COVID-19 restrictions – most of them – on masking and social distancing are being lifted, according to a health directive issued by the Shelby County Health Department on Wednesday.
Health Directive 22 will go into effect at midnight Saturday (June 12). While health officials have declared that more than 70 percent of adults in Shelby County have some level of immunity from COVID-19, the medical officer warns that “we are not out of the woods yet.”
“There is still some concern about data we have been analyzing,” Shelby County Medical Officer Dr. Bruce Randolph said Wednesday afternoon. “In looking at 499 active new cases, young people between the ages of 25-35 account for new cases at three times the rate of those 65 and older.”
Of those cases, 65.7 percent are of African Americans, compared to 16 percent Caucasian and four percent Hispanic. Nearly 60 percent are female and 40 percent male.
“Clearly, younger people are not getting the vaccine,” said Randolph. “This is a time when everyone will need to take personal responsibility for the condition of their own health. We will no longer be policing, but every individual has the freedom to decide. Getting the vaccine is the right decision, not only for that person, but for those close to them.
“Children are still susceptible as indicated in so many pediatric cases. They need us to protect them by getting the vaccine.”
More than 70 percent of adults in Shelby County have some level of immunity to the COVID-19 virus, either because they have been vaccinated, or because they have been infected with the virus and recovered. Anti-bodies in the blood indicate some prior infection.
The rolling, seven-day average number of new cases per day registered 46 on Wednesday. One month ago, that average was 135 per day. The test positivity rate was 3.6 percent. That means that of all COVID-19 tests, only 3.6 percent are positive.
Private businesses and institutions are no longer mandated to require masks in their facilities and operations, but should place signs at entrances and high-traffic areas notifying employees, customers and visitors if masking is required or recommended.
The new directive sets out that masks still will be required for everyone, including those who have been fully vaccinated, when using mass transit (airplanes, trains, buses, ride-shares, etc.).
The same applies to those entering property on which a local, state or federal authority has propriety interest and the authority requires masks.
The health directive also includes these elements:
- Employers must continue to require cooperation with disease prevention measures, such as contact tracing and they can make site-specific determinations on physical spacing due to the increasing number of fully-vaccinated individuals.
- Employers must require all workers to stay home if they are sick.
- If an employer is informed that an employee has tested positive for COVID-19, the employer must close the areas where the employee worked for cleaning and disinfecting.
- Individuals who test positive for COVID-19 must report the information to the Department by calling 901-222-MASK (901-222-6275) or by faxing the information to 901-222-8249.
- Individuals who test positive for COVID-19 must notify those who are known to have been in contact with them.
- Individuals who test positive for COVID-19 must isolate in accordance with Centers for Disease Control guidance.
- Individuals who have been in close contact with someone with COVID19 must quarantine if they have not had COVID-19 in the past three months or have not been fully vaccinated.
(For more information, visit https://www.shelbytnhealth.com/.)