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COVID Cases on the Rise in Memphis (Again)

As the  Delta variant becomes dominant across the US, including in Memphis and the Mid-South, COVID-19 cases are again on the rise. In Shelby County, the 7-day rolling average of daily new cases was 94 on July 9 and our reproductive rate is now 1.26, the highest it has been since the early days of the pandemic. 

Health officials are predicting over 3,100 cases within the next 30 days. Last week they were only predicting approximately 740 cases.

The good news is that the COVID vaccines remain protective against serious illness and death. The troublesome news is that only 34.7% of Shelby County residents are vaccinated. Shelby County has been named by Georgetown University's US COVID-19 Vaccine Tracking project as one of 5 clusters in the US that could put the entire country at risk of returning to 2020 if we become a breeding ground for new variants.

Approximately 90% of the new Shelby County cases are occurring in non-vaccinated residents. Therefore, your most vulnerable employees are your unvaccinated employees. If you have decided to help educate employees on the benefits of the vaccine and encourage them to be vaccinated, now is the time to double down on your efforts.

Evidence from the Kaiser Family Foundation's COIVD-19 Vaccine Monitor and the Health Action Alliance is shedding light on how employers can effectively increase adoptionClick here for the full article which provides you with specific strategies you can deploy. Highlights of the major findings include: 

  • Employer encouragement and paid time off to get vaccines are working!
  • Mandates are unpopular but could drive adoption rates higher. Of the unvaccinated, 42% of employees say they would get vaccinated if their employer required it, but 50% said they would leave their job.
  • Optimism about the "end of the pandemic" is slowing vaccinations. For example, in Memphis only 764 vaccinations were given the week ending July 10, compared to 1,049 the week before.
  • Vaccine safety remains a primary concern. FDA approval could help address this issue.
  • Incentives that increase ACCESS to vaccines may increase rates and reduce disparities. Incentives could include providing childcare while getting vaccines and offering on-site vaccines.
Posted by Cristie Travis at 11:27 AM

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