MEMPHIS, Tenn. — We have a new, clearer age breakdown of the 170 confirmed coronavirus cases in Shelby County.
The Shelby County Health Director described the still growing daily numbers locally as “alarming” and proof strong social distancing requirements are needed.
Those with the health department said it would require two straight weeks for coronavirus cases to stay flat or go down before they’d be comfortable saying there was a peak locally.
"It's alarming to us and consistent with what we've seen in other communities,” Shelby County Health Director Dr. Alisa Haushalter said.
For more than a week - day after day - the number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Shelby County continues to rise.
“The data indicates to us that there is transmission occurring in the workplace,” Dr. Haushalter said.
Wednesday afternoon, Local 24 News nearly three quarters - 74% - of the coronavirus cases are those 60 or younger, with the other 26% of cases those 61 and older.
While some of those younger patients won’t show symptoms, medical experts said they still present other risks.
"The younger population may not be experiencing those outcomes at a high rate, but there is definitely diagnosis, there is definitely transmission occurring at younger age groups,” David Sweat, the Chief of Epidemiology at Shelby County Health Department said.
There’s another reason for vigilance, after the confirmation Wednesday morning that two Regional One health workers tested positive.
"If it's spreading in those populations, we are going to deplete our workforce,” Dr. Haushalter said.
That’s why Dr. Haushalter said it’s more important than ever to isolate from others and especially stay at home if you are feeling sick.
"It's having a significant impact on our community, but that impact is going to grow greater over time, so we really hope that people will take all the actions that they can to prevent transmission,” Dr. Haushalter said.
As of Tuesday night, all of Shelby County is under a safer at home order, which temporary closed non-essential businesses and temporarily banned any gatherings of 10 of more people.
As it stands now, those orders are expected to be in effect until April 7th.
Coronavirus in Context:
The symptoms of coronavirus are similar to the flu or a bad cold. Symptoms include a fever, cough and shortness of breath, according to the Centers for Disease Control.
Most healthy people will have mild symptoms. A study of more than 72,000 patients by the Centers for Disease Control in China showed 80-percent of the cases there were mild.
But infections can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and even death, according to the World Health Organization. Older people with underlying health conditions are most at risk.
The CDC believes symptoms may appear anywhere from two to 14 days after being exposed.
Lower your risk
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
- If you are 60 or over and have an underlying health condition such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes or respiratory illnesses like asthma or COPD, the World Health Organization advises you to try to avoid crowds or places where you might interact with people who are sick.