Shelby Co. health officials say recent COVID-19 deaths related to probable cases from March, May

Shelby County health officials report 11 new deaths

SHELBY COUNTY, Tenn. (WMC) - One day after recording its largest single-day increase of new cases the Shelby County Health Department reports 11 more deaths from COVID-19.

But those deaths occurred between March and May.

The Shelby County Health Department reported 44 new cases of COVID-19 on Sunday. The total confirmed case count stands at 7,884.

The county also reported 11 new deaths bringing the total number of deaths in Shelby County to 164.

But the health department says those new deaths are from “probable cases” that occurred between March 28 and May 18.

The health department says a probable case is someone who may or may not have tested positive “but has an illness consistent with COVID-19.”

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

They may also have other risk factors like close contact with a COVID-19 case or if a person dies and the health care provider that signs the death certificate determines COVID-19 caused the death -- or played a significant role.

Last week, Shelby County officials decided to stay in phase two of the county’s reopening plan because of an upward trend in cases and the reproductive rate.

“These are signs to us that there is significant transmission in the community and that moving forward would put more people at risk,” said Shelby County Health Department Director Alisa Haushalter.

On Saturday, the county set a record for its highest single-day increase of new cases and the weekly positivity rate is the highest its been since mid-April.

Then there’s social distancing and getting people to wear masks.

“Yeah I think we need to do better,” said Dr. Steve Threlkeld, an infectious disease specialist at Baptist Memorial Hospital. “You see people who refuse to wear masks because they say they don’t have to.”

It all begs the question: Is the county reopening too soon?

In a tweet, Shelby County Commissioner Tami Sawyer says she plans to request on Monday that the county return to phase one.

Health experts say that’s something they could talk about if the numbers continue heading in the wrong direction.

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