SCHD will keep watch on new COVID-19 cases after Memorial Day gatherings

WATCH: SCHD will keep a close eye on new COVID-19 cases after Memorial Day gatherings

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — With Memorial Day weekend coming, the Memphis-Shelby County COVID-19 Task Force will keep a close eye on how the coronavirus numbers shake out.

Wednesday, the health department reported the most signal day new COVID-19 cases since late April with 128 new cases.

Officials believed the key is to find out if the increase is related to the outbreaks in nursing homes or from Mother's Day weekend.

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The Shelby County Health Director Alisa Haushalter said this caused the positivity rate to go up but it’s not at a concerning level yet.

“We are taking a deeper dive to look at what’s contributed to that slight increase over a 24-hour period,” said Haushalter.

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Haushalter said despite this increase there are some positives.

There was a decrease in the duplication rate.

“We now have stretched that time frame out almost 26 days, which means it takes almost a full month to double the number of cases we have,” Haushalter said.

Haushalter and her team will also keep a close eye on if the data will change over Memorial Day weekend.

She suggested people wear masks and gather outside.

“You should not be sharing utensils,” Haushalter said. “It's not unusual at a potluck or big event that someone brings a dish and everyone handles the same spoon to serve that food.”

She said it’s best to have one person serve guests with gloves.

Another tip was to not use water pitchers. Instead, use something disposable instead like water bottles or soda cans.

Leaders emphasized that even though things are opening up, residents still have to practice social distancing.

“Just because we've seen progress over the last few weeks and we started to open up, it doesn't mean those great practices that have become habit to us have gone out the window,” said Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland.

Strickland said over the weekend courtesy crews will be in the parks to make sure people are practicing social distancing.

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