Vaccines offer hope as COVID-19 cases continue to climb

WATCH: If we continue in the direction we are going, SCHD says some restrictions will follow

SHELBY COUNTY, Tenn. — Shelby County Health Officer Dr. Bruce Randolph says if we continue in the direction we are going some restrictions will follow.

“If the seven day average of new cases is more than 450, that would be a setback we would consider in terms of taking action,” said Randolph.

After a single-day record of 835 new cases Tuesday, Shelby County’s seven-day average hit 424 Wednesday. That’s just shy of a record and nearing a tipping point that has Randolph asking everyone to go back to the basics.

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“Wearing the mask, separating six feet or more, avoiding crowding gathering, washing your hands and sanitizing,” Randolph said.

Randolph said he is concerned Thanksgiving may set the county back. That is why he is asking everyone to keep gatherings to your immediate household.

“If you’re going to gather, do so with face masks and six feet separation,” said Randolph.

Hospitals are also feeling the weight of rising COVID-19 cases. As of Tuesday night, 91 percent of available beds were filled.

WATCH: ICU beds at 89 percent capacity; health experts concerned

“We have repeatedly broken our inpatient census number. Several times. I believe four times in the month of November,” Dr. Ben Bowman with Methodist Le Bonheur Germantown Hospital said.

Not only are health leaders concerned about hospital capacity, but also staffing.

“We are aggressively recruiting nurses. That’s a trend we have seen throughout the country,” said Bowman.

Doctor Randolph says we may receive the first doses of a vaccine in the next few weeks. The vaccine will be distributed in phases starting with people who are 65 and over and people who take care of COVID-19 patients.

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