Shelby County to remain in phase 2 of reopening plan after surge in cases

Shelby County staying in phase 2 of reopening

SHELBY COUNTY, Tenn. (WMC) - Shelby County Health Director Alisa Haushalter addressed commissioners Monday about the record-breaking number of COVID-19 cases over the weekend -- 358 new cases were reported just on Saturday.

“So while it was alarming when reported, it’s been consistent with what we’ve had thus far,” said Haushalter.

Haushalter says that sudden spike is deceiving.

She points to significant increased testing.

On June 15 alone there were 2,300 COVID-19 tests done in the county, that’s seven times higher than the average.

Haushalter also says there was a log jam with different labs causing a delay in reports.

While Shelby County Commissioner Tami Sawyer suggests a look into moving the county back to phase one or modifying phase two, Haushalter doesn’t see that move as being immediately necessary.

“We will remain in phase 2,” said Haushalter. “We will continue to access data on a regular basis and make the decision where we may need more stricter policies.”

But Sawyer says she’s still concerned about the steady increase of cases and positivity rate.

“Even though we know the almost 400 that came this weekend is not fully a one day total, I’m also concerned because even today we still had more than what’s been our average number,” said Sawyer.

Approximately 210 COVID-19 cases were reported Monday.

Still, Haushalter says a mass marketing campaign would be a better suggestion to get people to wear masks and help lower the COVID-19 numbers.

Like the “Mask Up and Live Memphis” campaign launched Monday which looks to distribute 20,000 masks to the public and encourage face coverings while in public.

Haushalter says after the county delayed moving into phase three twice, surveys revealed an increase in mask usage.

“I think it’s going to take all 13 commissioners to be somewhat of a symbol for people to wear their mask and comply,” said Shelby County Commission Chair Mark Billingsley.

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