Shelby County COVID-19 numbers rise as Fourth of July approaches

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The number of COVID-19 cases in Shelby County continues to rise as the nation prepares to celebrate the Fourth of July.

Thursday, the Shelby County Health Department reported more than 10,600 cases of COVID-19 in Shelby County and 192 deaths.

Memphis City councilman Dr. Jeff Warren, who is a member of the COVID-19 task force, reflects on the numbers.

“Big alarm is Fourth of July. This weekend is huge,” Warren said. “Every big spike we’ve seen–Mother’s Day, Memorial Day, Father’s Day–all of those were followed seven, 10, 14 days with a spike.”

The Shelby County Health Department says in a 24-hour span, cases increased by nearly 400. 

Warren warns if there’s a spike because of the July Fourth holiday, we could see those numbers double down the road.

Shelby County’s Health Department Director Alisa Haushalter also issuing a warning, saying she herself isn’t attending her grandchild’s birthday this weekend because it’s not in the county.

“In part because I know it will be in a place there will there is likely to be transmission, and so I will make a decision not to attend,” Haushalter said.

She says one thing to consider first when it comes to a gathering is whether you need to go. Don’t think that just because someone is a friend or co-worker they don’t pose a risk.

If you do go to a gathering, socialize outside and stay six feet apart as much as possible. Warren suggests one person do the cooking and handles the food. Warren also says try to keep the gathering small, between 10 to 15 people.

“Don’t stay and talk to the same person for a significant number of time,” Haushalter said. “We look at that 10-15 minute window, so make the rounds a little bit, but then also wearing a mask at the event when you can’t social distance.”

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