Shelby County inches closer to COVID-19 vaccination goal

Published: Feb. 17, 2022 at 10:31 PM CST
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - COVID-19 cases continue to drop dramatically in Shelby County.

Case counts haven’t been this low since before Christmas.

Shelby County is also averaging 410 vaccinations a day. Thursday, the state of Tennessee reported that the county has now reached a new vaccination milestone.

The state is reporting 60% of residents have received at least one dose and 51% are fully vaccinated. While still short of the 70% fully vaccination goal set nearly two years ago, it’s still pointing to progress toward returning to life as we once knew it.

“It’s the caseload in the community that really would be the primary driver of what we do in terms of behavior modifications, how careful we are in the community,” said infectious disease expert Dr. Steve Threlkeld.

The county’s seven-day COVID-19 case average hasn’t been this low since Dec. 19 of last year. The hope is the cases will continue to drop just in time for one of the city’s biggest events.

The Beale Street Music Festival makes its return after a two-year hiatus.

“So, from where things stand now, give it another month. I think an outdoor activity is likely to be pretty darn safe for all but the most high-risk person,” said Threlkeld.

Festival planners just released their line-up with hopes that COVID-19 doesn’t sideline their event.

A festival spokesperson said:

“COVID protocols for the 2022 Beale Street music festival will be based on the safety procedures required by the health department at the time of the event, as well as safety protocols required by the performing artists. We hope the virus will be well under control by the time our event takes place.”

Things may look good now, but things may change, particularly if another variant emerges.

“We have been here before,” Threlkeld said. “People forget that everybody was going out again and eating in restaurants and relaxation was happening all over the place. I’m hopeful that this is the last variant we’ll see like that and we’ll be able to get back to a reasonably normal situation.”

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