Shelby County health officials express concern as COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations increase

SHELBY COUNTY, Tenn. — The Shelby County Health Department gave an update Thursday on the recent surge of COVID-19 cases in the community.

Chief Doug McGowen said the Delta variant is driving the new daily case rate up.

COVID-19 hospitalizations are also up in the county, McGowen said. There are 56 people in ICU right now due to COVID-19 illness.

McGowen said the COVID-19 briefings will continue for the time being due to the rise in cases.

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McGowen said not to dismiss any symptoms you may have, especially since the Delta variant is highly transmissible.

Free testing is available seven days a week at locations across the city and county.

Over 730,000 vaccines have been administered in the county, McGowen said. 330,000 people are fully vaccinated at this time.

The county is seeing a slight uptick in the number of people who are receiving vaccines.

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The county is working on a pilot program where residents could receive vaccines on-the-spot during a door-to-door campaign, McGowen said.

It could be up and operating by the end of July.

Pop-up vaccination sites with area partners will continue at least through August, McGowen said.

For more on testing and vaccines, visit the City of Memphis’ COVID-19 site.

A Back-to-School event will be held at the Pipkin Building on July 31 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. with hair cuts, backpacks, vaccinations and more.

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Dr. Bruce Randolph said 259 new cases were reported yesterday. The seven-day average is currently 174.

Randolph said a month ago, the seven-day average was 22.

The positivity rate a month ago was around 2.7%; now, it’s 11.1%.

Breakthrough cases have been reported in many who are fully vaccinated in Shelby County. 30 of those cases are due to the Delta variant.

Randolph said there have also been two deaths reported due to the Delta variant.

Randolph said people who are fully vaccinated that get the virus again are less likely to experience serious illness.