Preventing another surge in COVID-19 cases

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Could another surge in COVID-19 cases be on the way?

As the weather cools down and more people spend time indoors, health experts say it’s easier for the virus to spread. It’s a concern doctors in the Mid-South are keeping a close eye on.

The good news is hospitalizations and cases are on a slight downward trend, but doctors warn celebrating too early could undo some of the progress we’ve made.

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“We’ve seen this before with previous surges where things get better and then they get worse,” Dr. Shirin Mazumder with Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare said. “So I think it’s really important to remain cautious.

On Monday, 192 COVID-positive patients were admitted across the Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare system with 63 in the ICU.

While those numbers are better than a few weeks ago, Dr. Mazumder said they could increase as the weather cools off.

“The concern is when it’s colder, people congregate inside, so they’re no longer spending as much time outside,” she said. “And the virus can be more easily transmitted inside.”

Dr. Steve Threlkeld with Baptist Memorial Healthcare shares the same concern.

He said it’s too early to let up on safety precautions as many people in the Mid-South still are not vaccinated and remain vulnerable to the virus.

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“So those same things we did to blunt the curve the first month of the pandemic turn out to be the same things we can do now to avoid spreading it those people who are still unprotected after all these months,” Dr. Threlkeld said.

Dr. Threlkeld said what we do now could prevent a wintertime surge.

“We’re all hoping those numbers will continue to trend down, but it is slow. We would be making a terrible mistake to just celebrate too early.”

Both doctors say the threat of the flu is also higher in the wintertime, and remind you to get the flu vaccine.