Health department confirms 3rd COVID-19 variant in Shelby County

South African variant latest detected

Shelby County moving to phase 1b of vaccinations

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Officials with the Shelby County Health Department confirmed a third COVID-19 variant in the Mid-South.

Speaking at the Shelby County Commission meeting Monday, Dr. Bruce Randolph confirms one case of the South African COVID-19 variant in Shelby County. Randolph says the individual traveled to Colorado and began to feel ill upon their return.

South African Variant found in Shelby County

Randolph says there does not appear to be community transmission of the variant.

According to the CDC, the South African variant does not appear to have any impact on the severity of the virus.

Previously, the health department reported cases of the U.K. and Brazilian variants.

SCHD reported 113 new COVID-19 cases Monday and one more death. As of Monday morning, the county had 1,527 active cases in the county. Shelby County has had 86,978 cases since the start of the pandemic last year, and 1,460 people have died.

Nearly 84,000 of the county’s cases are now considered inactive or recovered.

The county’s COVID-19 testing slowed recently after three winter storms shut down health department locations and health clinics off and on for more than a week. This update is based on results from just more than 1,000 tests between Sunday and Monday.

Shelby County COVID-19 specimen collection date as of Feb. 21, 2021
Shelby County COVID-19 specimen collection date as of Feb. 21, 2021 (Source: SCHD)

COVID-19 test positivity rate continues its decline. As of Feb. 21, the weekly test positivity rate was 6.4%. The rate peaked six weeks ago at 17.8%.

Shelby County COVID-19 test positivity rate by week as of Feb. 21, 2021
Shelby County COVID-19 test positivity rate by week as of Feb. 21, 2021 (Source: SCHD)

As of Monday, the health department is monitoring COVID-19 clusters at more than two dozen long-term care facilities, some of which have had multiple outbreaks.

Shelby County LTC outbreaks Feb. 22, 2021
Shelby County LTC outbreaks Feb. 22, 2021 (Source: SCHD)

According to the health department, more than 105,000 COVID-19 vaccine doses have been distributed in the county with about 75,000 people receiving at least one dose.

Vaccinations eligibility opened Monday for people in phase 1b, including education staff and people 65 and older. Vaccinations continue for people in the 1a1 and 1a2 groups as well. Click here to read who is eligible, how to sign up and where to get your vaccine. Supplies remain limited.

Call 901-222-SHOT (7468) for more information.

The Tennessee Department of Health reported 20 more deaths and 952 new cases Monday.

TDH reports more than 10 percent of the state’s population has received at least one dose of the vaccine. See the Tennessee COVID-19 Vaccination dashboard for more data.

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