MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Shelby County health experts said Tuesday, troubling trends continue locally for COVID-19. That includes a growing positivity rate and the number of hospital and ICU beds in use.
That also includes recent case clusters, stemming from events such as cookouts and family gatherings.
"It's the gathering which leads to the close contact, which leads to the infection," Shelby County Health Officer Dr. Bruce Randolph said.
That's why the Shelby County COVID-19 Joint Task Force wants the public to be especially safe and alert this upcoming holiday weekend.
They reminded the public to wear a mask and keep your social distance, wash your hands, disinfect surfaces constantly, and avoid group gatherings if you're in a vulnerable health population.
"We are expecting increases as a result of the 4th of July holiday, but I'm hoping that you prove us wrong," Dr. Randolph said.
Tuesday, other health experts shined a light on the impact of COVID-19 among Shelby County's African-American and Hispanic communities, which make up more than three-quarters of all cases to date.
Doctors said those groups are at an enhanced risk for infection because of more multi-generational households, a higher number of essential workers, and greater likelihood of uninsured or under-insured concerns.
"COVID-19 remains a serious issue," Dr. LaTonya Washington said.
Shelby County Mayor Lee Harris also said Tuesday talks continue with area school district leaders in the hopes they can re-open on schedule in August.
"For the most part, those representatives told us that all things were a go," Mayor Harris said.
Mayor Harris said the talks include establishing certain protocols.
"There are ways to open these schools safely. There are ways to get on the path to recovery safely, so that is what we are in constant discussions about - how do you organize your bus and transportation system for the schools safely? How do you make sure you are screening individuals as they enter the schools and do that safely?" Mayor Harris said. "All of those things are under discussion."