MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Shelby County health leaders say COVID-19 cases seem to be declining but say we can’t let up in the fight against the virus.

After months of seeing coronavirus cases on the rise and in the red, Shelby County Health Officer Dr. Bruce Randolph says we now appear to be on a downward trend.

“Today, the new cases are 294. This is down from 350 from this time last week and 423 from two weeks ago,” Randolph said.

The seven-day average of cases is now down to 237 a day compared to 302 last week and 399 two weeks ago.

“I believe the mask mandate for indoor settings has played a major role and people are getting vaccinated,” Randolph said.

City of Memphis Chief Operating Officer Doug McGowen says progress is also being made with fewer people in the hospital with COVID, but he says we still have a way to go.

“Yes, hospitalizations are down. They are still way too high. More than 100 people in the ICU. Two hundred and seventeen in acute care beds. That’s more than we desire to have,” McGowen said.

The City of Memphis and the health department are also preparing for vaccinations to soon be available for children 5 to 11 years old.

 “Parents will be interested in and be willing to have their children vaccinated for that additional protection,” Randolph said.

“That is a huge section of our population that we encourage folks to up on that opportunity to get vaccinated and that will get us to that percentage of getting closer to that 70 percent goal,” McGowen said.

As we approach the start of the fall and flu season, McGowen says people still need to get tested for COVID-19.

“This is the season we get into flu,” McGowen said. “This is the season people have allergies as move into the fall and the leaves start falling. I’ve said it before, you can’t assume your symptoms are seasonal allergies. You should go get tested.”

The Shelby County Health Department will resume onsite vaccinations for the Pfizer vaccine, with hopes of adding Moderna and Johnson and Johnson. Vaccinations will also get underway at Germantown Baptist Church on Friday and Tuesday of next week.