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New concern as COVID-19 Delta variant cases & hospitalizations rise in Shelby County & Mississippi

MS State Health Officer recommends those 65 or older or with serious pre-existing conditions avoid indoor mass gatherings for a few weeks, even if vaccinated.

MEMPHIS, Tennessee — "We are seeing a pretty alarming increase in the number of cases, hospitalizations, and outbreaks across the state," Mississippi State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs said Friday afternoon.

With those troubling trends, Friday, those with the Mississippi Department of Health recommended anyone 65 or older, or anyone with a serious underlying medical condition, avoid mass indoor gatherings the next few weeks, even if you're vaccinated.

"You may ask, why are we doing that?" Dr. Dobbs said. "Well, we have a lot of COVID circulating again unfortunately and it is pretty much all Delta. We know it's more contagious. It may have an increased mortality effect as well."

MSDH used the update to also remind Mississippians of the importance of vaccinations.

Between June 3 and July 1, 95% of the Magnolia State's COVID cases, 90% of hospitalizations, and 89% of deaths were those not vaccinated.

In Shelby County, medical experts are also keeping a close eye as the Delta variant spreads.

Friday marked the highest one-day total of new reported cases - 142 - since May 20th. The Shelby County Health Department also reported 87 confirmed Delta variant cases and at least 29 other suspected cases.

About one in ten of those Delta cases - eight - were vaccinated, including two above the age of 65 who were hospitalized.

"There is no question that a much more contagious variant of virus has now hit town and it is more aggressively seeking out those, particularly for those, not protected by the vaccine," Dr. Stephen Threlkeld with Baptist Memorial Hospital said.

"I think the recent trends tell us basically we still have a long way to go in this marathon against COVID," Dr. Morgan Jones with Methodist Hospital added.

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