18 delta variant cases confirmed in Shelby County

Published: Jun. 24, 2021 at 6:31 PM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - More than 383,000 people in Shelby County have been vaccinated, which is 54.7 percent of the county’s goal of 700,000.

Thursday, the Memphis Shelby County COVID-19 task force shared some good news and a warning aimed directly at those who are unvaccinated.

The task force says it’s ending the weekly briefings because COVID-19 case numbers locally remain very low. The task force also says we are not out of the pandemic yet, and people need to be very cautious with the delta variant locally.

It was a case of good news and bad news for the final regularly scheduled COVID-19 task force briefing Thursday. The good news is case numbers continue to stay low in Shelby County with an average of 23 cases per day for the last week. The bad news is the COVID-19 delta variant is spreading quickly in states surrounding Shelby County and 18 delta variant cases have been identified with 16 different clusters in the county since June 9.

“Here in Shelby County, we’re doing ok. We’re heading in the right direction. But we’re surrounded by areas that are not ok,” said David Sweat, chief of epidemiology at the Shelby County Health Department.

“That’s why I’m concerned. We are planning for the worst, but hoping for the best,” said Dough McGowen, City of Memphis chief operating officer.

The delta variant originated in India and is the most infectious known COVID-19 variant.

Local infectious disease experts say this summer, there will be two vastly different experiences between people who are vaccinated and mostly protected, and those who are unvaccinated and are in grave danger of severe illness and possibly death.

“If you die at this point from COVID, it’s because you’re not vaccinated, largely. Overwhelmingly, the cases that occur are unvaccinated people,” said Sweat.

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