Shelby County surpasses 1,000 COVID-19 deaths

By , Daily Memphian Updated: January 08, 2021 2:51 PM CT | Published: January 08, 2021 11:16 AM CT

Shelby County has passed a grim milestone in the COVID-19 pandemic: 1,000 deaths due to coronavirus.

The number now stands at 1,003.

A day after the Shelby County Health Department reported 31 more deaths, with death dates ranging from Dec. 11 to Jan. 5, the agency reported 19 more deaths.

Those 19 newly reported deaths have death dates from Dec. 24 to Jan 5. 

Your coronavirus vaccine questions answered

During Thursday’s Memphis and Shelby County Joint COVID-19 Task Force briefing, Health Department deputy director David Sweat said that death reports tend to come in “pulses” as the medical examiner certifies deaths.

“We may find out about, for instance, yesterday, 31 deaths,” he said. “That doesn’t mean 31 people died yesterday. It means 31 new reports of death arrived. ... We just happened to get the final certification and report of death yesterday.”

Regarding vaccines, in today’s update, the Health Department said again that it was administering its last vaccine doses to long-term care facilities from the first allocation of vaccine it received from the state. The agency said it still did not know when it would receive additional vaccine and how much it would receive.

Yesterday, a Tennessee Department of Health spokesman said in a statement that vaccine distribution is based on population and that the state is providing vaccine as quickly as possible as it receives additional shipments.

COVID surge taxing contact tracing efforts of Health Dept.

“COVID-19 vaccine supplies remain limited at this time, and Tennessee, like other states, has experienced delays in receipt of vaccines from federal partners,” the statement continued. “Availability of vaccines varies by county, and counties may progress through COVID-19 vaccination phases at different times depending on supplies of COVID-19 vaccines and interest in receiving them.”

Shelby County’s updated vaccination schedule

The Shelby County Health Department also reported 898 new coronavirus cases on Friday, bringing the county’s reported total to 72,626, including 64,646 inactive cases (recoveries), 6,977 active cases and 1,003 deaths.

The 898 cases come from 6,027 tests, giving the day a positivity rate of 15%.

There were 614 COVID-positive patients in area hospital beds as of 5 p.m. Thursday, according to the Tennessee Healthcare Resource Tracking System.

According to the HRTS, 95% of area intensive care unit and 93% of area acute care beds were in use.

About 41% of patients in area ICU beds were COVID-positive (154) or suspected of having the coronavirus (6). About 23% of patients in area acute care beds were either COVID-positive (460) or suspected of having the coronavirus (61).

And 22 area ICU and 175 area acute care beds were available.

Bed capacity is calculated by subtracting beds occupied by patients, unstaffed beds and beds that are otherwise unavailable.

The capacity figures are inclusive of all hospital facilities in Shelby, Tipton and Lauderdale counties in Tennessee as well as facilities in Crittenden County, Arkansas, and DeSoto County, Mississippi.

The Tennessee Department of Health reports statewide coronavirus figures daily at 2 p.m.

As of yesterday, the agency reported 634,237 total cases, including 7,492 deaths, 3,351 current hospitalizations and 555,634 are inactive cases (recoveries).

About 5.8 million coronavirus tests have been performed in Tennessee.


coronavirus Shelby County Health Department Tennessee Department of Health Tennessee Healthcare Resource Tracking System
Elle Perry

Elle Perry

The Memphis native and two-time University of Memphis graduate has written for publications including The Memphis Business Journal, Memphis Flyer and High Ground News, and previously served as coordinator of The Teen Appeal.


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