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'Moving in the right direction': Shelby County health experts believe worst of latest COVID omicron surge is behind us

Doctors said the assessment is based on encouraging trends the past two weeks across the board in COVID data in Shelby County.

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Memphis area doctors and health experts said on Monday they're encouraged in how we've slowed the spread and believe we're now on the back end of the omicron-led surge in recent weeks.

Data across the board points to Shelby County being on the downside of the holiday uptick, but doctors said it's also not time to let up.

"I would say that I am cautiously optimistic," Methodist South Chief Operating Officer Dr. Amit Prasad said.

That's the mood felt by Dr. Prasad, as signs point to a slower COVID spread locally, compared to new daily case records set repeatedly earlier this month.

"Continuing to see the trends in this direction will be good news for everybody," Dr. Prasad added.

Monday marked the first time in three weeks new daily reported cases dropped below 1000.

Active cases are also down 38% in the past two weeks and area COVID hospitalizations are leveling week to week.

"If you are vaccinated and especially if you are boosted, you may get some symptoms but usually those are mild and do not require you to be in the hospital," Dr. Prasad said.

Pediatric COVID patients at Le Bonheur Children's Hospital also fell below 20 on Monday for the first time in recent days and Shelby County's 7-day new case average also dropped 14 straight days.

Dr. Prasad's message to the Memphis area still remained the same: keep up the precautions, so the COVID numbers will continue to go down.

"It is extremely good news to see these numbers, they are all in the positive direction, however, we cannot let our guard down. We have to still be careful, it is still a pandemic," Dr. Prasad said.

During the Shelby County Commission meeting on Monday, Shelby County Health Director Dr. Michelle Taylor said the community is moving in the right direction but also hoped the county boosts its overall booster shot percentage, which is currently just 18%.

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