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Memphis News & Weather | Memphis, TN | WATN - localmemphis.com

Shelby County health experts call COVID-19 trends 'problematic', urge you to do your part

Wednesday's numbers showed highest one-day positivity rate in months, record number of COVID-19 patients in ICU beds.

MEMPHIS, Tennessee — "It's exponential growth, so we should be expecting things to get worse until we start to something differently in the community," Dr. Jeff Warren with the Shelby County COVID-19 Joint Task Force said.

In Shelby County, the troubling trends continue with COVID-19. Dr. Warren sees the scope of the pandemic first hand at this Memphis medical clinic.

"I've been dealing with more COVID in my office the last two weeks than I have since March," Dr. Warren said.

Wednesday, Shelby County marked its highest one-day positivity rate (18%) since April 18th, along with a record number of COVID-19 patients in area hospital ICU beds. Total COVID-19 cases more than doubled in the past four weeks.

"Each of those numbers and trends tells us something different, but I don't see many of them that are great now," Dr. Steve Threlkeld with Baptist Memorial Hospital said.

Dr. Threlkeld said the surging positivity rate in recent weeks prove many people are unknowingly COVID-19 positive, spreading it to others, and worsening the situation.

"You are not only missing that person, you are missing the one or two people that they are going to give it to, and then you might miss the three people that that person gives it to. So these things climb exponentially," Dr. Threlkeld.

If there is a silver lining. Dr. Threlkeld said progress continues on a possible COVID-19 vaccine, though that is still likely months away from being available to the broader public.

"There are 20 to 30 vaccines out there right now in clinical trials, so I think the odds are very good that we will find one or two of them that will do the job," Dr. Threlkeld said.

Thursday, health experts will meet with mayors across Shelby County to discuss adding new tripwires - specific data milestones that would trigger restrictions or closures at specific types of businesses, as well as specific set numbers that would allow re-openings.

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