SCHD says significant COVID-19 case increases could lead to new round of temporary business closures

SCHD director says more closures are likely as COVID-19 cases increase

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - More business closures are likely. That’s the word from the Shelby County Health Department Wednesday, as COVID-19 numbers continue to climb in the Mid-South.

Shelby County Health Department Director Alisa Haushalter told Shelby County commissioners during committee meetings Wednesday that it appears the time has come for the county to activate temporary closures outlined in a health department guidance document earlier this summer.

Health dept. closely watching uptick in COVID-19 data

“The numbers are going up significantly,” she said. “In the document, it clearly says if our numbers reach the place that they are now we would have to look to make some closures. I want to be frank about that. That would be likely for a limited time to help contain the virus.”

Haushalter said county officials are looking into a containment strategy as we head into the holiday season. She said she anticipates significant hospital admissions leading up to December.

Tuesday, 835 new cases of COVID-19 were reported, the largest one-day increase thus far in the pandemic.

The first setback level in the document calls for the possible closure of limited-service restaurants, restrictions on full service restaurants, restrictions on sports-related events, and a curfew.

Health dept. closely watching uptick in COVID-19 data

“We have reached the place where we will need to implement additional measures for containment purposes,” she said.

Baptist infectious disease specialist Dr. Steve Threlkeld said transmission now is much more significant than when initial restrictions were implemented this spring. Fatigue of the pandemic makes the situation more dangerous, he said.

“It’s the hardest of questions, I think, is how much we need to restrict ourselves and our businesses and so forth. Because, there is damage to be had in all of those things. Make no mistake, we are moving into uncharted territory even for this pandemic. And that is very frightening,” he said.

Haushalter said she will meet with municipal mayors Thursday morning. An official announcement on a new set of restrictions could come by Friday.

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