CDC eases COVID guidelines as Shelby County averages 250 cases a day

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — COVID-19 is still with us, and doctors say it’s likely not going anywhere anytime soon.

The most recent data from the Shelby County Health Department shows an average of 250 people are still testing positive for the virus every day.

Acknowledging that the virus is still with us, The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced Thursday new less-restrictive guidelines on how to deal with it.

READ MORE: CDC eases coronavirus quarantine, screening recommendations

“They are really moving away from some of the previous, more restrictive suggestions they had and really are focusing more now on trying to prevent severe disease,” Dr. Shirin Mazumder, an infectious disease specialist for Methodist Healthcare, said.

The new guidance no longer recommends that unvaccinated people quarantine after exposure.

Instead, the CDC suggests they mask up for ten days and get tested five days after they were exposed.

It also no longer recommends staying at least six feet away from other people to reduce the risk of exposure.

The guidelines say contact tracing should be limited to hospitals and certain high-risk group living situations.

Finally, it says students can stay in the classroom if they have been exposed.

While the guidelines are less restrictive, Dr. Mazumder said people need to take their own health and situation into account.

“If someone is elderly or immunocompromised or they live with a high-risk individual, the level of precaution that they may choose to take may be different,” she said.

FOX13 asked Dr. Mazumder when COVID may transition into being endemic.

That happens when the virus is present but somewhat contained and not spreading out of control.

She said right now, we have too many ongoing cases, and that will only happen when the number of hospitalizations drops.