Mayor Harris, county officials say Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital is ‘under strain,’ urge masks and vaccination

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Shelby County officials on Friday toured Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital in Memphis, where pediatric cases of COVID-19 have increased in recent days.

Friday, Le Bonheur doctors said there were 20 children in the hospital with COVID-19, seven of them critical. There had been four new admissions in the last 24 hours, though they were hopeful those numbers were beginning to plateau.

Hospital representatives said they were not in danger of running out of critical bed space. However, COVID cases and an unusually high number of respiratory illness cases were putting a strain on the hospital.

“This hospital, this community asset, is really under strain,” said Shelby County Mayor Lee Harris.

Harris spoke after the tour with Shelby County Health Director Dr. Michelle Taylor, and Shelby County Board of Commissioners Chairman Eddie Jones.

In order to reduce the stress on the hospital, Harris said we need everyone to slow spread of COVID by masking and getting the vaccine as soon as possible.

Wearing a mask could slow down spread of the virus by a week to 10 days, said Dr. Michelle Taylor, director of the Shelby County Health Department.

“Please go out and get vaccinated so we can get through this thing,” Taylor said.

Friday, the Shelby County Health Department reported 658 new COVID-19 cases for a total of 112,684 cases since the start of the pandemic.

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