Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Health Department: County’s Fourth COVID-19 Case Could Indicate Community Spread

Posted By on Wed, Mar 18, 2020 at 2:56 PM


Head of the county health department said Wednesday that there is still no evidence of COVID-19 community spread in Shelby County, but that the fourth case could be a predictor of such spread.

Alisa Haushalter, director of the Shelby County Health Department said the fourth case, confirmed late Tuesday, has no connection to the first three and that’s a “red flag.”

Haushalter said when there are cases that cannot be connected to other cases or to travel, that indicates community spread.

If the county does experience community spread, Haushalter said the health department will need to take a “more aggressive approach to being able to prevent spread.”

Haushalter said the county anticipates identifying more cases moving forward.

Patients one and two were related and had both recently traveled to New Orleans.

The third individual is said to have traveled “extensively” in the United States and returned to Shelby County as they were becoming ill. Haushalter said this means they did not contract COVID-19 in the county.

The fourth patient, a Shelby County resident, has not recently traveled outside of the county, but is said to have recently had out-of-state visitors with mild respiratory symptoms.

The health department is still doing contact investigations to determine whom patients three and four may have had contact with, but initial interviews indicate that the third patient was “out and about in the community.”

The number of confirmed cases is up to 98 across the state with the majority of those concentrated in Middle Tennessee.

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