COVID numbers spike to triple digits in Shelby County

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — After a Mother’s Day weekend filled with gatherings and music fans coming into Memphis for the Beale Street Music Festival a week earlier, Shelby County is experiencing an increase in COVID cases.

Desiree Dyson said her family is ready to mask up again if it means staying safe.

“I just think that we need to be doing everything that we can, protect ourselves and our loved ones,” she said. “It’s getting worse, and whatever we can do to flatten the curve, we’re going to do it. And if that means putting on a mask again and being uncomfortable and being barely able to breath, then that’s totally fine.”

The health department said Shelby County’s seven-day average for COVID-19 cases is hovering in the triple digits again. There were 132 cases as of Monday.

Dr. Steven Threlkeld, and infectious disease specialist at Baptist Hospital, is not surprised.

“Let’s face it. The community, the country is tired,” he said. “Nobody is really wearing a mask anymore. Outdoor activities are safer than indoors. All those things that we became more used to worrying about early on, it’s still the case, but we’re just not as worried about it anymore.”

Health experts said people who have immune deficits or are not fully boosted are still at risk.

“I think as big of problem as for the seriousness of the disease would be people who are pregnant,” Dr. Threlkeld said. “People who have other kind of immune suppressing problems and then the older end of the population, like we saw in the beginning.”

Dr. Threlkeld said one positive sign is we have not seen more people in the hospital because of COVID.

“Thankfully, we haven’t seen a huge up-tick in hospitalizations,” he said. “We are and we remain at this point at the mercy of what variants come at us and what the virus throws at us.”

As we head into summer, the advice remains the same: protect yourself by getting vaccinated.

“The first and foremost issue is try to be protected to the extent you can be protected, and by and large,” Dr. Threlkeld said. “That is to get vaccinated and get that booster, particularly if you’re over 60 years of age or if you have any underlying immune problems.”

The spike in cases mirrors data from the CDC, which also indicates the number of new cases is going up in many parts of the country.

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