Mayor Strickland pleads with people to get vaccinated as cases surge

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Mayor Jim Strickland is pleading with people to get vaccinated as COVID-19 cases in Shelby County surge, accounting for at least 99 deaths this month as compared to 41 in July.

The mayor posted on social media Wednesday morning asking people to get the shot at the Pipkin Building, which is open Wednesday through Saturday every week and no appointment is needed.

WREG only saw a small number of people at the Pipkin Building Wednesday, including Alfred Flowers who brought his 13-year-old daughter to get vaccinated.

“She’s in school and it’s going up in the schools,” Flowers said.

While the Pipkin Building was quiet, health officials say the numbers county-wide are encouraging. Roughly 57,000 people have gotten vaccinated this month which is more than double July’s total. Dr. Manoj Jain, an infectious disease expert, says that’s good but there’s still a long way to go.

“I’m at the hospital … I’m seeing many deaths every day,” Dr. Jain said. “I’m talking about people in their 20s, 30s, 40s. Those who can be vaccinated but are choosing not to get vaccinated because they don’t think they’re at any risk but they are.”

As cases rise, the number of people getting tested is also skyrocketing. The health department says some sites have gone from 40 tests a day to hundreds just in the last few weeks.

Dr. Jain says it’s important for people to get tested if they aren’t feeling well so they can find out if they’re positive and quarantine as needed.

“Once you are positive you have a way of transmitting,” Dr. Jain said. “You are transmitting the virus to others and you want to avoid that as much as possible.”

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