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COVID-19 joint task force gives final briefing on pandemic in Shelby County

Published: Mar. 10, 2022 at 11:58 AM CST
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Memphis-Shelby County COVID-19 Joint Task Force is giving an update on COVID-19 in their last routine briefing since the first case was reported two years ago.

The Shelby County Health Department (SCHD) estimates there were more than 153 COVID-19 Joint Task Force briefings since 2020.

”We had the virus peak in July 2020 then the winter surge in January 2021. The Delta Variant which peaked in August 2021, and the Omicron peak which produced the highest daily new cases of the pandemic which was 4.442 on December 28, 2021,” said SCHD Director, Dr. Michelle Taylor.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, there have been 237,162 cases and 3,171 deaths in Shelby County.

There are also 14 newly reported pediatric cases. SCHD says about 135 of the active cases are among children.

The county’s weekly positivity rate dropped down to 2.6% for the last week of February. It’s a stark difference from the 45.5% reported at the peak of the pandemic during the omicron surge at the beginning of 2022.

As for vaccinations, the county is about 79.9% of the way to its goal of 700,000 people fully vaccinated.

Health experts say numbers have decreased significantly. SCHD reported just 78 new cases Thursday with 575 of those cases active.

”Because all indicators have shown great improvement over the past several weeks, this will be the last regularly scheduled COVID-19 news briefing,” Dr. Taylor said.

She gave a long list of thank yous -- from health experts and frontline workers to Shelby County residents.

”You have been the bravest throughout these two years of the pandemic. You know what to do to protect yourselves, and you’ve done just that,” Dr. Taylor said.

But experts warn residents not to let their guard down.

”The good news is everybody knows what to do. We stay home when we’re sick. We get a test when we don’t feel well, we don’t just assume it’s allergies,” said City of Memphis, Chief Operating Officer, Doug McGowen.

With hopes that we will soon go from a pandemic to an endemic.

”And what that means is that COVID will still be with us, we will still have cases. They will stay low and at times we may have a spike in cases,” Dr. Taylor said.

The Health Department says it will continue to update its social channels with the latest on COVID-19.

For more information and data on COVID-19 in Shelby County, visit shelbytnhealth.com/COVID-19data.

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