Seven deaths in Shelby County from COVID-19

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The number of confirmed deaths in Shelby County attributed to COVID-19 rose to seven on Thursday, county officials said.

That’s an increase from three deaths reported Wednesday. There are 638 cases in Shelby County, as of Thursday, up from 497 on Wednesday.

Shelby County Health Department director Dr. Alisa Haushalter did not provide specific details on the seven deaths, but she did confirm one of the deaths was a younger adult.

The Shelby County Health Department said more than 7,007 people have been tested for COVID-19. Shelby County Health Department director Dr. Alisa Haushalter said 90% of people tested have tested negative.

The virus has claimed the life of a pastor at Second Presbyterian Church and a Memphis artist, among others.

Haushalter said the health department expects to see a surge of cases sometime in the third week of April or early May. Haushalter said they are working to make sure there is sufficient personal protective equipment for medical personnel.

Haushalter emphasized the importance of self-isolation for those who have tested positive or are waiting for test results.

“I have personally spoken to some very smart people who did not isolate during this time,” Haushalter said.

Haushalter said someone who is isolated should only leave their home if they’re seeking medical attention. She also said they would need to be wearing a mask when they go out.

Haushalter said the health department is trying to focus on those who are most vulnerable. She said that though 80% of positive cases have been found in people under 60, there is an increase in cases for people who are older than 60.

“I’ve been in practice nearly 40 years. This is probably the biggest epidemic I’ve ever been involved in,” Haushalter said. “This is a once in a lifetime epidemic, and I think it’s important for those of us who know that to say that so people understand this is something serious and we need to take appropriate action.”

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