Coronavirus: Shelby County adds more than 1,100 new cases

By , Daily Memphian Updated: December 17, 2020 11:25 AM CT | Published: December 17, 2020 11:25 AM CT

For the first time in the pandemic, the Shelby County Health Department reported more than 1,000 new coronavirus cases in a daily update on Thursday, Dec. 17.

Coronavirus hospitalizations also reached a new high in Memphis area hospitals late Wednesday, according to Tennessee’s Healthcare Resource Tracking System.

The Health Department reported 1,163 new COVID-19 cases and four more coronavirus-related deaths in its daily update Thursday morning.

That’s the highest daily increase to date, and continues a concerning surge since the Thanksgiving holiday. Five of the six highest daily increases were reported in the past week.

The 1,163 coronavirus cases reported Thursday came from 8,726 test results, yielding an 13.3% positivity rate. Test results, however, are not reflective of the previous 24-hour period and include tests over multiple days.

Since March, the Health Department has reported 58,762 total coronavirus cases and 760 deaths, classifying 51,958 cases as inactive/recovered.

Shelby County is averaging nearly six COVID-19 deaths a day in the past week. The seven-day average of new cases is 815, the highest stretch by far since the first case was reported in March.

The Health Department also reported its highest active case count to date as for the first time there are more than 6,000 active cases countywide. Active cases in Shelby County stand at 6,044, an increase from the 5,512 reported Wednesday.

Since March, a total of 757,582 coronavirus tests have been performed in Shelby County, yielding an 9% positivity rate.

There were 551 COVID-19 patients in Memphis area hospitals as of 5 p.m. Wednesday, according to Tennessee’s Healthcare Resource Tracking System. That’s the highest number reported at any point in the pandemic. 

Of the 551 people hospitalized, 387 are in acute care beds, with 164 in intensive care unit beds.

Hospital capacity for acute care beds is at 95% use, and ICU beds are at 97% occupancy.

Those who are COVID-positive or suspected of having the virus represent 20% of acute care patients and 40% of ICU patients.


Shelby County Health Department coronavirus coronavirus cases Tennessee Healthcare Resource Tracking System hospital capacity
Omer Yusuf

Omer Yusuf

Omer Yusuf covers Bartlett and North Memphis neighborhoods for The Daily Memphian. He also analyzes COVID-19 data each week. Omer is a former Jackson Sun reporter and University of Memphis graduate.


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