Health officials say restrictions could be lifted if COVID-19 data continues to trend in right direction

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Officials at the Shelby County Health Department said they are pleased with the progress being made in the battle with COVID-19.

With numbers trending in a positive direction, that could mean restrictions could be lifted, officials said. Dr. Bruce Randolph, the Shelby County Public Health Officer, said as the county opens up, people must not forget the measures that were put in place to get us to this point.

Randolph said he wants to see the trend continue going in a positive direction not backward.

“Due to the 7- to 14-day downward trend in our data, we will be making some revisions to the health directive,” Randolph said. “Either the end of this week or the first part of next week. I’ve received numerous calls from limited-service restaurants, and I just want to tell the owners I hear you, I understand the sacrifice that you’ve made, and we will address that in some form or fashion.

Randolph said granted things are going in a positive direction, that does not mean things will go back to normal before the coronavirus pandemic. He continued to reiterate the importance of people practicing the safety guidelines that led to the data trending in the right direction.

The current restrictions could loosen on bars and other limited establishments, but that is still to be determined.

At the same time, there is also evidence that the virus is still spreading throughout the community. David Sweat, an official with the Shelby County Health Department, said there is a cluster at the University of Memphis.

“We can confirm, the Shelby County Health Department is working with the University of Memphis to confirm clusters of transmissions at the University,” Sweat said. “One of the clusters is associated with a different group of students not associated with a residence, but it’s more associated with students that share activity and training. But some of the people in that cluster have no connection to people on the football team. “

Sweat did not say if they were members of another team or another group, but he did say this is an ongoing investigation.

The university announced Tuesday it is postponing adding face-to-face classes until at least early October to prevent the spread of the virus.

Health officials said there was a slight increase in infections and hospitalizations. They said if that trend continues then it would delay their plans to ease back some restrictions.

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