New COVID-19 cases continue to decline across the Mid-South
MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - New COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations, which reached record or near-record levels at the height of the omicron surge, continue to decline in all three Mid-South states and Shelby County.
Shelby County reported 298 new cases on Monday.
Shelby County Health Department (SCHD) Director Dr. Michelle Taylor said the declining numbers are encouraging.
“All of the numbers are going in the right direction,” said Taylor.
But doctors said it’s important to remember the pandemic isn’t over.
Infectious disease expert Dr. Stephen Threlkeld said Mid-Southerners should continue practicing common sense when venturing out.
“I think that the idea should be to be sensible. Don’t be around people in large numbers, cramped in areas of poor airflow indoors,” said Threlkeld, who noted he still encourages people to wear masks in certain settings.
This weekend, Arkansas reported 88 additional deaths from COVID-19, though a spokesperson for the Arkansas Department of Health said most of the deaths occurred sometime over the last 30 days and were only now being reported.
In response to the deaths, Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson said in part, “We have lost too many Arkansans, and unless we increase vaccinations, we will have even more.”
The latest vaccination numbers show 53% of Arkansans and Tennesseans are fully vaccinated, as are 51% of Mississippians, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
In Shelby County, 51% of people are fully vaccinated, according to SCHD.
“We would prefer to be northwards of 70%,” said Taylor.
Shelby County is stepping up its efforts to get more people vaccinated.
It opened new vaccination sites and hosted a vaccination event targeting Hispanics over the weekend.
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