Mid-South health officials warn if necessary precautions are not taken during holiday season, COVID-19 cases may surge

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — As cases continue to rise in the Mid-South, more schools are moving to virtual learning.
However, medical officials said if everyone does not take the necessary precaution to stay safe over the holiday break, they are looking at a massive increase in cases. Dr. Steven Threlkeld, an Infectious Disease Specialist, said now is not the time for people to get comfortable as we move into the holiday season.

Threlkeld said the next few weeks will determine the future of the COVID transmission rate here in the Mid-South.

“We need to focus on the basics on how to fix this infection. We know how to do it. We’ve even done it before, but we’re tired of it,” Threlkeld said.

Threlkeld said people need to stay on their toes when it comes to COVID-19 safety precautions especially as cases continue to rise and the holidays approach.

“We have this tendency to let our guards down when we’re around relatives and close friends around the dinner table. We say, ‘well, those people aren’t going to give me covid.’ and they don’t want to but they don’t even know they have it,” Threlkeld said.

Since the start of October, COVID-19 cases in Shelby County have been on an upward trend with an overall test positivity rate of 8.5%.

“As we move into the Thanksgiving holiday particularly, and this season in general people are going to be together inside eating,” Threlkeld said.

Due to the increase in cases, several Mid-South schools are moving to virtual learning this week.
That includes: Collierville Middle School, Marshall County Schools, Forrest City Schools, and Lafayette County Middle and High School.

Parents across the Mid-South voiced their concerns about the rising numbers. Many of them are concerned their children may contract the virus and get other vulnerable family members sick.

As far as the holidays go, Dr. Threlkeld said if you are going to gather, he recommends still trying to find ways to social distance, continue practicing proper hygiene and wear a mask is possible. He said all three combined can help flatten the curve.

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