Health department concerned about people heading to work during pandemic

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The Shelby County Health Department is concerned about people heading to work while showing symptoms of the novel coronavirus.

The Shelby County Health Department Director Dr. Alisa Haushalter says a common theme health officials are seeing is that people are going to work, with symptoms, before they are getting tested for the virus.

“That’s a consistent thing that we’re seeing,” Dr. Haushalter said. “People went to work for a day or two before they decided that they needed to go to the doctors and then everyone that they worked with for those few days and the few days before that were exposed.”

Haushalter said if someone was showing symptoms while working, they could infect coworkers as well as customers.

The health department has monitored more than 250 people and nearly 200 of those tests have come back negative.

Dr. Haushalter said testing is available through the healthcare systems. Drive-thru testing will be available in at least a week.

Shelby County Mayor Lee Harris recently met with all municipal mayors in the county and says places where people gather in the county, like bars, restaurants and fitness centers, will shut down. This does not apply to take out and drive thrus.

Harris says if businesses do not comply with this order, no one will be going to jail.

“What the sheriff has promised he would do if he gets word that businesses remain open is that he will politely ask the business to shutdown the on-site eating,” Harris said during a press conference on Saturday.

If the businesses do not comply, they will have to go to court and the worst case scenario will be fines.

The Memphis Area Transit Authority said it is asking passengers to practice social distancing on buses and Trolley cars. MATA authorities are re-evaluating service operations as more cases of the novel coronavirus are being reported.

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