The Mayor Lee Harris Summer Work Experience is providing opportunities to learn and have fun at the Shelby County Health Department and the Shelby County Finance Department. (Photo: Twitter)

The number of new COVID-19 cases in Memphis/Shelby County continue to remain low, but officials are being watchful for a possible rise in the number of the more contagious Delta variant cases, especially among the unvaccinated.

The Shelby County Health Department reported 26 new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday (June 23), 14 Tuesday (June 22), 31 Monday (June 21) and 38 Sunday (June 20).

Six new COVID-related deaths were reported Monday, according to the Health Department. 

“The average number of new cases per day continue to be less than 50 percent,” said Shelby County Health Department Medical Director Dr. Bruce Randolph. “The trajectory of the virus is still going in the right direction. Our active cases are decreasing, and the positivity rate of COVID-19 tests is less than 5 percent.”

Overall, 382,103 people have been fully vaccinated. The Health Department declared that Shelby County was more than 70 percent protected because of the combined number of individuals receiving the vaccination and the number of coronavirus survivors protected by the natural defense of antibodies in the blood.

COVID vaccinations average 1,144 per day, and the seven-day, rolling average of new COVID-19 cases is 40, according to Health Department statistics, 

“We are pleased with what the numbers are showing in Shelby County,” said Randolph. “The remaining vaccination centers are winding down, and most will probably be closed by the end of June. However, those who have not been vaccinated may do so through pharmacies offering the vaccine, a private physician’s office, and at some point, through the Health Department.”

Meanwhile, four more cases of Delta variant have been confirmed in Shelby County for a total of 18, as of Tuesday afternoon.

Officials said the new cases are not connected to other cases here.

Regarding contagiousness, the Delta variant (B.1.617.2) is thought to be more than 50 percent more contagious than the Alpha variant (B.1.1.7.). Because of that, scientists have said it could produce large numbers of serious cases, especially among those who have not been vaccinated.

Vaccines approved in the U.S. are effective against Delta variant. 

“We want to be sure that everyone continues to take personal responsibility for their own health,” said Randolph. “For those who have not been vaccinated, the level of risk and vulnerability continues to be much greater.”

Randolph continued, “Those individuals are encouraged to keep wearing a mask, observe social distancing in public and avoid indoor spaces that are poorly ventilated. But we are definitely encouraging everyone who has not done so to get the vaccine.”

Those who are 12 years of age and above may receive the vaccination. If anyone needs a ride to get to a vaccination center, call: 901-743-RIDE901, or 743-3901.

Those who are homebound and need the vaccination may call: 901-222-SHOT, or 222-7468.