Good news and bad news, Shelby County hospitalizations plateau

Published: Jan. 20, 2022 at 11:37 AM CST

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - The Memphis-Shelby County COVID Task Force will gave an update on vaccines and cases Thursday afternoon.

Chief McGowen said with the current data there is some good news. Current hospitalizations have appeared to plateaued for the time being providing a slight bit of relief for hospitals in the county.

This plateau could also be considered bad news as the number is higher than health experts would like, currently sitting over 700.

Shelby County Health Department reports 1,554 new COVID-19 cases in Shelby County.

SCHD COVID-19 data 1/20/22
SCHD COVID-19 data 1/20/22(Shelby County Health Department)

Numbers have been dropping since record highs during a case spike in late December and early January, but the seven-day average reported cases is up, currently 1,248. This after a period of time close to Thanksgiving where less that 100, and even 0, cases were reported each day.

Health experts attribute part of the case spike to the omicron variant that spread rapidly across the U.S.

As case spikes were reported across the county, COVID-19 test kits have become in short supply in some areas.

President Biden’s plan to provide some relief is to give away free at-home-COVID-19-test kits. Four tests can be ordered per household at, but tests will not arrive for seven to 12 days.

On Wednesday Biden announced a plan to provide 400 million N95 masks that will be available for free at pharmacies and health centers across the country. Specific locations and a tentative date of availability have not been provided at this time.

Here in Shelby County, local health officials still say the best way to protect yourself is by getting vaccinated, masking up and maintaining social distancing. The county is still inching its way towards its vaccination goal, and it is currently 78.5% of the way to reaching herd immunity of 700,000 people fully vaccinated.

SCHD reports that 8,739 people have been vaccinated within that last week, but being vaccinated isn’t the only tool to protect yourself from the virus.

COVID-19 protocols have been relaxed for most businesses in the county, and masking up social distancing are just as important as ever.

Shelby County currently has 21,251 active COVID-19 cases, 6,276 of them being pediatric cases.

The total number of confirmed & probable COVID-19 cases in Shelby County has been reported at 208,357 and 2,814 deaths since the pandemic began nearly 2 years ago.

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