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Are Arizonans social distancing? Google report shows people are staying home, going out less

Google tracked users' mobility and found recreation spots, transit stations and workplaces have much less activity.

PHOENIX — Social distancing is more important now than ever, health officials say, as communities across the country continue to fight the spread of coronavirus. 

Arizonans are quickly adjusting to new guidelines limiting human-to-human contact and a new Google report shows residents are heeding those guidelines.  

Google is tracking how well communities are social distancing by tracing users' movements. The tech giant is using its Google maps location feature to collect data for its COVID-19 Community Mobility Reports.  

The data is anonymous and there are privacy protections in place, according to a blog post from Google.  

The report for Arizona released on March 29 showed movement to places like restaurants, cafes, shopping centers, theme parks, museums, libraries and movie theaters is down by 40 percent compared to usual activity. 

Transit station mobility is down 41 percent. And workplace mobility is down 33 percent. 

Users going to grocery stores and pharmacies, which are high on the list of essential services, is down 17 percent. 

Visits to parks, plazas, marinas and public gardens are down 7 percent. 

And movement in and around residential areas is up 10 percent. 

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COVID-19 is believed to be primarily spread through coughs or sneezes. 

It may be possible for the virus to spread by touching a surface or object with the virus and then a person touching their mouth, nose or eyes, but this is not thought to be the main method of spread, the CDC says. 

You should consult your doctor if you traveled to an area currently affected by COVID-19 and feel sick with fever, cough or difficulty breathing. 

There is no vaccine for the coronavirus, so the best way to prevent COVID-19 and other respiratory diseases is to:

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently-touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.

You can text FACTS to 602-444-1212 to receive more information on the coronavirus and to ask questions.