Memphis officials emphasize importance of wearing masks to slow coronavirus spread

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Memphis officials are stressing the importance of wearing masks to prevent community spread of COVID-19.

Memphis and Shelby County had another day of rising COVID-19 cases and the impact on the lives of those infected.

“We have 15, 270 new cases,” said health department director Alisa Haushalter. “That’s an increase of 466, but I want to remind everyone that’s not reflective of the date of test. It’s the date of report.”

Haushalter also addressed the number of lives lost.

“Unfortunately, at this point we have 233 deaths, and one death is one death too many,” Haushalter said. “But we do know in Shelby County our death rate has been less than many other communities across the country.”

The county’s recovery rate stands at 66%, and more people appear to be wearing face masks.

“I’m pleased to say overall we’ve seen a significant improvement in people wearing masks. I hope you’ve seen it when you’ve gone to the store,” said Mayor Jim Strickland.

The task force will be looking for trip wires or warning signs about COVID-19 trends and making sure bars and restaurants are not violating city ordinances.

“We want to do the best that we can to balance the economic impact of COVID, the social impact and the health impact on our community and get back to business while reducing the number of deaths and illnesses in our community,” Haushalter said.

“We’re enforcing the city ordinance that’s directed as businesses,” Strickland said. “You won’t see individuals cited with violating the city ordinance, but businesses not enforcing it on their customers.”

 COVID-19 has also hit the African-American and Latinx community very hard. It’s why a new campaign was unveiled to get more people to mask up.

“To help ensure we’re doing everything we can to slow the spread, we’ve partnered with La Prensa Latina in a new website and web campaign, ‘Mask Up Memphis’,” Strickland said.

“This initiative is not only very importance for the Hispanic community, but the community at large because it affects everyone,” said Jairo Arguijo with La Prensa Latina Media.

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