Two years since the first COVID-19 case was reported in Shelby County, SCHD director looks back

Published: Mar. 9, 2022 at 10:21 PM CST
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Shelby County is reporting a seven-day average of just 56 new cases.

Only about 5% of all acute care patients in Mid-South hospital are COVID-19 positive.

Before coronavirus was a household name and before Dr. Michelle Taylor took the top spot at the Shelby County Health Department nearly a year later, Taylor spent March of 2020 planning her daughter’s birthday’s party.

“Her birthday was in March and we were planning a large party at sky zone and I remember just because of my experience with public Heath and medicine, I had been watching what COVID was doing globally so I knew eventually it would get to the U.S.,” said Taylor.

March 8 2020, Shelby County reported its first COVID-19 case.

About a week earlier, in the state of Maryland where Taylor was living at the time, there were three confirmed cases.

She knew she would have to cancel her daughter’s large party.

“So we had a small family friendly gathering with 25 people and I will tell you that is how I got COVID-19 way before there was a vaccination,” said Taylor.

Dr. Taylor was actually among the initial wave of COVID-19 infections.

She tested positive after a close friend, a fellow physician who drove from New York City to attend her daughter’s party tested positive a couple days later.

Taylor’s infection was mild, but as expected the virus spread quickly throughout the country.

For two years it was a roller coaster of infections, now the country is experiencing a downward trend.

However even after two years of learning about this virus Dr. Taylor says there is still a lot to learn.

“What we don’t know is if there will be another variant of concern that will cause an additional surge. We don’t know,” said Taylor.

In Shelby County alone there have been over 237,000 confirmed COVID cases since that initial case two years ago.

Taylor says believe it or not, what we’ve been through in battling a pandemic could prove helpful in the long run.

“People have really gained a deeper understanding of what public health is and almost have become junior epidemiologist,” said Taylor. “In a lot of ways I’m hoping that the Shelby County Health Department will be able to leverage that deeper understanding in the community to start to tackle some of the other public health issues that we’ve had in Shelby county for quite a while,” said Taylor.

Taylor says she is currently planning her daughter’s birthday party.

Due to what happened two years ago, she’s added to the birthday invitations a requirement that all guests wear a mask at all times unless actively eating or drinking.

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