COVID cases remain high in Shelby County over past two weeks

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — COVID-19 cases continue to climb in Shelby County, with more than 90 new cases almost every day over the past two weeks.

Thursday, the county reported 5,544 cases with 120 fatalities — about 2.2% of the total.

In Shelby County, more than 8% of the county’s population has been tested, better than the 6% Tennessee rate and the 5% national rate, city COO Doug McGowen said.

Over the past two weeks Shelby County health officials say 12 days had more than 90 new cases. They’re trying to figure out what’s causing the uptick.

“At the moment, we are still mostly, every day below 80% of our hospital capacity for beds and utilization. That’s both in the intensive care and hospital beds overall,” Chief of Epidemiology David Sweat said.

Sweat says he expects more and more confirmed cases over the summer. He now expects a peak in the county sometime between Labor Day and Thanksgiving.

“That’s what the modeling data suggests right now,” Sweat said. “The exact when of that, the date of that, it changes on different parameters.”

Sweat said all of their data is being turned over to local government officials so they can determine whether they want to move to Phase 3 of the Back to Business plan, where more restrictions are lifted for things like businesses and restaurants.

Sweat said he is concerned, but not alarmed.

Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland announced this week that the Bluff City will not be moving to Phase 3 until at least June 16. We are still waiting to hear from the other mayors in the county.

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