Health official: Local athletic venues need to adhere to COVID-19 guidelines

By , Daily Memphian Updated: August 04, 2020 2:54 PM CT | Published: August 04, 2020 2:39 PM CT
<strong>Shelby County Health Department health officer Dr. Bruce Randolph (shown at a press briefing on April 1) said the health department cannot stop athletic events, but it has authority to ensure COVID-19 guidelines are implemented in venues where games are held. &ldquo;We still expect the facilities will adhere to safety measures outlined in the health directives,&rdquo; Randolph said Tuesday, Aug. 4.</strong> (Mark Weber/Daily Memphian file)

Shelby County Health Department health officer Dr. Bruce Randolph (shown at a press briefing on April 1) said the health department cannot stop athletic events, but it has authority to ensure COVID-19 guidelines are implemented in venues where games are held. “We still expect the facilities will adhere to safety measures outlined in the health directives,” Randolph said Tuesday, Aug. 4. (Mark Weber/Daily Memphian file)

While the Shelby County Health Department cannot stop athletic events, it has authority to ensure COVID-19 guidelines are implemented in venues where games are held, said Dr. Bruce Randolph, health department health officer.

Last week, Gov. Bill Lee issued Executive Order No. 55 allowing school districts to individually decide whether to resume sports and activities this fall. Most suburban school districts in Shelby County announced plans Monday to move forward with high school sports.

“We still expect the facilities will adhere to safety measures outlined in the health directives,” Randolph said during Tuesday’s noon press briefing. “If there are any players or students who happen to test positive, we will know that and certainly be involved in the isolation and quarantine process.”


Most suburban high schools moving ahead with sports


The University of Memphis football’s team 2020 conference schedule could also be announced this week following a meeting of American Athletic Conference presidents Wednesday, U of M President David M. Rudd said during the briefing.

High school sporting events, University of Memphis football and latest coronavirus data were among the topics at the Memphis and Shelby County COVID-19 joint task force briefing.

On Tuesday, the health department reported 207 new coronavirus cases with a daily positivity rate of 15.1%. Two new deaths were included in the report.

Overall, Shelby County reports 22,120 coronavirus cases, 286 deaths, and 16,799 recoveries from the virus, according to health department data. The number of active cases is 5,035, a decrease from the 5,319 reported Monday.

A total of 209,863 COVID-19 tests were administered in Shelby County with a 10.5% positivity rate. After consistently rising for two consecutive months, the local rate of positive cases has stabilized at 10.5% over the past three days.


Acute-care and intensive-care bed usage is at 90% utilization locally, according to hospital data released Monday afternoon.

Randolph said there are some initial positive indicators about recent data; one being the average of new cases being in the 200s. While the seven-day new-case average is 347, the average over the past three days is 220.

Another positive data point was the positivity rate. Daily rates in recent weeks regularly exceeded the 10% benchmark health officials wanted to avoid. However, the average daily rate for the past three days is about 10%.


Official: Shelby County seeing positive coronavirus indicators


Randolph expects the improvement in the positivity rate to continue following recent restrictions implemented including the countywide mask mandate.

“We contribute the decline that we’re seeing to the use of facial coverings and mask use as well as restriction of service-limited restaurants and bars and clubs,” Randolph said.

Randolph confirmed yet another delay in the tripwires document before it is released publicly.

Tripwires are expected to offer the public more guidance on potential restrictions for COVID-19 if certain thresholds are met moving forward.

“Hopefully (it’s ready) by the end of the week, but I can’t promise that,” Randolph said.

 Editor’s Note: The Daily Memphian is making our coronavirus coverage accessible to all readers — no subscription needed. Our journalists continue to work around the clock to provide you with the extensive coverage you need; if you can subscribe, please do

Topics

Dr. Bruce Randolph Dr. M. David Rudd University of Memphis coronavirus Shelby County Health Department
Omer Yusuf

Omer Yusuf

Omer Yusuf covers Binghampton, Frayser, North Memphis and Raleigh for The Daily Memphian. Omer previously covered county government. He is also a former reporter at The Jackson Sun and a University of Memphis graduate.


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