COVID-19 cases rising in Shelby County, experts advise playing it safe

Published: Apr. 28, 2022 at 10:32 PM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - On the eve of the much-anticipated return of Beale Street Music Festival, the focus is on attention to detail at Liberty Park in Midtown Memphis, the site of this year’s event.

“All three of the stages are up,” Memphis in May V.P. of Marketing Randy Blevins told Action News 5, “and we’re putting the finishing touches on the sound and lighting system.”

Also going up right now: COVID-19 cases in Memphis and Shelby County. The Shelby County Health Department reported 101 new cases Thursday, April 28, the first time that daily tally hit triple digits in weeks.

“Easter. Spring Break. Kids were getting out. You know, families saw each other maybe for the first time in several months. And we know the new subvariant of omicron is more contagious than the previous one,” said Dr. Nick Hysmith, infectious disease expert at Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital, “And the previous variant was already extremely contagious.”

While cases are increasing, Dr. Hysmith said hospitalizations are not, and he credits the vaccine. The most recent data available from SCHD shows 32 COVID-19 positive patients are hospitalized in the Memphis metro, 27 in acute beds and 5 in ICU. Dr. Hysmith said no children are hospitalized with the virus right now.

“I think the big thing for everyone to note is just to get vaccinated,” he said, “If you’re not boosted, please go ahead and get your booster vaccination. And if you’re over 50 or have immuno-compromised issues, go ahead and get that second booster.”

The Beale Street Music Festival website says attendees are not required to be vaccinated. They don’t have to take COVID-19 tests to get into BSMF, and no need to mask up unless it makes you feel safer.

Advice from Dr. Hysmith if you find yourself feeling under the weather:

“So if people are sick or they’re around somebody that they know has COVID,” he said, “stay away from crowded areas.”

After a nearly three year absence because of the coronavirus pandemic, the gates to Beale Street Music Fest will finally open at 5:00 p.m. on Friday, April 29.

“It’s shaping up,” said Blevins, “and starting to look like a place that tens of thousands of people can enjoy live music!”

Memphis in May officials said the COVID protocol for Beale Street Music Festival mirrors the current guidance from the Shelby County Health Department and the CDC.

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