MEMPHIS, Tenn. — It’s the kind of news you want to hear. Health officials say they are seeing a slight drop off in the number of COVID cases in Shelby County.
“We are cautiously optimistic that we are seeing a plateauing of the numbers, if not a drop in the numbers,” said Dr. Michelle Taylor with the Shelby County Health Department. “We know that hospitalizations have decreased. And we are also seeing a slight decrease across age groups as I showed earlier. But we also know we have a lot of work to do.”
But pediatric cases continue to be of concern, with 119 new cases reported Thursday. Eleven children ages 17 or younger are now in the hospital with COVID, with two of them on ventilators.
Only 35 percent of Shelby County children ages 12 to 17 have been vaccinated.
“We would like to see that percentage increase, because not only does the vaccine protect vaccinated children from serious illness, hospitalization and death, it also serves as a layer of protection for other children, including younger classmates and siblings who are not yet eligible for the vaccination,” said Taylor.
It’s why county leaders created a PSA targeting children, hoping to get the message to them and their parents that they can and should get vaccinated.
Students who helped with the campaign are also speaking out on the importance.
“I have taken the vaccine. I am a student who is around other teens each day, and I come home and am around other cousins who are unable to get the vaccine and other family members who I can put in harm’s way,” said 11th grader Shelby Williams, who is with the Shelby County Youth Council. “That’s why I am here advocating for people and especially youth to get the vaccine and encourage others to do so as well.”
The new public service announcement was co-written and created by youth and also features them. It was released on social media and other outlets Thursday.