MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - The Shelby County Health Department said Tuesday they’re looking at easing some restrictions in their latest health directive, but they want to make sure there isn’t a large uptick in virus cases tied to Labor Day first.
“This is the crucial week as far as evaluating the impact of Labor Day,” David Sweat, Deputy Director of the Shelby County Health Department said. “This would be the week that we would begin to see an increase, if an increase was going to occur.”
The Shelby County Health Department reported 213 new cases of the virus Tuesday, a number that sparked the eye of public health officials, as the last 7-day daily average has been 121 cases.
The next week will conclude the 14-day incubation cycle tied to Labor Day weekend.
The department said hospitalizations ticked up Sunday after being on a downward trend. Transmission surged in the county after the July 4 holiday, leaving public health officials on alert.
“By Friday, we’ll know more whether any of these upticks that we saw Sunday and Monday were just a blip on the radar, and then the downward trend resumes. Or, they were the beginning of some new trend,” Sweat said.
Officials said if the data allows they will lift some restrictions in their latest health directive, which will be issued in the coming days.
The county’s health officer Dr. Bruce Randolph says limited-service restaurants may be allowed to re-open with conditions. Those establishments were closed by the health department order in July.
“I just want to tell owners I hear you. I understand the sacrifice you’ve made, and we will address that in some form or fashion. But understand things will not go back to the way they were prior to closure,” Randolph said.
The health department said Tuesday it’s likely all restaurants, whether they are limited-service restaurants or full-service restaurants, will be held to the same safety measures. That includes the bar area being closed, and alcohol only served to those seated at a table, with food.