SCHD considering more COVID restrictions if county continues to break records

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The Shelby County Health Department is considering implementing more restrictions like requiring masks outdoors or capacity limitations.

Health Director Dr. Michelle Taylor said the main data she would be looking at is the 7 day rolling average of cases.

She said if we break previous records, we will see more restrictions, but nothing is set in stone.

“Nothing is off the table, but we really are relying on the community to do the right thing,” said Taylor.

Dr. Taylor keeps a close eye on the COVID-19 tracking data, specifically the 7 day rolling average of cases.

Right now, it’s 835, only 34 cases away from the record of 869 on December 18, 2020.

“If we see we are breaking records from the beginning of the pandemic or when we have a second or third surge, then we start to get concerned,” said Dr. Taylor.

Dr. Taylor said if this happens, the health department will consider adding restrictions to the health directive, which expires at the end of the month. Restrictions like wearing masks outdoors and limiting capacity inside businesses.

She said she is worried about how large events like festivals and football games will impact the data if people are unvaccinated or not wearing masks.

“If we see studies or if we see additional CDC recommendations that come out that really recommend masking in outdoor spaces, that’s going to give us the latitude we need to convince even more people that the right thing to do is be masked up,” Dr. Taylor said.

Dr. Taylor emphasizes we can control the spread of COVID-19 if people make the right decisions like getting vaccinated or wearing masks.

“We have a lot of healthcare workers in this community who are quite tired. They have been working for us, they have been saving lives, but they have also seen a lot of people die from what we know is a preventable disease,” said Dr. Taylor.

On a more positive note, Dr. Taylor said she started seeing a plateau in cases and hospitalizations last week.