Health experts concerned after Shelby County reports largest single-day increase of COVID-19 cases

Health experts concerned after Shelby County reports largest single-day increase of COVID-19 cases

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - The Shelby County Health Department has reported the largest single-day increase of COVID-19 cases -- an increase of 385 cases new cases on Saturday.

“When you see an uptick in cases like that, it causes us a great deal of concern,” said Dr. Steve Threlkeld, Infectious Disease Specialist at Baptist Memorial Hospital.

Doctor Steve Threlkeld says the increase is not coming from more testing.

“The percentage day over day of the tests that are positive has also been up, and that’s not just from more testing. More people who are being tested are positive, and more important than that, the hospitalizations have been up sharply,” said Threlkeld.

Dr. Threlkeld says the increase appears to be from people getting out more during Phase 2.

Baptist East Memorial Hospital currently has 61 patients hospitalized with COVID-19 -- their highest number thus far during the pandemic.

Dr. Threlkeld says it’s up to everyone in Shelby County to double our prevention efforts of washing hands, social distancing and wearing masks.

“Yeah I think we need to do better. You see people who refuse to wear masks because they say they don’t have to,” said Threlkeld.

“We all need to step it up, OK? That’s the bottom line. We need to get more than 60 percent of people wearing masks more than 60 percent of the time,” said Dr. Jeff Warren with the Shelby County COVID-19 Task Force.

Dr. Jeff Warren, a Memphis City Councilman and member of the Shelby County COVID-19 Task Force, says the masks requirement ordinance passed by city council needs to be taken seriously to help slow this increase.

He says a major test for the county will be how people celebrate Father’s Day Sunday.

“We have to treat these get-togethers with appropriate social distancing. Do them outside, keep six feet apart,” said Warren.

“We know how to win this battle, and the problem is we don’t always do it,” said Threlkeld.

Currently the number of hospitalizations is not at a critical level, and there is capacity available for hospital beds.

Discussions about entering Phase 3 are tabled at the moment, and if the cases continue to increase, health experts say a discussion about going back to Phase 1 may have to happen in the future.

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