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Shelby County health experts urge public to continue precautions as COVID-19 cases surge again

Monday marked second time in three days with more than 400 new reported cases, as well as other data metrics heading in wrong direction.

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Monday, Shelby County health experts warned some temporary restrictions may need to be brought back, if COVID-19 trends going in the wrong direction aren't slowed down soon.

"These numbers are extremely concerning," Dr. Steve Threlkeld with Baptist Memorial Hospital said.

Dr. Threlkeld - an infectious disease expert - laid out a warning call Monday to those in Shelby County, with COVID-19 cases surging in the last week or so.

"What we are seeing is transmission in the homes and small gatherings with people that they might think aren't as likely to transmit the virus to them but very symptomatic," Dr. Threlkeld said.

In Shelby County, the 7-day new case average is up 44% since last Monday and the 14-day new case average also increased by 37% in one week. 

The overall positivity rate rose each day since October 17th.

"We have to be grownups and protect each other because if we don't, needless people will die," Dr. Jeff Warren said.

Dr. Warren, a member of the Shelby County COVID-19 Joint Task Force, said his practice responded to an uptick of COVID-19 patients call in with positive test results in recent weeks. He also reported some patients with lingering COVID-19 effects, months after being diagnosed.

"I've had runners that, you know, can't run as far. They are short of breath after they've had it. I've had people in occupations that just can't think, their brains are sort of in a fog," Dr. Warren said. 

Dr. Threlkeld worried of more cases and hospitalizations between now and the end of the year, if the public doesn't commit to mask wearing, social distancing, and common sense.

"As we look towards the holidays, there's going to be a lot of shakeup, travel, movement, and that will be very much in the benefit of the virus," Dr. Threlkeld said.

The concerning COVID-19 numbers are also playing out at Baptist Memorial Hospital-Memphis, with 79 COVID-19 patients reported Monday. That's up from around 50 just two weeks ago. 

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