The University of Tennessee Health Science Center is tracking the COVID-19 pandemic in Shelby County, the Memphis Metropolitan Area, and Tennessee.
The statistical analyses are intended for use by the general public, as well as county and city government, law enforcement, and health care leaders to better understand the virus locally and to plan for the future. They are now available at https://uthsc.edu/coronavirus/local-data/.
The figures and maps show how widespread the virus is in the Memphis Metropolitan Area, whether new infections have changed since reopening, how many COVID-19 patients are in hospitals, and where testing is done and with what results. Two interactive maps show how the infection has spread over time. Most of the information will be updated daily.
“We are grateful for a close cooperation with the City of Memphis/Shelby County Joint Task Force Data Subcommittee that makes Shelby County data available to us,” said Fridtjof Thomas, PhD, biostatistician and an associate professor in the Department of Preventive Medicine in the UTHSC College of Medicine. Dr. Thomas is leading this initiative with Karen Johnson, MD, MPH, College of Medicine Endowed Professor in Women’s Health and chair of the UTHSC Department of Preventive Medicine.
“We need informed citizens who understand what is going on and how their behavior has changed and will change how the virus affects us,” Dr. Johnson said.
“The College of Medicine has been tracking the pandemic since its beginning to help the community as a whole and especially our hospitals to get prepared,” Dr. Thomas said. “Some of the figures and analyses have been shared daily with the City of Memphis/Shelby County Joint Task Force since early
The UTHSC data focuses primarily on the Memphis Metropolitan Area, Dr. Thomas said. “We show the most-relevant data for our area and add analytic approaches that help to highlight what the data tells us,” he explained. “The University of Tennessee Health Science Center focuses on health disparities in our community, and the information we now provide is also targeting the existing access and information disparities. We need a well-informed public that understands where we are in this pandemic and how the future will look depending on the actions we choose.”
Dr. Thomas said this information is available to local officials, and the UTHSC team is in communication with the City of Memphis and the Shelby County government. “The analyses that we provide are one part in the puzzle that decision makers need to be aware of,” he said. “Our strength is to provide insight into what the data tells us. The analyses we provide allow the general public and decision makers to adapt to the situation as it develops. There are many things we have to understand better about COVID-19, but there is also a lot we do know about pandemic virus outbreaks. The basic driving forces are understood, and we can monitor them.”