National Frequently Asked Questions from the New York Times
Where are the testing kits/drive-thru testing stations?
Banner Health announced a new process for COVID-19 specimen collection in Arizona.
Individuals with concerns about COVID-19 symptoms or exposure can now call Banner Health at 1-844-549-1851 to speak with a clinical team member to determine if testing is appropriate. The line will be staffed from 7 a.m. - 6 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 7 a.m. - 5 p.m. on Friday.
If an individual meets CDC criterion for testing, they will be scheduled for an appointment at one of Banner’s new drive-through sites. There are three sites located in the Phoenix metropolitan area.
Several more are slated to open later.
The Arizona Poison Control System is available to answer questions about COVID-19 to the general public for testing, isolation, and quarantine guidance at 1-844-542-8201.
I need childcare
Many parents are trying to find childcare options for their children since the closure of schools as part of social distancing measures put in place to prevent the coronavirus from spreading.
Parents should try to keep their children at home. However, this is not always possible. Alternate care arrangements are particularly important for our medical workers, first responders and others serving vital functions during this public health emergency.
Options for working parents amid shuttered schools: some preschools and day cares remain open (AZ Central, March 17)
We are a church, how can we help?
Check on older neighbors
Older people seem to be particularly susceptible to contracting the coronavirus, according to health officials. Some are staying at home and, as a precaution, may not open their doors to visitors.
One way to check on homebound older residents without jeopardizing their health is to call or send a text.
If telephone calls and texts are not an option, “talk through the door.” Because some people may recoil at the suggestion that they are not self-sufficient, offer to help in a low-key way, such as saying, “I’m running to the market, can I get you anything?”
Safely drop off food for people under quarantine
Deliver food via a method that could be described as a ding-dong-dash. Recipients were notified in advance that a delivery was on its way. Volunteers walked up to the door, rang the bell and left a bag of the packaged food on the door handle or porch.
Then, the delivery volunteer left before the recipient opened the door.
Vitalant (United Blood Services) and the American Red Cross, which provide disaster relief and other services, said there is a need for blood donations. As the number of confirmed coronavirus cases grows, the number of people eligible to give blood decreases.
The Red Cross reports that nearly 2,700 of their blood drives across the country have been cancelled because of concerns about the coronavirus. These cancellations have resulted in some 86,000 fewer blood donations.
Lots of organizations, such as food banks and social services groups, offer direct help for people in need and may be one of the first places people turn if they are hurt economically by the virus. Organizations offer help without regard to people’s religious affiliations.
In addition to donating, people can offer a simple “word of encouragement” to front-line social workers who do not have the option of working from home.
My elderly family member has food but needs supplies
If you, a neighbor or friend have supplies, such as paper products, please share with your relatives. Aster Aging (formerly East Valley Adult Resources) in Mesa continues to provide shopping services for the elderly. You can contact Aster Senior Center Red Mountain 480-218-2221 or Downtown 480-962-5612 between 8am and 4pm.
Meals on Wheels and the outreach department are also available. Seniors who normally visit the centers are still being offered “pick up and go lunches” for $3.50 Monday through Friday. They need to call before 2pm the day before to place an order. Also, the Area Agency on Aging offers a 24-hour information and assistance resource. The number is 602-264-4357 (HELP).
Can I get my prescription drugs or other health care supplies?
Yes. Pharmacies, healthcare supply stores, and healthcare facilities are encouraged to continue to operate.
Can I still order the things I need online and have them delivered to my residence?
Yes, businesses that deliver goods or services directly to residences are considered “essential businesses” and have been encouraged to continue to operate.
Can grocery stores, farmers markets, and other food retailers remain open?
Yes. Grocery stores, certified farmers’ markets, farm and produce stands, supermarkets, food banks, convenience stores, and similar food retail establishments are encouraged to remain open to provide food and pet supplies to the public. When visiting these establishments, please help retailers maintain six feet minimum distance between patrons, including by providing ample space while shopping and waiting in line.
Should I stock up on food, necessities like toilet paper, and on medicines?
No. You will continue to be able to purchase these items whenever you need them, as stores selling necessary items like grocery stores, pharmacies, and hardware stores will remain open. Please continue to buy normal quantities of these items on the same schedule you normally do. Supply “hoarding” is unnecessary and is not in the best interests of the community. Several stores are now limiting quantities of certain products to prevent “hoarding.”
Can I dine out?
No. Restaurants and other facilities that prepare and serve food to the public are encouraged to stay open, but only to provide delivery and carry out. Patrons will not be permitted to dine or congregate in restaurants, bars, and similar establishments.
How can I access free or reduced price meals for myself or my family?
Schools, soup kitchens, food banks, and other entities that provide free or reduced priced food goods or meals to students or other members of the public are encouraged to continue providing these services. However, food provided by these establishments to the public may not be eaten on the premises but must instead be delivered or taken away for consumption.
How will I get food and medicines I need if I must “shelter in place” in my home?
When people are in a self-imposed or ordered “shelter in place” in their home, they can leave their home to buy food, purchase medicine, and purchase other necessary items.
Can I play team sports or go to the gym?
No. Instead, get exercise by taking a walk, going for a jog, or riding your bike. But maintain a social distance of at least six feet from people who are not members of your household when doing so. Visit a list of great activities for both your body and mind on the Inspire Mesa page.
I become anxious when cooped up in my house. Am I allowed to go to a park or on a hike?
Yes. Spending time outside improves mood and wellbeing, and is particularly beneficial to children. You can go for walks, go to the park, and engage in other similar activities, but should maintain social distance (i.e. be more than 6 feet away from persons who are not part of your household) when on walks and in parks to avoid spread of the virus.
How is the City of Mesa communicating with other agencies?
The City of Mesa is working closely with Arizona Department of Health Services, Maricopa County Department of Public Health, public safety agencies, and the Centers for Disease Control in disseminating information on the coronavirus, how it spreads and to protect yourself and family from the virus. The City is also partnering with nonprofit organizations to share information about services available to residents. The City is communicating all updated information to its residents through our website, Mesa 11, social media and the local news media.
Where can I get food?
Visit the Mesa CARES
page for a listing of food and other resources.
Where can I get supplies like diapers and toiletries?
Grocery stores, pharmacies, and other retail outlets are encouraged to continue to operate and have weekly if not daily deliveries of supplies. Many continue to receive shipments of diapers and toiletries at varying levels.