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White House COVID-19 Task Force says families in Mid-South counties should cancel gatherings

Updated: Aug. 6, 2020 at 5:08 PM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - A new warning Thursday from the White House COVID-19 Task Force regarding the ongoing spread of the virus across Tennessee and the Mid-South.

Meanwhile, the Memphis Shelby County COVID-19 Task Force says Thursday’s COVID-19 case numbers are continuing what could become a positive trend.

Shelby County and the state of Tennessee is receiving attention from the White House COVID-19 task force, who says the spread of the virus here and in surrounding counties is concerning, and they’re recommending canceling all family gatherings.

The White House COVID-19 Task Force is alarmed about continuing high COVID-19 transmission rates in 75 of Tennessee’s 95 counties.

Shelby, Tipton, Lauderdale and Haywood Counties are all “red zones” in a state map released by the White House task force.

Fayette County is in a “yellow zone.”

In a recording of a phone call obtained by the Center for Public Integrity, National Coronavirus Response Coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx recommends families in red or yellow zones to cancel family gatherings.

“If you’re in a red or yellow county bringing together family members will create potentially, particularly if indoors, super spreader events and we’re finding that across the South and really up into the Midwest,” Dr. Deborah Birx said.

The Shelby County Health Department announced 235 new COVID-19 cases Thursday, continuing a four-day downward trend.

In the Shelby County COVID-19 task force briefing, Dr. Bruce Randolph says testing is down too, and the most recent weekly positivity rate is also down from 16.4% to 15.8%.

A new weekly positivity rate number will be released in the next few days.

“The closure of bars and limited service restaurants have paid off,” Dr. Bruce Randolph, Shelby County Health Officer said. “We’re seeing decreases in the number and we’re helpful that will continue.”

This week, the Tennessee Supreme Court ruled state voters who have general pandemic related health concerns will have to cast their ballots in person in the November Presidential election and will not be granted an absentee ballot.

Dr. Randolph says voting safety will rely on everyone following the proper, well known safety measures.

“At the polls you will have to exercise the same safety measures as you would if you were at Kroger or Walmart,” Dr. Randolph said.

Those safety measures of course include wearing a mask and socially distancing yourself at least 6 feet from the nearest person.

The Shelby County Election Commission has instituted numerous additional safety protocols including voting with a single use drink stirring stick.

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