Shelby County’s case rate stabilizes as positive rate declines

By , Daily Memphian Updated: May 28, 2020 6:25 AM CT | Published: May 27, 2020 12:51 PM CT

Shelby County’s COVID-19 case rate remained stable over the past month as testing numbers rose and the rate of positive cases continued a steady decline, according to Shelby County Health Department data.

One concerning note, however, is the county reported its highest single-day death total – eight – on Wednesday, May 27, since the virus was tracked in early March.


Shelby County reports 50 new cases, 8 deaths


From May 14 to Wednesday, Shelby County reported an estimated 76 new coronavirus cases a day with 1,525 tests results daily. The positivity rate of those tests was 4.9%.

The 1,525 tests a day over that two-week span is the highest since tracing of the pandemic began locally in March. While not near the goal of 2,400 tests a day set by the county, elected and health officials say more than enough testing capacity is available, and are urging more people to get tested for the virus.


Coronavirus live blog, May 27: Shelby County reports 50 new cases, 8 deaths


In the prior two weeks from April 30 to May 13, Shelby County confirmed about 70 new cases a day with 1,214 tests reported each day. That equates to 5.8% of positive cases.

Unsurprisingly, the latest data contributed to the overall positivity rate declining from 8.8% on April 30 to 6.8% as of Wednesday – a 2% decrease. Health officials want to the coronavirus positive rate below 10%.

While the positivity rate declining is likely an encouraging sign, it should be noted the testing pool of patients widened during this period to include people with mild coronavirus symptoms and asymptomatic essential workers.

 While the positivity rate declining is likely an encouraging sign, it should be noted the testing pool of patients widened during this period to include people with mild coronavirus symptoms and asymptomatic essential workers. 

Memphis and Shelby County are in the second week of its Phase 2 Back to Business plan. To continue the reopening process, public health and elected officials want at least a 21-day downward trend or leveling in new cases, stable hospitalization numbers, increased testing capacity and contact tracing. 

No decisions on moving into Phase 3 will occur before June 8, said Dr. Alisa Haushalter, Shelby County Health Department director.

Shelby County public health and elected officials will further address the latest numbers and trends at a press briefing Thursday afternoon.

Shelby County confirmed 4,581 coronavirus cases, 102 deaths and 3,125 recoveries as of Wednesday, according to health department data. The number of active cases stands at 1,354. A total of 67,789 tests were conducted with a positivity rate of 6.8%.


The eight new deaths reported are the highest in a single day. Of the 102 deaths, 40 are attributed to outbreaks at nursing homes. The median death age is 76 with an age range from 27 to 99.

An estimated 148 COVID-19 patients are in local Memphis hospitals, according to Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland’s daily update Tuesday. Of those 148 patients, 56 are in the intensive care unit.

 The eight new deaths reported May 27 are the highest in a single day. Of the 102 deaths, 40 are attributed to outbreaks at nursing homes. The median death age is 76 with an age range from 27 to 99.

Two weeks ago, the number of patients was 118, but fluctuates on a day-to-day basis.

An alternate care facility, at The Commercial Appeal’s former home at 495 Union Ave., officials say will alleviate concerns about hospital capacity. The new facility is expected to treat more than 400 COVID-19 patients if necessary.

Officials are encouraging citizens to social distance, wear facial coverings and wash their hands for at least 20 seconds or use hand sanitizer to slow the virus’s spread.

The state Health Department reports 20,965 confirmed coronavirus cases, 343 deaths and 13,344 recoveries as of Tuesday. A total of 403,504 COVID-19 tests were administered statewide.

Editor’s Note: The Daily Memphian is making our coronavirus coverage accessible to all readers — no subscription needed. Our journalists continue to work around the clock to provide you with the extensive coverage you need; if you can subscribe, please do

Topics

Shelby County Health Department Tennessee Department of Health COVID-19 testing
Omer Yusuf

Omer Yusuf

Omer Yusuf covers Binghampton, Frayser, North Memphis and Raleigh for The Daily Memphian. Omer previously covered county government. He is also a former reporter at The Jackson Sun and a University of Memphis graduate.


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