Holiday weekend raises concerns over COVID-19 in the Mid-South

Holiday weekend raises concerns over COVID-19 in the Mid-South

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Experts say this Labor Day weekend could be a turning point in the fight against COVID-19 again the Mid-South.

Recent holiday weekends have been a problem.

“All of our big spikes have occurred after Easter, Mother’s Day, Memorial Day, Fourth of July, now we’re heading into Labor Day,” said Dr. Jeff Warren, Shelby County COVID-19 Task Force.

Data shows in the weeks following Memorial Day weekend at the end of May, the testing positivity rate jumped sharply from 5.6 percent to 9.1 percent. Case numbers continued rising through July 4th weekend, leading to a record high testing positivity rate of 16.4 percent at the end of July.

“The spikes are coming by family members getting together,” said Warren.

Experts say the actions of the community this Labor Day weekend could lead to another spike, if they’re not careful.

“What we do this Labor Day is going to make a big difference about whether kids have the opportunity to go back to school later this year,” said Warren.

“The virus is still out there waiting for us. We have a whole lot of people still who are vulnerable to get infected,” said Dr. Steve Threlkeld, Infectious Disease Specialist at Baptist Memorial Health Care.

If you’re planning to be social for the Labor Day holiday, experts are urging everyone to be extra cautious so that the Mid-South’s ongoing downward trajectory of cases can continue.

“Smaller numbers are better, don’t be too close to each other, maintain some distance and try to make it outside if possible,” said Threlkeld.

“And treat family members just like you would someone that you didn’t know when it comes to COVID. If you’re going to be too close, even if your going to be outside, put a mask on,” said Warren.

Our current numbers are getting close to the benchmark necessary to open some limited service bars and restaurants.

Experts also say it will be more important than ever before to get a flu shot, to alleviate pressure on our local healthcare system.

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