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How to Manage Relationship Tension Due to COVID-19

There is no denying the fact that the pandemic has brought much stress and tension to our lives. From fears for our health to financial strain to job insecurity, it has not been an easy year. But when you add to all that relationship tensions and divisions amongst family members, the stress may seem unbearable. Although we do appear to be nearing the light at the end of the tunnel, self-isolating, sickness, finances, and more are still triggers for frustration and stress, and we owe it to those we love and ourselves to face our relationship tensions with wisdom and a healthy perspective. 

Be Honest with Yourself

Self-awareness is a huge part of dealing with any stress or tension in your life. If you can be honest with yourself about your feelings and even about why you feel a certain way, you will be much more at peace with yourself and with others. If something made you extremely angry or sad or worried, allow yourself to feel those emotions and delve deeper into them. Although that may not be enjoyable, it is important to let yourself process things appropriately by really sitting in the feelings for a bit. Don’t stay in those feelings, of course, but instead admit to yourself any wrongdoing on your own part and accept that not everything is going to be resolved immediately or perfectly. 

Know When to Let It Go

Sometimes, people just disagree – even people you love and get along with or are related to. You may have significantly different opinions or perspectives on something, and you both may feel very passionately about your opinion or stance. But you have to balance how much you value your relationship with how strongly you feel about getting your point across. With some friends or family members, you may be able to have a respectful conversation where you have different opinions, but pushing too hard with others can completely break a relationship. Most of the time, that’s just not worth it. Know when to let go of the fight, even if you’re not willing to let go of your opinion – it will help keep the peace and help you maintain stronger relationships that truly matter. 

Focus on the Positives

When stress is high and relationships are tense, it’s important to focus on the positives – not only in your relationships but also in life. Practice thankfulness regularly and be appreciative of and toward the ones you love. If you’re struggling to see the positives, try shifting your perspective or selecting one area of life that you’re especially thankful for to focus on. Especially when a relationship is strained, it can be very helpful to point out the positives in the other person and show appreciation for your relationship. 

Remember that this pandemic will not last forever, and it’s not worth losing relationships over a difference of opinion or overwhelming stress. Hold tight to those you love and appreciate, and trust that your relationships will persevere through this storm. 

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Best Virtual Activities When You’re Quarantined During COVID

Whether you’ve gotten a positive test or have had close contact with someone who has, you’re stuck at home for the next 10-14 days and you’re not sure how you’re going to survive. Even though you made it through the national shutdown last spring, this time feels different. Regardless of if you’re at home with minor symptoms or are just waiting out the potential incubation period, you need some things to do to keep you busy and pass the time. You want to make the most of this time but you also want to enjoy yourself, so what do you do? You take a look at our best virtual activities list and start going through them. We’re sure you’ll enjoy yourself and get a lot out of each experience!

Virtual Zoo & Aquarium Trips

Many zoos and aquariums have had live streams of certain animals available online for a while, but they’ve upped their game big time since the pandemic hit. San Diego Zoo, The Georgia Aquarium, and the Houston Zoo are some of the best virtual trips you can take when you’re stuck at home. You can also check out the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary or the Taronga Zoo in Australia using Google street view. The Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden are home to Fiona, the world-famous baby hippo, and you can watch an entire video series about her and other animals on their website. 

Virtual Museum Visits

It can be fun to virtually visit a museum you’ve been to before, but how much cooler is it to explore a museum that you’ll probably never have a chance to visit in person? The British Museum in London lets you look at Egyptian mummies, the Guggenheim Museum in New York shows you their infamous spiral staircase along with centuries of iconic art, and the American Museum of Natural History allows you to explore a butterfly conservatory, mammals, and human origins. Other notable museums with virtual visits include the National Gallery of Art in DC, the Musee d’Orsay in Paris, the Pergamon Museum in Berlin, and the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art in Seoul. 

Take Online Classes

It has never been easier to take an online class. You can find a variety of topics to learn about, from cooking to sewing to DIY projects. Some universities are even offering free online classes, and famous chefs, scientists, and more are offering virtual classes at no cost. If you’ve been considering learning a new language or learning a new skill or craft, now’s the time!

