MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - The nearly 300 positive cases of COVID-19 reported by the Shelby County Health Department on Thursday is the highest daily total in more than a month’s time. Public health officials said they’ll be watching the numbers closely over the next few days.
“We’ve come a long way over six months. But as we anticipated, we are seeing an increase in the number of cases that we are associating with the Labor Day weekend,” said Alisa Haushalter, Shelby County Health Department Director.
The health department reported 293 new cases of COVID-19 Thursday.
Case counts have steadily ticked up this week as the 14-day incubation period which includes the Labor Day holiday comes to a close.
“It is going to be critical that we strive to contain increased transmission at this point,” she said.
Haushalter said fast notification of positive tests is imperative so that the department can move quickly to isolate cases and quarantine their close contacts.
After the 4th of July holiday, the county hit record highs in the pandemic with multiple days of more than 400 new cases daily.
Haushalter said she is hopeful that won’t happen again because lab turnaround time is down to 1-3 days, and the health department has added 141 positions in the fight against the virus.
“What I’m concerned about is the increase in the number of cases. We were really in the low 100s, and now we are back to 300 today. That is related to Labor Day,” she said. “With all of that, my thoughts are that we don’t get to the place we were in July.”
Earlier in this week the department had talked about potentially easing some restrictions in the coming days with respect to the health directive, and more specifically those aimed at limited service restaurants which have been closed since July.
With the case uptick, there will be no formal announcement to changes with the directive until at least Monday, officials noted.