New York Times reports highest spike in new Shelby County Covid-19 cases since Jan.; health dept. disputes figure

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The New York Times reported that Shelby County just had its highest spike in new cases since January. 

The outlet reported 832 new cases for the county on Wednesday. Keep in mind that the average number of new daily cases was in the 20s just a few weeks ago.  

Reports indicate more people are also being hospitalized. The number of Covid patients being treated in Shelby County hospitals now stands at 173, a 69 percent increase over two weeks ago.  

The Shelby County Health Department, however, disputed the number reported by the Times and said it was not correct.

According to Tennessee’s COVID-19 county data snapshot, Shelby County reported 322 new cases on July 27. That would still be the largest one-day increase since early February.

A month ago, Baptist Memorial Hospital was treating 16 Covid patients and Wednesday morning they have 62.  

Dr. Stephen Threlkeld, the hospital’s leading infectious disease expert, said the Delta variant is spreading like wildfire among the unvaccinated. 

“I think this virus is so much more contagious that it is hunting you if you are not vaccinated purely and simply. We’ve said for a while now the odds of your not getting out of this without getting Covid-19 or a vaccination would be decreasing greatly with every passing week,” he said. “The vaccination is highly effective, and it is highly safe. Almost every case we see in the ICU now is someone who has been unvaccinated and they are younger.” 

The beds in the Intensive Care Unit at Baptist Hospital East and Downtown are at 95 percent capacity. The same goes for Methodist Hospital who say they are almost full as well.  

There are no available ICU beds at St. Francis Hospital.  

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