Virtually Visit a National Park

While outdoor, spacious venues are typically safe to visit during the pandemic, if you’re quarantined or self-isolating, any public outing is a no-go. Thankfully, you can still interact with nature and imagine yourself in the great outdoors with virtual visits to some beautiful national parks. The Great Smokies, Rocky Mountain National Park, and Yellowstone are all accessible online. Google Arts & Culture also created a series called “The Hidden Worlds of the National Parks” that allows you to explore parts of Alaska, Hawaii, New Mexico, Utah, and Florida in 360° views. 

Although it’s not ideal to be stuck at home, do your best to remain positive, make the most of it, and find some enjoyable things to do to help you pass the time well. 

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Do I Need to Get Tested After I’ve Been Vaccinated?

Now that there are two approved vaccinations for the COVID-19 virus in the US, we are learning more about what the virus means for individual immunity as well as preventing community spread in the future. Vaccines will be available to everyone, regardless of whether or not someone has been infected with COVID-19. The goal of the COVID-19 vaccine is to prompt your body to develop an immune response. 

Time Frame Between First and Second Vaccine Doses

The two available vaccines in the US, Moderna and Pfizer, both require two doses in order to build up the necessary immunity to prevent future infections. After you get the first dose of the Pfizer vaccine, you must wait 21 days to get the second dose. Similarly, after the first dose of the Moderna vaccine, you must wait 28 days before the second dose. The first dose for both vaccines is only about 50% effective, so it is still possible to get the COVID-19 virus before you receive your second dose. If you develop symptoms of COVID-19, including coughing, shortness of breath, and loss of taste or smell, you should get tested to determine if you are infected with the virus. 

Development of Antibodies in Your System

It can take at least 10 days to develop antibodies for the virus, which are proteins that your body develops to help fight the virus and hopefully protect you from future infection. These antibodies are a sign that the virus has initiated an immune system response in your body. The combination of 50% effectiveness after the first dose and the timeframe it takes to develop antibodies means that it is possible to still become infected with COVID-19. At this point, researchers and scientists believe the first dose of the vaccine may take approximately two weeks to build up the immunity that will provide you with any protection against the virus. 

Continued COVID-19 Testing after Vaccination

While you may develop a low fever immediately after the vaccination, it is important to understand that the vaccine does not contain any live virus. This means the vaccine cannot cause you to become sick with the COVID-19 virus. Instead, the vaccine for COVID-19 actually teaches your body to develop an immune response so it can recognize and fight COVID-19. If you do test positive for the virus after your first dose, talk to your doctor about getting tested for COVID-19 and determine the best time frame for you to get the second dose. Because there is a risk for such severe symptoms and risks with the COVID-19 virus, you should stay home and self-isolate if you develop any symptoms of COVID-19. Even after you have received the COVID-19 vaccine, you should still continue to wear a mask and practice social distancing until the vaccine is more widely distributed and the spread of the virus has lowered.

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False Negatives and False Positives

Instances of false negatives and false positives after a COVID-19 test are rare, but it is important to better understand each and what they might mean for you. In order to protect yourself and the people around you, you should still wear a mask and practice social distancing at all times. 

False Negatives

Though uncommon, it could be possible to get a false negative COVID-19 test. This means your test results indicate you are negative for the COVID-19 virus, but the virus is actually in your system. The most likely reason for a false negative is if you were very recently exposed to the virus and have a very low viral load in your system. The incubation period for COVID-19 is anywhere from 3-14 days, so if you were exposed to someone with COVID-19, it is actually beneficial for you to wait at least 3 days before getting tested in order to avoid a false-negative result. 

The PCR test for COVID-19 is the most accurate at determining if you have the virus because it looks for genetic material specific to COVID-19 in your test sample. Because this test is considered the gold standard, it is less likely that you would encounter a false negative. If your viral load is low enough in the first few days after exposure, it is possible that not enough genetic material is present to register on the test. In general, rapid COVID-19 tests are not as sensitive as the PCR test so a false positive is possible, though also not common. 

False Positives

False positives are even less likely with COVID-19 tests, though it is possible that a COVID-19 test could actually detect other coronaviruses in your system. This would be most likely with an antibody test, which looks for evidence of you already having had the virus. An antibody test may deliver a false positive if you have recently been ill with another type of coronavirus with similar antibodies. It is possible, though unlikely, that you could receive a false-positive result if your sample is contaminated during processing. 

