MEMPHIS, Tenn.– The Shelby County Health Department is urging people to be vigilant as the coronavirus pandemic rages on. The word of warning comes as the county sees dozens of new Omicron cases and another significant uptick in the Delta variant.

During Monday’s county commission meeting, Shelby County Health Department Director Dr. Michelle Taylor confirmed 31 cases of the Omicron variant, which has become the dominant strain nationwide.

“It is more contagious and the jury is still out about if it’s milder,” she said.

But the Delta variant is serious and Dr. Taylor said it’s still prominent in Shelby County, reporting the county’s seven day rolling average at 267 new cases per day which is up from 94 three weeks ago.

The health department is hoping to avoid a 5th surge and begging people to not become complacent with COVID protocols.

Shelby County Health Department Director Dr. Michelle Taylor wants people to think before celebrating this holiday season.

Shelby County Health Department Director Dr. Michelle Taylor wants people to think before celebrating this holiday season.

“We’ve been through an almost two-year marathon with COVID and people are tired, but we also know people want to be safe,” she said. “It’s really important that if you choose to gather that you try to do it as safely as possible.”

So, if you’re not feeling well, Dr. Taylor said get tested and continue to protect yourself by social distancing, washing your hands and masking up in indoor public spaces where vaccination status is unknown. But she said the best protection by far is still the vaccine and, if eligible, get your booster shot.

“It’s vitally important that they go on and get boosted because studies are showing their vaccine immunity may be waning at the 6 to 8 month mark,” she said.

Dr. Taylor said with less than 15% of the county’s eligible population vaccinated and boosted and with cases increasing, a vaccination could be the best gift you get this Christmas.

You can find COVID testing sites here and vaccine clinics in Shelby County here.