MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The Shelby County Health Department will release a new health directive on Wednesday, days before the current one is set to expire on January 22.
According to Dr. Bruce Randolph with the department, Health Directive 17 will take effect on Saturday, January 23, and places a lot of emphasis on personal responsibility.
Restaurant capacity will increase to 50 percent, from the current 25 percent. They will still not be allowed to seat more than six people, dancing indoors is not allowed along with smoking, and customers are still required to wear a mask when not eating, Randolph said.
Restaurants will also still have to close by 10 p.m.
Live entertainment is permitted, but performers will have to be socially distanced.
Despite restrictions still being in place, Randolph said the county is seeing progress as numbers continue to stabilize and in some cases fall. He urged everyone, even those who have received the vaccine, to stay the course.
Dr. Alisa Haushalter wanted to reminded everyone that both Baptist and Methodist offer what is called Monoclonal Antibody Treatment. This is especially important for anyone over the age of 65 and anyone over the age of 50 with health conditions who have tested positive for COVID-19.
If treated early enough, it can reduce risk of hospitalization. Talk with your healthcare provider for more information.
Shelby County remains in the first stages of its vaccination plan, currently providing innoculations to those in the 1a1 group. This includes health care workers and anyone over the age of 75.
To date, the Shelby County Health Department has distributed more than 13,000 doses.
All appointments for January have been filled.
On Tuesday, the Shelby County Health Department reported 78,382 total cases and 362 new cases Tuesday morning. There have been 1,140 deaths, with no new deaths in the last 24 hours.
The deaths account for 1.5% of all cases in Shelby County.
The number of cases considered recovered is 70,601, or 90%. There are 6,641 known active cases, which accounts for 8.5%.
Usage of local Acute Care and ICU beds was 87% and 93% respectively as of January 18. There are 518 COVID patients in the hospital.
On Tuesday, the United States reached a grim milestone, with 400,000 people have now died from COVID-19.
In Shelby County more than 1,140 people have died. Despite the numbers the health department says we are seeing some progress but the health director says the threat is far from over.
“We know that strain is actually more transmissible than what we’re currently experiencing in Shelby County and that actually can impact our pandemic significantly,” Haushalter said.
Haushalter said her team works with laboratories and Dr. Manoj Jain, part of the Memphis Mayor’s COVID task force. She said they’re doing genotyping, studying, and comparing the different specimens of the virus.
“I really can’t underscore the importance enough the ability to do the genotyping locally. If we send a specimen from Shelby County to the Centers for Disease Control it could take up to two weeks for us to know if that specimen is a UK variant,” Haushalter said.