While the risk of a false negative or false positive is low, it is important to practice social distancing and wear a mask when around other people to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19. A false-negative test result could cause someone to think they are free to interact with others in close proximity, providing a false sense of security to those around you. A false positive may cause you stress, especially if you have not developed any symptoms. However, with both false negatives and positives, if you are following guidelines for staying safe and taking precautions then you are less likely to risk unnecessary exposure to yourself or others. 

Because false negatives and false positives are uncommon, you should follow guidelines and recommendations from healthcare providers for what to do after you test positive or negative. If you test positive, there are steps to take to protect yourself and others, like isolating or self-quarantining. If you test negative, this does mean you are still at risk for getting COVID-19 and should take every precaution to avoid infection.

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How Many Times Should I Get Tested?

Concerns about testing availability, risk of exposure, and the COVID-19 incubation period may all lead you to wonder about the recommendation for how often to get tested for COVID-19. Some employers, schools, and other places where larger gatherings occur may recommend or offer routine screenings. However, if you do not have access to routine screenings then it helps to understand more about when it is most appropriate to get tested. 

Routine Screenings

Routine screenings for COVID-19 are generally set up for people who are not currently experiencing any symptoms of the virus. Sometimes referred to as asymptomatic screenings, these allow for large groups of people, such as employees or students, to get regular testing to help manage the spread of the virus. While screening for symptoms only can be beneficial, it is possible to be asymptomatic and still carry the COVID-19 virus. That is why it is imperative that each person do their part to keep themselves and their community safe by wearing masks and practicing social distancing. 

If you are able to participate in routine screenings for COVID-19, it can help to more rapidly identify whether or you or someone in your vicinity has the virus and take measures to safely isolate and quarantine. Asymptomatic people and those who have been recently exposed but are early in the incubation period can be extremely contagious but not realize it. As information continues to evolve around COVID-19 and how it spreads, guidelines are monitored and updated by the CDC as well as your federal, state, and local health officials to reflect the most accurate information at the time. 

Testing for a Current Infection

If you have been exposed to someone diagnosed with COVID-19 or are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, then you may want to get tested. After you have been in close contact with someone with the active COVID-19 virus, you should isolate yourself right away. The incubation period for the virus is 3-14 days, with 5-7 days after exposure being the most common for developing symptoms and testing positive. This means that if you believe you were exposed to someone with COVID-19, you should isolate yourself or self-quarantine for at least 3 days before getting tested for COVID-19 and until after you receive your results. 

People who have current symptoms of COVID-19 should also isolate or self-quarantine as much as possible. Common symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, chills, cough, shortness of breath, fatigue, headaches, muscle aches, and loss of taste or smell. If you are experiencing these symptoms and believe you have COVID-19, check with your healthcare provider on when would be the most appropriate time for you to get tested. It will help if you can identify when the symptoms started so your doctor can get an estimate for when you may have been exposed and the severity of your symptoms. 

Testing for a Past Infection

Antibody tests are available to determine if you have had COVID-19 in the past, whether or not you experienced any symptoms. Antibodies refer to the types of proteins your body develops to fight the virus, and antibody tests look for the presence of antibodies specific to COVID-19 in your system. It is important to note that antibody tests do not test for whether you are currently infected with the COVID-19 virus.  If your antibody test results are positive, you should still practice social distancing and wear a mask to protect yourself and others from further exposure. If you test negative, you may not have had COVID-19, you could be currently infected, or you were too recently infected for the antibody proteins to fully develop. Regardless of your results, it is impossible to say with certainty that you will not be able to spread the virus to others around you, so it is always better to take precautions.

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Why Would I Get an Antibody Test?

One of the biggest questions right now is: “Have I had COVID-19?” The COVID-19 antibody test is the test for determining whether or not you have proteins in your blood that show you have developed an immune response to the COVID-19 virus. The antibody test is a blood test that looks for proteins, also known as antibodies, in your system that are unique identifiers of the COVID-19 virus. Unlike other COVID-19 tests, the antibody test does not identify whether you currently have the virus; instead, the antibody test identifies if you have been infected with COVID-19 in the past. 

Learn If You’ve Been Infected 

The main reason many people are interested in the COVID-19 antibody test is to learn if they have been infected with the virus in the past. In early 2020, we did not have as much information on the virus and it is possible that people who thought they had a cold or flu may have actually had the virus. At this time, researchers and scientists are still learning about antibodies and how long they may stay present in your system. The antibody test can be used to determine if you were exposed to the virus in the past. The COVID-19 virus is able to spread through people who may not even have symptoms, known as asymptomatic carriers. That means you could have had COVID-19 without any symptoms.

