Health Dept.: Holding festivals not prudent in 2020

By , Daily Memphian Updated: June 18, 2020 2:42 PM CT | Published: June 18, 2020 10:16 AM CT

Shelby County Health Department Director Alisa Haushalter said she is seeing increasing cases among the younger population. The majority of cases in Shelby County are under age 54, and most are ages 24-44. 

Regarding festivals such as Memphis in May, the Back to Business group agreed wasn’t “prudent” to hold any festivals for rest of 2020, and likely into 2021. The Back to Business group outlines detailed plans for special events don’t fit into the rest of the guidelines for other businesses.

“Ultimately the festival holder has to make a decision if they are going to meet the requirements that we set forth.” She also cited Southern Heritage Classic’s decision earlier this week to cancel.

Southern Heritage Classic canceled due to coronavirus

Haushalter asks the population to use social distancing measures, including masks.

“We are actually seeing a greater proportion of individuals now who don’t have links to others,” she said, which is called “community transmission.”

Eleven thousand contacts have been identified and 4,500 people are currently quarantined.

She said the coronavirus is having a significant impact on the African American community, with 60% of the deaths have been African American patients.

On testing at 201 Poplar, Haushalter said the health department is looking at testing individuals at booking and no live appearances in court but more to come on that. Surge testing is also occurring at the jail. 

City Council member Dr. Jeff Warren said the city has not done Phase 2 appropriately, which is why the Memphis did not go to Phase 3 of the Back to Business plan.

Warren said the rise in cases hurts the economy and wearing masks has been shown to be effective in reducing the spread of the virus. He cited studies showing mask use in Germany has reduced spread of virus there.

”In order to stop the spread of this virus and maintain businesses and allow them to remain open ... we all are responsible for our behavior,” Warren said. 

The ordinance was established to stop asymptomatic spread of coronavirus. He said wearing masks is done as a courtesy to protect others. 

He said businesses are the primary place where the mask rule will be enforced and could be used to promote the businesses. “If we act like nothings going on ... we will see a very strong spike and businesses will shut down again.”

Warren said participants in local protests have exhibited good mask usage. He said Alisa Haushalter told the Shelby County Commission Wednesday that she has seen no spikes in virus locally that could be attributed to the protests locally.

In something of a drop from the past 10 days, the area’s new coronavirus cases fell to 76 today. Unfortunately, that number came with five additional deaths since the previous data was reported. 

Doctors here waiting for proof of dexamethasone power

Daily testing figures came in at 1,153, giving the area an overall total positivity rate of 7%. The daily positivity rate was a bit lower than that, at just about 6.6%. 

The Tennessee Department of Health reports statewide figures at 2 p.m. daily.

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