Officials: COVID-19 cases decreasing after mid-January peak

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The Memphis/Shelby County COVID-19 Joint Task Force said Shelby County is moving in the right direction when it comes to the pandemic.

According to health officials, they saw a peak in cases around mid-January and those numbers are starting to come down. They thanked residents for their cooperation when it comes to adhering to the safety guidelines and said it is making a difference.

Health Directive 17

The Shelby County Health Department’s Health Directive 17 will go into effect Saturday, Jan. 23.

The heatlh directive allows everything to be open, but Dr. Bruce Randolph with the health department said everyone still need to adhere to the safety guidlines.

They are relying on individuals to take personal responsibility for preventing the spread of COVID-19 by taking the following actions:

  • Wear a mask
  • Stay home when sick
  • Limit close contact with those not in your household
  • Keep six feet away from others
  • Avoid enclosed spaces that don’t have ventilation
  • Wash your hands often
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces and objects
  • Get tested for COVID-19
  • Get vaccinated when available
  • Stay at home when possible
  • Groups of more than 10 are discouraged

Restaurant capacity will increase to 50 percent, from the current 25 percent. They will still not be allowed to seat more than six people and everyone must social distanced. Dancing indoors is not allowed along with smoking, and customers are still required to wear a mask when not eating.

Restaurants will also still have to close by 10 p.m.

Live entertainment is permitted, but performers will have to be socially distanced.

Vaccination efforts

The Shelby County Health Department reported 33,687 people have been given the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine as of January 20. Roughly 7,000 of those have received the second dose.

The health department is currenlty working to vaccinate those in the 1a1 and 1a2 groups, along with those 75 years of age or older at the Pipkin Building. Vaccinations are given by appointment only and there are no more appointments available for January.

The Shelby County Health Department said they will announce when more slots become available.

The following individuals are now eligible to receive the vaccine:

  • First responders with direct public exposure including EMS, law enforcement, and fire
    fighters
  • Staff working at COVID-19 mass testing sites
  • Staff and residents of long-term care facilities, residential homes for the aged, and staff
    and residents of assisted living centers who have direct contact with residents or
    contact with potentially infectious materials
  • Staff of other congregate care facilities such as homes for the intellectually or
    developmentally disabled, detention centers, Staff of Department of Children’s Services
    residential facilities, rehabilitation hospitals and psychiatric hospitals who have direct
    patient contact or contact with potentially infectious materials
  • Home health care staff with direct patient contact
  • Staff and residents of long-term care facilities, residential homes for the aged, and staff
    and residents of assisted living centers who have direct contact with residents or
    contact with potentially infectious materials
  • Individuals > 18 years or older who cannot live independently due to serious chronic
    medical condition or intellectual or developmental disability
  • Providers of K-12 or university student health services who have direct patient contact
    or contact with potentially infectious materials
  • Funeral/mortuary service providers
  • Health care workers, including:
    • Primary care providers and staff
    • Outpatient specialty providers and staff working with acute patients
    • Pharmacists and staff
    • Patient transport
    • Outpatient therapists
    • Urgent visit center providers and staff
    • Environmental services
    • Oral health providers
    • Behavioral health providers
    • Outpatient laboratory staff working with COVID-19 specimens
  • • Individuals age 75 and over

Latest COVID-19 data

The Shelby County Health Department reported 79,051 total cases and 432 new cases Thursday morning.

There have been 1,154 deaths. The health department says 14 new deaths were reported in the last 24 hours. The deaths account for 1.5% of all cases in Shelby County.

While the elderly are most likely to die, health officials say people between 20 and 50 years of age are most likely to get the virus and spread it.

The number of cases considered recovered is 72,326, or 91%. There are 5,571 known active cases, which accounts for 7%.

Shelby County currently has a positivity rate of 14.1% Reproductive rate is less than 1%.

Usage of local Acute Care and ICU beds was 88% and 94% respectively as of January 20. There are 514 COVID patients in the hospital.

The Shelby County Health Department said the following long-term care facilities have clusters:

They are also tracking cases in the jail system.

Where to get tested

If you think you have been exposed to COVID-19, it is important that you get tested as soon as possible. For a testing site near you, call (833) 556-2476 or (877) 857-2945.

View a map of all testing locations

There are two drive-thru testing locations – 2355 Appling City Cove and 1720 RKS Commercial Cove – and residents do not need an appointment to get tested. The sites are during open during the week from 8:30 to 5 p.m.

If you believe you have been exposed to COVID-19, please stay isolated until you have your test results back.

Have questions? Call the Shelby County Healt Department’s hotline at (901) 222-MASK.

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