Shelby County health leaders prepare for Phase 2 of reopening plan

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SHELBY COUNTY, Tenn. — While Shelby County isn’t there yet, health officials are preparing for Phase 2 of reopening businesses in the county.

Thursday is Day 10 of Phase 1, and health officials have always said they’re going to be data-driven, not date-driven when it comes to moving into Phase 2.

“The cases that were contracted at the beginning of opening Phase 1 will not show up until really today or over the weekend based on when we get lab reports back,” Shelby County Health Department Director Dr. Alisa Haushalter said.

Dr. Haushalter said now is a very critical period in determining if the county is ready to move forward with Phase 2 of the back-to-business plan.

She said they are keeping a close eye on the trend in cases, the hospitalization rate and the number of emergency room visits over the last two weeks.

“We are still at a flat downward trend with the exception of hospitalizations, so we’ll really have to monitor that over the next several days,” Dr. Haushalter said.

She said factors that may prevent Shelby County from moving into Phase 2 would be unexpected outbreaks, a sudden increase in hospitalizations or a drastic change in the average number of people each positive person infects. 

She said as of right now, the health department has not made a recommendation to move into Phase 2.

“We want to be able to share that information with elected officials who can arrive at a decision that’s based on informed public health thinking, informed scientific thinking,” Dr. Haushalter said.

Dr. Haushalter said Shelby County elected leaders meet regularly to come to a consensus on when and how to reopen.

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