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New health directive to be released Wednesday in Shelby County

Updated: May. 11, 2021 at 11:59 PM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Shelby County officials are not giving any official language from the next health directive until it’s released Wednesday.

But all indications point to business restrictions and mask mandates moving from mandatory to highly recommended.

“That last health directive promised a shift in approaches from a mandatory approach to a shift to more personal responsibility,” said Mayor Lee Harris.

Shelby County health leaders say we have avoided a surge in cases for now. It’s in large part thanks to vaccines. More than 330,000 people in Shelby County have been vaccinated.

The average COVID-19 case count over the past seven days is less than 130 a day, fewer than where we were when the last health directive was released. Stability that bodes well for those looking to see mandates turn to recommendations. Harris quoted the current health directive Tuesday, indicating where we go from here.

“Please note if case numbers and other indicators remain stable over the next 30 days, the next health directive which will be issued in May 2021, will shift from a mandatory approach to a recommendation approach,” said Harris.

That would mean current mandates like social distancing, restaurant party sizes, and masks would only be recommended in the next health directive.

The UK strain of COVID-19 remains the most transmissible variant in Shelby County. It’s that strain that has caused fourth waves in cases across the country.

“The fact that 330,000 plus people have been vaccinated in the community is what is holding our numbers steady. With these highly transmissible viruses, without that, we’d be well into a surge at this point,” said David Sweat, the Shelby County Health Department deputy director.

Shelby County is still just below half way to its herd immunity goal.

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