Shelby Co. sees increase in COVID-19 cases amid holiday season
MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - In the midst of an already busy cold and flu season, local health experts have renewed concerns over COVID-19 as cases rise.
The Shelby County Health Department (SCHD) reports a 30% increase in the average number of reported daily cases of COVID in the last week.
Doctors say there is a silver lining though, with RSV cases now down. But, the COVID spike comes at a tough time with the holidays just over a week away.
“We are seeing more cases of COVID at Le Bonheur, we have an increase in the number of children testing positive who are going to the emergency room to be tested,” said Dr. Sandra Arnold, professor at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center and chief of the Pediatric Infectious Disease Division at Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital.
SCHD provided the following statement:
“Shelby County Health Department continues to monitor COVID-19 cases in our county. The average reported cases per day increased this week by about 30%, from 180 average reported cases per day to 236 average cases per day. This increase was not unexpected and mirrored trends in many areas of the country.”
“Over the last few weeks, numbers have started to go up,” Dr. Arnold said. “So that actually now we’re seeing between 10 and 20 kids testing positive in the ER in a 24-hour period.”
But, there is some good news.
Dr. Arnold says RSV cases have gone down substantially since the end of October.
“It looks as if, for the time being, our flu cases have peaked. We’re on the backside of that epidemic as well, just as COVID cases are going up, so we may get lucky and see that flu is going down as COVID goes up,” she said. “So, things may not be as bad as we anticipated.”
But with more holiday family gatherings on the horizon, Dr. Arnold says now is the time to get your COVID booster, a flu shot, and mask up.
“Masking is an excellent way to protect yourself against COVID-19,” she said. “Everybody needs to decide for themselves whether they’re willing to put up with wearing a mask, it isn’t very pleasant, as we all know... but it also isn’t dangerous.”
She also advises being responsible.
“I think, during respiratory virus season, we always need to be careful about making sure that we are not making other people sick.”
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