccine and Antiviral Prioritization Advisory Committee (VAPAC) is composed of state, local and tribal experts that provide recommendations to ensure fair and equitable vaccine allocation across Arizona. Get more information about the various phases.
There are more than 900 reported cases of COVID-19 variants in the United States. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is closely monitoring emerging variants of COVID-19 across the country. As of this week, COVID-19 variants have been reported in 34 states. Mutations in the virus genome change the characteristics in these variants and cause the virus to act differently than it did in 2020 (i.e. more severe illness, the ability to spread quicker between humans, necessitates different treatments, doesn’t respond in the same way to current vaccines, etc.). It’s important to understand that genetic mutations of COVID-19 were expected, and that some variants can spread and become predominant while others may subside. Get data.
Will vaccines work against the new COVID-19 variants? For the most part, mutations don’t make the SARS-CoV-2 virus that different from previous strains, which means most vaccines should be somewhat protective against them. Even if a vaccine can’t protect against all cases, the initial immune response should be enough to tame would-be severe ones. And so far, there is limited evidence that any of these variants make COVID-19 infections more severe.
That said, South Africa halted deployment of the AstraZeneca vaccine earlier this week after a preliminary study showed it to be less effective against the B.1.351 variant first identified in that country. Janssen and Novavax also reported their respective vaccines prevented fewer cases in South Africa than elsewhere. There’s no data on whether the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines will work well against this variant yet—they were tested before it was prevalent—but Moderna has said it’s testing boosters for it presently. Learn more.
Back to the face covering basics. Most of us have been wearing face coverings in public for nearly a year, but with so many options available now at seemingly every store, it’s important make sure you are getting the most protection and value when you mask up.
Use coverings that:
have two or more layers of washable, breathable fabric; higher thread count is more effective.
completely cover your nose and mouth.
Don't use coverings that:
are made of a fabric that makes it hard to breathe.
have exhalation valves or vents, which allow virus particles to escape.
The city’s COVID-19 page contains information about the city’s emergency orders, facilities and operations. Learn more here.
IN OTHER NEWS
Most Scottsdale offices closed Presidents Day, Monday. While most city offices will be closed for Presidents Day Monday, Feb. 15, your trash will be collected as scheduled. Please place your containers in their normal spot by 5 a.m. the morning of collection or the night before.
Utility assistance is available for Scottsdale residents in need. Residents with past-due balances for city water, wastewater and solid waste service should contact the city to see if they qualify for assistance. The city has deferred water shut-offs for non-payment since last March in respect to the financial hardship many are facing due to the COVID-19 pandemic. If you have an overdue city utility account, please contact the city’s billing office at 480-312-2705 as soon as possible. You may qualify for financial assistance - but you must contact the city to determine eligibility and discuss options.
Participate in a virtual General Plan Update Open House. The first in a series of virtual open houses runs Thursday, Feb. 18, at three times: 8-10:30 a.m., 11 a.m.-1:30 p.m. and 5-7:30 p.m. Content will be the same for each time slot. Participants will hear a brief presentation about the plan, followed by a question and answer series then a feedback submission opportunity. If registration is closed, or if this specific date and time(s) does not work for you, please be on the lookout for future dates and times when additional online Open House registration opportunities will be posted. Register on the General Plan Update page.
Celebrate the Chinese New Year with Scottsdale Sister Cities. The Scottsdale Sister Cities Association is partnering with the Musical Instrument Museum to celebrate the Chinese New Year along with our sister city – Haikou, China. The Zoom social hour will be at 4 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 23, and feature the museum’s Asia Curator Dr. Eddie Hsu. Hsu will discuss Chinese Sizhu instruments and play Sizhu music that is typically performed during Chinese New Year. Get more information and register.
Mayor Ortega shares his perspectives on the city's COVID-19 response, the next General Plan and the future ahead. In this new video, the mayor sits down for a thoughtful conversation with Communications and Public Affairs Director Kelly Corsette.
What happens in Scottsdale stays in Scottsdale. Shop local. Did you know $43 of every $100 spent in Scottsdale stays in Scottsdale? Learn the importance of supporting and shopping local by visiting ShopInScottsdale.com. You’ll get an inside look at some of our amazing small businesses and their journeys to success. Whether it's our retail, hotels and resorts, art galleries, or one-of-a-kind restaurants, when you shop in Scottsdale, you're investing back into our own economy.
Scottsdale Arts cancels annual arts festival; delays start of Sunday A’fair concerts. Due to the continued unknowns surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, Scottsdale Arts has made the difficult decision to not proceed with the 2021 Scottsdale Arts Festival, March 12-14. The safety of the community, staff, volunteers and vendors is of utmost importance.
Sunday A’fair outdoor concerts, which typically start in January, will kick off Sunday, March 7. The series provides performances in a smaller, intimate setting along at the Fountain Stage on Scottsdale Civic Center. The concerts will feature physically-distanced pods that can be reserved for groups of four or fewer. Reservations are first come, first served. More information will be available soon.
Scottsdale Fire 2020: A Year in Review. Last year challenged the very essence of the mission of the Scottsdale Fire Department. Amid a global pandemic, economic challenges, civil unrest and a polarized society, caring for the community has never been more important. Join us as we take a look back at what we were able to accomplish despite these local, national and international hurdles. Watch here. Read here.
Find out how to be a gardening guru. Every Friday, Senior Services staff will share helpful tips and tricks to create a lively and healthy garden. Whether you are a beginner … or maybe you have your own garden and are looking for a quick tip on a new plant, our tricks and tips will help your garden bloom. Tips will be posted to the Senior Services Facebook page.
Find a Smartscape-trained landscaper. Smartscape is a landscape training program specifically designed to educate landscape professionals on appropriate practices for the Sonoran Desert. A well-designed desert-friendly landscape will add beauty and value to your home and minimize water use. Hire a Smartscape-trained landscape professional to design, install and maintain your landscape. Find a list of Smartscape professionals.
This week's traffic restrictions in and around Scottsdale. Get the list.