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Second day this week more than 400 new cases reported

Published: Jul. 30, 2021 at 4:43 PM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Friday the Shelby County Health Department reported 465 new COVID-19 cases, that’s the second day this week that number exceeds 400.

The weekly positivity rate has also jumped up from 11.1 percent to 14.6 percent.

Baptist infectious disease expert Dr. Steve Threlkeld says this is a step backwards.

“Didn’t predict that we would have come as far as we have in the wrong direction in this short of time,” Threlkeld said.

The rise in cases prompted Tennessee Governor Bill Lee to issue an executive order declaring a limited continuing state of emergency.

This will allow the state to receive help from the National and State Guard with health care and vaccination efforts.

The executive order goes into effect on Friday at midnight and will remain until the end of August.

The health department has said 90% of all new cases in Shelby County are Delta variant.

“It’s discouraging because this is an entirely new animal that we’re facing,” Threlkeld said.

Threlkeld says as a result of the variant being more contagious the ICU is filling up.

“There seems be a higher amount of ICU utilization by COVID patients now. The percentage of beds with COVID patients is a bit higher relative to the total number of the hospital,” Threlkeld said.

The CDC warns the Delta variant could be as contagious as the chickenpox. Threlkeld says that’s quite a statement.

“It’s not clear that the Delta variant is that much more airborne and will cross a room at you necessarily, but what is clear is that people with it are putting out a lot more virus,” Threlkeld said.

Threlkeld also says they are still gathering data on breakthrough cases and the infection rate among those vaccinated.

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