A health officer for the Shelby County Health Department (SCHD) said the increase of 190 COVID-19 cases Tuesday was the largest daily jump since April 24th.
Dr. Bruce Randolph said the health department is “alarmed” by the recent daily increases in cases, which he said could be due in part to activity over Memorial Day weekend.
Before the county moves to the next phase of reopening, there must be a leveling off in the number of cases, Randolph said.
The health department is set to determine whether or not the county will enter into Phase III of the Back to Business plan Monday, but Randolph said that move is not likely at this point.
“As things are now, based on the trend that we see now and the information we have now, I do not think we can move into Phase III at this moment,” Randolph said.
Randolph said the only tools the county has to prevent the spread of COVID-19 here are distancing and facial coverings, which he said studies show “greatly” decrease transmission.
Asked if the health department will mandate wearing face masks, Randolph said the department wants to give residents and businesses an opportunity to adhere to the “strong encouragement” to wear masks before mandating it.
“We really want to see if the business community along with citizens come together and appreciate the importance of everyone wearing a facial covering or masks without it being mandated.”
However, Randolph said if the positive cases continue to increase, the health department will have to mandate facial coverings through a directive, but for now “we are hoping businesses and citizens can be responsible and do the right thing.”
"We don’t want to go back, but we cannot continue to experience an increase in numbers,” Randolph said. “I’m asking that we all join in. Let’s not reverse back. Let’s continue our progress as we move toward opening our economy even more.”