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

"Sobering Day" | 1,163 new Shelby County COVID-19 cases in one day highlights need for precautions

City of Memphis Chief Operating Officer Doug McGowen said we have passed a "grim milestone" in the number of new cases.

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — For the first time in the pandemic, Shelby County reported more than 1,000 new coronavirus cases in just one day.

The exact number was 1,163. That is the big reason why Shelby County health officials are preparing to issue a new directive hoping to slow the spread of the disease.

"This is a sobering day. If the data just presented doesn't get folks attention, I don't know what will," said City of Memphis Chief Operating Officer Doug McGowen.

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McGowen said the numbers are clear our cases are rising and going up fast. McGowen said we have now past the grim milestone of more than 750 new cases a day, which is a marker for potentially putting in new restrictions.

Health leaders said the goal is to slow the virus down. At the current rate of transmission, for example, Thursday's 6,044 actively infectious cases will create an additional 7,138 cases 30 days from now.

"We really are in a place of exponential growth and it's critical we do everything we can to bring that growth under control," said Shelby County Health Director Dr. Alisa Haushalter.

They also point out the state has one of the fastest growing transmission rates in the country. According to a White House report, Tennessee has 639 cases per 100,000, while the national average is 451 per 100,000.

Haushalter said a new health directive will likely come early Monday. They are trying to determine what interventions will help over the Christmas holiday.

"I can't share specific details on what those things are that we are considering, but I do know that we have exponential growth, and that growth is occurring because are continuing to socialize together in their homes, in public places, in workplaces and so on. So anything we do is going to have to decrease the ability for people to come together and socialize," said Haushalter.

Officials also want to make a point of reminding those over 65 and people with health conditions should avoid indoor spaces, and people under 40 should assume they are infected and get tested.