MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) – The head of the Shelby County Health Department says she plans to issue a new countywide mask mandate Wednesday.
Speaking to the Shelby County Commission Wednesday morning, Dr. Michelle Taylor said without a mandate the Shelby County health system could collapse.
“I am telling you that this is my recommendation, and this is the intention of the Shelby County Health Department to institute a universal mask mandate today,” she said.
Taylor also wants six feet of social distancing inside establishments. She plans to issue a new health directive Wednesday to include that and the masking order.
The health department reported 448 new COVID-19 cases Wednesday, but the seven-day average is 638. Sunday, Shelby County recorded its highest daily case rates since January.
Taylor says children 17 and younger represent the age group with the highest percentage of active cases.
“This is about saving lives,” she said. “This is about looking at the data and making sure that we take action on that data. That’s all it’s about. And we literally have people in our hospitals right now who are laying on beds in hallways. That’s where we are.”
The health department reported seven new deaths from COVID-19 Wednesday morning, bringing to total to 1,785. The county has seen 115,919 confirmed COVID-19 cases since the beginning of the pandemic.
Shelby County also set another new record for weekly COVID-19 test positivity rate of 21.3 for the week ending Aug. 7.
It’s not immediately clear how the countywide order will be impacted by an executive order signed by Gov. Bill Lee earlier this week allowing parents to opt their children out of mandatory masks in schools. We’re reaching out for more information.
Shelby County Commission’s Hospitals and Health Committee passed a resolution supporting the universal mask mandate, 7-3. The committee also approved a resolution opposing the governor’s executive order — similar to a resolution Memphis City Councilmembers passed Tuesday night.
Copyright 2021 WMC. All rights reserved.