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Will Shelby County see another surge of COVID-19 cases after the Christmas holiday?

Updated: Dec. 27, 2020 at 9:51 PM CST
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SHELBY COUNTY, Tenn. (WMC) - Over the weekend Shelby County reported more than 600 COVID-19 cases each day.

The real question is what will that number be in two weeks?

That is a question all Shelby County health officials have and that’s because in two weeks case numbers will reflect how well Memphians listened to staying home and not engaging in social gatherings.

Saturday, Shelby County reported 752 new cases, and on Sunday 643 bringing the total to 65,408 cases.

The number one message health and city leaders had for Memphians going into the holiday weekend was to behave.

“This holiday keep it small. Only celebrate with the people you live with,” Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland said.

“Just this year we’re asking people to please try as best they can to stay home,” Shelby County Mayor Lee Harris said.

City and health officials fear having a repeat of Thanksgiving when cases rose significantly impacting hospital capacity.

“If we blunt the curve, we can save 500-600 lives of our family members and other people that would be dying… All we’ve got to do is blunt this curve, not overwhelm our hospitals and wait. This vaccine is coming,” said City Council and Shelby County COVID task force Member Dr. Jeff Warren.

With more than 53,000 Tennesseans already vaccinated health officials are imploring the rest to not give up.

“These next few days and next couple of weeks are going to really determine how our hospitals are going to function over the next month,” said Tennessee Department of Health Commissioner Dr. Lisa Piercey.

With a big push statewide to vaccinate first responders over the holiday weekend, Piercey expects that total number to go up significantly by Monday.

And, starting this week Memphis, firefighters and police officers will also begin receiving the vaccine.

“Lead by example, but also educate,” said Strickland.

Strickland says it’s not a requirement for employees in either of those agencies to get the vaccine and says they’ve all been provided educational resources so they can make their decision.

Strickland has also said he will get vaccinated when it’s his turn and feels it’s encouraging to see health and political leaders get the vaccine as well.

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