Understand the Prevalence of COVID-19

Antibody testing also helps communities better understand the prevalence of COVID-19 cases, including those who have already had the virus and those who are currently diagnosed. The more antibody testing in your community, the more researchers and scientists can determine the local infection rate and also may help predict how COVID-19 could continue to affect the community. There are more opportunities to give back to the community and those currently fighting the virus if you have antibodies for COVID-19 in your system, like convalescent plasma therapy. 

Fight Off Future Infections

Antibodies for a number of viruses can help you fight future infections and even protect you from getting reinfected. Researchers and scientists are still learning more about this aspect of COVID-19 and antibodies, like how long antibodies may be able to protect you from COVID-19 once you’ve already had the virus. In the best-case scenario, antibodies in your system may help you to avoid reinfection. However, because this information is still being researched it is important to not have a false sense of security regarding the virus. At this point, there is no indication that antibodies will prevent those who have recovered from COVID-19 from being reinfected. 

When Is the Best Time to Get an Antibody Test?

Antibody tests are most effective 10-21 days after you have been exposed to the COVID-19 virus. If you recently came in contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19, you should wait 10 days to see if you develop any symptoms of the virus. You may also want to consider a diagnostic test for COVID-19. However, if you do not develop symptoms, it is possible that you may be asymptomatic and an antibody test would help identify if you have antibodies in your system. If you have experienced one of the common symptoms of COVID-19 but did not get tested for the virus, it is possible you could have experienced a mild case of the virus in the past. Whether or not you test positive for antibodies in your system, it is important to still take precautions and protect yourself and others from spreading the virus in your community. 

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Paradigm Laboratories Opens New Community COVID-19 Testing Locations in Metro Phoenix

Phoenix, AZ  – Paradigm Laboratories today announced the opening of three additional COVID-19 testing collection sites in metro Phoenix area to aid the State of Arizona’s increased demand for free community testing. The opening of these new locations in Phoenix, Chandler and Mesa will increase Arizona’s testing capacity by nearly 7,000 additional appointments per week.

Working in strategic collaboration with the Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS), the no insurance required, free COVID-19 community testing collection sites include:

Location Address Testing Open Register for Appointment/

Receive Results

St. Vincent de Paul 420 W. Watkins Rd. Phoenix AZ 85003 December 28, 2020 www.aztestnow.com

 

Mesa Gateway Airport Parking Lot (free validated parking) 7255 E. Ray Rd.

Mesa AZ 85212

January 4, 2021 www.aztestnow.com

 

Northeast corner of Alamo Parking Lot 4955 S. Arizona Ave

Chandler AZ 85248

January 5, 2021 www.aztestnow.com

 

 

Free community COVID-19 collection at these sites consists of molecular diagnostic RT-qPCR testing using Nasopharyngeal swab method, considered the gold standard by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Turnaround time for results is 24-48 hours. Patient results are obtained using the scheduling site. Antibody testing is not available at these locations.

“We’re grateful for our partnership with Paradigm Laboratories and the Arizona Department of Health Services to bring additional COVID-19 testing to the people we serve and the larger community in south Phoenix,” said Shannon Clancy, Associate CEO, Society of St. Vincent de Paul. “Working together, we continue to make significant strides for helping to protect the most vulnerable among us.”

Paradigm’s COVID-19 ‘one-stop-shop’ solution for state/county government and private business encompasses a unique, all-inclusive approach that includes specimen collection, logistics (specimen delivery) and laboratory processing.

“Paradigm emerged as a focal point in community testing in Pima County (Tucson) in July with great success,” said Steven Kelly, COO of Paradigm Site Services. “Working in partnership with government and private business, we continue to expand our Arizona footprint based on our ability to quickly set-up mobile sites and our effective turnaround in COVID-19 collection, testing and diagnosis.” He added, “We will continue to identify more opportunities to assist during this pandemic and to help do our part to keep Arizonans safe and healthy.”

Since July 2020, Paradigm has collected and processed over 400,000 COVID-19 tests within Pima, Pinal, Santa Cruz and Maricopa Counties.

