MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Shelby County is now experiencing a 5th surge in COVID cases fueled by holiday celebrations and the highly contagious Omicron variant.

Startling new data released from the Shelby County Health Department shows more than 5,000 new COVID-19 cases reported since Christmas Eve.

On Monday, the UT Health Science Center projected that the number of new COVID cases in Shelby County could reach an all-time high in as soon as two weeks.

Increases have been reported all over the U.S. that seem to be linked to the spread of the Omicron variant of COVID.

“Unfortunately we knew this was coming as soon as we knew Omicron was in the community but it’s always shocking when you see it in black and white,” said Health Department Director Dr. Michelle Taylor

The county now reporting a record high 7-day rolling average of 956 cases. On Monday, a new record of 1,540 new daily cases was reported.

Dr. Taylor is urging people to not to become complacent with COVID protocols and to get vaccinated and boosted.

“That’s a lot of cases.. that’s a lot of people who are sick in the community.. there are probably very few people in the community who are positive of at least having symptoms,” she said.

Shelby County’s COVID testing sites have been experiencing extremely high volume and availability for at-home testing kits are limited. As wait times for testing for some surpass hours, even with sites re-opening Tuesday, Taylor said the county is working to meet the growing demand.

“We are looking at plans to ramp up testing capacity even more with a potential couple more sites,” she said.

In the meantime, Taylor said she can’t issue a mask mandate but believes Memphis and surrounding communities need to mask up to save lives.

“The best thing I can do is remind everyone…private businesses can implement those mitigation efforts on their own…it’s the right thing to do for business it protects employees and clients,” she said.

Below is a summary of Shelby County’s COVID-19 data over the holiday weekend:

Friday, December 24, 2021:
New Cases: 1,288 (up from 776 reported December 23, 2021)
New Pediatric Cases: 260 (up from 193 reported on December 23, 2021)
Reported cases per day (7-day average): 559 cases per day (up from 414 cases per day on December 23, 2021)
Test positivity rate: 8.6% (up from 7.9% on December 23, 2021)

Saturday, December 25, 2021:
New Cases: 1301
New Pediatric Cases: 293
Reported cases per day (7-day average): 693
Test positivity rate: 9.2%

Sunday, December 26, 2021:
New Cases: 963
New Pediatric Cases: 199
Reported cases per day (7-day average): 778
Test positivity rate: 12.0%

Monday, December 27, 2021:
New Cases: 1540
New Pediatric Cases: 281
Reported cases per day (7-day average): 944
Test positivity rate: 15.2%

Tuesday, December 28, 2021:
New Cases: 406
New Pediatric Cases: 64
Reported cases per day (7-day average): 956
Test positivity rate: 18.5%

You can find a link to current testing sites here and vaccine clinics here.