TDH: 1,631 new COVID-19 cases across Tennessee

Experts warn COVID variants could lead to ‘rapid rise’ in cases

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - The Tennessee Department of Health reported 1,631 new COVID-19 cases Wednesday with 68 new deaths. As of Wednesday morning, the state had 2,197 new active cases statewide. Tennessee has had 768,946 cases since the start of the pandemic last year, and 11,266 people have died.

Nearly 743,254 of the state cases are now considered inactive or recovered.

The Shelby County Health Department reported 141 new COVID-19 cases Wednesday with zero new deaths. As of Wednesday morning, the county had 1,381 active cases in the county. Shelby County has had 87,229 cases since the start of the pandemic last year, and 1,460 people have died.

Nearly 84,300 of the county’s cases are now considered inactive or recovered.

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.

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.

COVID-19 Cases by Specimen Collection
COVID-19 Cases by Specimen Collection (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%.

COVID-19 Positivity Rate in Shelby County
COVID-19 Positivity Rate in Shelby County (Source: SCHD)

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

Ongoing COVID-19 clusters at long-term care facilities in Shelby Co.
Ongoing COVID-19 clusters at long-term care facilities in Shelby Co. (Source: SCHD)

According to the health department, more than 110,500 COVID-19 vaccine doses have been distributed in the county with about 77,800 people receiving at least one dose.

Vaccination 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.

At this time, 178 inmates and 163 employees from the Shelby County Department of Corrections have tested positive for COVID-19, one death has also been reported. More than 280 detained and 350 employees have been reported from the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office Corrections.

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