“This virus is persistent:” No new business restrictions coming in Shelby County health directive

SHELBY COUNTY, Tenn. — Shelby County health leaders spoke Thursday about the rising number of COVID-19 cases in our community.

Shelby County Mayor Lee Harris said the next health directive will align with CDC recommendations for mask-wearing indoors.

There are no plans at this time to reinstate business restrictions or mask mandates, Harris said.

The health directive will be issued Aug. 4.

300 is the average number of daily cases, Chief Doug McGowen said.

The positivity rate is now 14%, and the reproductive rate is 1.46.

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The delta variant is making up over 90% of new cases, McGowen said.

The delta variant is highly contagious.

23 more people have died in the last seven days.

279 people are hospitalized, and 81 are in the ICU. Half of those are on ventilators, McGowen said.

At the peak of the pandemic, 150 people were in the ICU.

Nearly 750,000 vaccines have been given in Shelby County.

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McGowen said 338,000 people are now fully vaccinated.

The mass vaccine site at the Pipkin Building will remain open through at least the end of August.

Health officials believe demand for vaccines will go up.

Street teams will be going through neighborhoods, educating residents on vaccines and helping them get vaccinated.

A stream team can help arrange for a vaccine to come to a person’s home within two hours’ time, McGowen said.

Free testing is still widely available in the community. Everyone is encouraged to know your status and get tested.

Find testing locations here.

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You can call 901-RIDE-901 to receive a free ride to get vaccinated.

Dr. Nick Hysmith said during Thursday’s press conference that severe COVID-19 illness and hospitalizations is occurring in residents who are unvaccinated.

Some hospitals in the South are reporting an increasing number of pediatric cases, Hysmith said.

Children 12 and under are currently not eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

Hysmith said local hospitals and health workers are under an extreme strain due to COVID-19 and other illnesses.

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The only way to end the pandemic is for everyone to get vaccinated, Hysmith said.