For more information on COVID-19, visit the ADHS website.

 

About Paradigm Laboratories

Headquartered in Arizona, Paradigm Laboratories (Paradigm) is a full service, state-of-the-art laboratory with extensive knowledge and experience in all aspects of molecular laboratory testing, processing, and reporting services. Paradigm is at the forefront of creating innovative testing processes for polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing that creates a seamless process for delivering information to front-line health care providers and patients. In addition to its ‘one-stop-shop’ COVID-19 specimen collection, logistics (specimen delivery) and laboratory processing solution for government and private business sectors, the veteran-owned Paradigm Laboratories offers other testing including PCR infectious disease testing, upper respiratory disease testing and wound testing.

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Looking Into the COVID-19 Situation in Arizona

On January 26, 2020, the first case of COVID-19 was reported in the state of Arizona. After 11 months, the state now has more than 500,000 cases of people infected with the coronavirus. And as of December 28, Arizona has recorded over 8,000 deaths due to the virus.

The number of cases and deaths may be small compared to the 7.279 million population of the state, but more and more people are getting infected every day. Dr. Cara Christ, the director of the Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS), said in a report that after thanksgiving, the COVID-19 metrics has worsened. A 52% increase in the number of cases has been reported two weeks after Thanksgiving Day.

What the State Is Currently Doing

Since the start of the pandemic, the state has been conducting coronavirus tests. As of December 28, almost half of Arizona’s total population had already been tested. Some counties, like Pinal and Pima, also continue to offer free COVID-19 testing.

In addition, the ADHS continues to remind the public to keep following safety guidelines, such as wearing face masks, practicing social distancing, avoiding crowded places, sanitizing and washing of hands, and more. The ADHS has also updated its holiday guidelines to ensure that people remain safe throughout the season.

On December 14, Arizona received the first shipment of COVID-19 vaccines and more have yet to arrive. Dr. Christ said that they are expecting to get over 200,000 doses of the vaccine. On December 22, Dr. Christ noted that healthcare workers have started to receive the vaccine. Long-term care facility residents and staff will also soon be given the new Moderna vaccine.

COVID-19 Testing Is Still Important

Though the state already has COVID-19 vaccines, there isn’t enough supply for everyone. It will take months before the vaccine becomes available to all. That being said, testing is still important in this fight against the coronavirus.

If you want to get tested, feel free to reach out to Paradigm Laboratories. Our teams are working seven days a week to ensure that we provide quality testing solutions and timely results. We are located at 6115 E. Grant Road, Tucson, AZ, but you may also find us in some free testing sites, such as the ones at the Kino Sports Complex and Udall Park and Recreation Center.

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Can People Still Transmit COVID-19 After Getting Vaccinated?

Since the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, the world has been trying to develop a vaccine to fight this new virus. On December 11, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has finally approved and issued an emergency use authorization (EUA) for the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine to be distributed in the country.

On December 18, another EUA has been issued for the Moderna vaccine. The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine will only be given to those who are 16 years old and above, while Moderna is for individuals who are 18 years old and above.

Now that COVID-19 vaccines are available, one of the most frequently asked questions about them is, “If a person gets vaccinated, can they still infect other people?” According to a report by The New York Times, no one knows yet if the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines can keep someone from spreading the virus. Studies are currently being conducted to find the answer to this question.

What Can the Vaccines Do?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or CDC, the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine was 95% effective in preventing COVID-19 in people who have not been infected before. Individuals who receive the vaccine may experience side effects such as headache, muscle pain, chills, joint pain, fever, tiredness, and pain at the injection site.

As for the Moderna vaccine, the CDC also confirmed that based on evidence from clinical trials, it was 94.1% effective in people who received two doses and have not been infected before. After taking the vaccine, a person may experience common side effects, including chills, headaches, tiredness, and pain at the injection site.

The CDC also warned that people who have allergic reactions to any ingredient of both vaccines should not get vaccinated. Those who have allergic reactions to other vaccines may receive the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccines as long as they consult their doctors first.

Should COVID-19 Tests Still Be Conducted?

The country only has a limited supply of vaccines, and it would take a number of months before it will become available for everyone. This is one of the reasons why coronavirus tests must still be conducted. Paradigm Laboratories will continue to offer COVID-19 examinations for people who are willing to get tested.