Monday, May 18, 2020

Current Back-To-Business Phase to Last Three Weeks

Posted By on Mon, May 18, 2020 at 1:13 PM

click to enlarge Volunteers load food into a car at a mobile food pantry - FACEBOOK/MID-SOUTH FOOD BANK
  • Facebook/Mid-South Food Bank
  • Volunteers load food into a car at a mobile food pantry

Shelby County will remain in Back to Business Phase II for three weeks, instead of the planned two weeks, according to county mayor Lee Harris.

Harris announced the timing during Monday’s COVID-19 Joint Task Force daily briefing saying, “we will move forward but carefully and responsibly.”

Every official who spoke Monday — Harris, Alisa Haushalter, director of the Shelby County Health Department (SCHD), and Dr. Bruce Randolph, SCHD Health Officer — all noted “solid progress” or “great progress” has been made in the COVID-19 fight in Shelby County. But, as Randolph put it, “let’s not turn back,” and asked for continued adherence to social distancing, wearing masks, washing hands, and more.
click to enlarge CDC
  • CDC

Randolph outlined a few new allowances given to businesses and public spaces in the newly announced Phase II of the Back to Business plan. Libraries, hotels, and museum, for example, can now fill at 50 percent capacity. Public gatherings can include 50 people, though those people all need to social distance and wear masks, Randolph said.

The move to Phase II was announced with little fanfare Monday morning. The news came in a daily email rather than a daily briefing filled with public officials. Haushalter said they’ve given daily updates on the figures and gave plenty of signals that they’d be ready to move to the next phase Monday. In looking at all the data, “we were all quite comfortable with” moving to the next phase.

Sunday’s testing took a sharp downturn from daily trends last week as only 688 were tested. (The figures had been above 1,000 for most of the week.) Haushalter said she “was a little bit concerned” about the reduction. She said there may be fewer people with symptoms and so fewer people are seeking tests. Also, there may be less transmission of the virus in the community so there may be less demand.

But she said the national metric for good amounts of testing remains in the testing capacity and not utilization.

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