“The Surge” is coming. What does that mean?

From Mayor Jim Strickland

From the national news down to our local outlets, everyone is talking about “the surge.” But, what does it mean? 

My friend and fellow COVID-19 Task Force member, Dr. Jeff Warren (also Councilman Warren) uses a good analogy to describe the way the virus spreads and why social distancing is so important. It goes like this:

If you place one lily pad in a pond and that lily pad doubles every day for 30 days, what day is the pond fully covered by the lily pads? You may think day 15. It’s half way through the 30-day time period—wrong. Day 29 is when the pond is half full, and day 30 it’s completely covered.

That’s a very good way to look at the surge of those who may become ill. That analogy helps to demonstrate why I chose to institute the Safer at Home Executive Order and everything that goes along with it. Unlike lily pads growing on a pond, through social distancing we can drastically slow down the spread of the virus and reduce the number of us who get sick. We believe our social distancing will help slow the spread, but in the event it doesn’t, we have been working daily to make sure we are prepared as best we can.

The graph below shows the steady increase in cases as we approach our potential surge of people in need of a hospital in Memphis and Shelby County.

COVID cases in Shelby County by Report Received Date as of 4/01/2020

I mentioned the task force earlier. The Memphis/Shelby County COVID-19 Joint Task force is made up of both Memphis and Shelby County Government with participation from other Municipal Governments, Nonprofits and local hospitals.

The task force is currently looking at all available options (adding additional hospital beds, staffing, ventilators, and PPE) to be as prepared as we can be for the potential surge. Phase 1 of this was just announced by Governor Lee as he selected Gateway Shopping Center on Jackson Avenue as an alternative care buildout in Shelby County. We are continuing to work on Phases 2 and 3 should we need them. Speaking of the Governor, he also just announced that his Safer at Home order is now mandatory for Tennessee residents.

Read Full April 2, 2020 Update>>

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