New health directive this week expected to loosen restrictions in Shelby County

New health directive this week expected to loosen restrictions in Shelby County

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - The Shelby County Health Department reported 113 new cases of COVID-19 Sunday along with seven more deaths.

The total number of confirmed cases now stands at 31,953. The health department says 30,185 patients with COVID-19 have recovered.

Officials say the numbers are trending in the right direction, and they could loosen some restrictions when a new health directive is issued in the early part of this week.

It’s been seven months since the first case of COVID-19 was announced in Shelby County and Shelby County Health Department Director Dr. Alisa Haushalter says we’ve come a long way.

“We’re staying very steady at our day-to-day increases, and we’re continuing to trend downward,” Haushalter said.

While there is more work to be done, health department leaders say they expect to loosen more restrictions this week.

“What we want to do is to make sure that we are continuing to be laser-focused on the areas of where and when transmission is occurring,” Haushalter said.

Among the likely changes: health officials may allow more people to attend indoor and outdoor events.

Right now, spectators have to maintain 12 feet of distance, which limits the number of people who can attend.

Another possible change: allowing restaurants to stay open later.

Right now, restaurants have to close at 10 p.m. and all patrons must leave by 10:30 p.m.

The expected changes come on the heels of Governor Bill Lee lifting all business restrictions in rural Tennessee counties, and as the University of Memphis gets ready to welcome back thousands of students to campus this week.

But even as the numbers improve and restrictions are loosened, Shelby County Health Department Officer Dr. Bruce Randolph says COVID-19 is still out there and people must make their own best judgment.

“Because things are opening up, doesn’t necessarily mean everyone should participate, visit or go,” Randolph said. “You need to assess your own personal risk factors.”

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