MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) – COVID-19 cases locally in the Mid-South have increased dramatically for several weeks and health experts are once again starting to sound the alarm bells.
They say not enough people are vaccinated to prevent the spread of the virus and more people will die needlessly.
In Shelby County, the COVID-19 pandemic has worsened in recent weeks.
According to the Shelby County Department of Health, the number of new daily COVID-19 cases averaged 141 per day over the past week, up sharply.
The positivity rate reached 10% of all COVID-19 tests, the highest since January.
“We’re just allowing more than one open door,” said Dr. Steve Threlkeld, infectious disease expert at Baptist Memorial Healthcare. “We’re a little complacent, let’s face it. We are very tired of this.
Local demand for a COVID-19 vaccine has declined significantly since March.
Currently, 326,468 people are doubly vaccinated in Shelby County, with a total of 397,864 people having received at least one injection, or only 56.8% of the goal of 700,000 vaccinated.
Reluctance to vaccination leads to more cases and more deaths from COVID-19 according to Dr Threlkeld.
“We have the solution,” said Dr Threlkeld. “It’s very frustrating for those of us who are dealing with this not to see people taking it because the data is available. “
“We need to meet people where they are,” said Dominique Winfrey, Shelby County COVID-19 coordinator. “So we have to go to the communities where most people shop and hang out. “
On Saturday, members of the Shelby County COVID-19 Prevention Program interviewed a Latin-X community, trying to tackle the lingering problem of reluctance to vaccinate with vaccine information packets.
“Meet people where they are,” Winfrey said. “Allow them to take it home, to read it from the comfort of their sofa where they can make a decision for themselves with all the information in front of them, which is reliable and has been verified. “
Dr Threlkeld says continuing to disseminate factual information and data, as well as making the vaccine more accessible in local doctor’s offices, will hopefully help boost the number of vaccines and bring down the number of cases of COVID-19.
“We have the solution, the vaccine is extraordinarily effective,” said Dr Threlkeld.
Health experts believe the more infectious Delta variant is increasing the number of COVID-19 cases.
Doctors say they are also seeing more young people with serious illnesses in recent weeks.
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