Shelby Co. Mayor Harris says new health directive encourages mask use, vaccinations

Published: Jul. 29, 2021 at 4:54 AM CDT|Updated: Jul. 29, 2021 at 12:55 PM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - As COVID-19 cases climb, a new health directive is in the works in Shelby County. Mayor Lee Harris says the directive will go into effect next week on August 4.

Although masks are not mandated at this time, Harris and health officials are strongly encouraging the use of masks in public spaces regardless of vaccination status.

On Wednesday night, Harris tweeted the same sentiment.

“This next directive will align with the CDC recommendation, but there are no plans at this time to go back to COVID-19 restrictions or mandates and that would include mask mandates,” said Harris during Thursday COVID-19 joint task force briefing.

Task force member Dr. Jeff Warren says the county should go back to enforcing masks.

“Yes, I would. I think based off this, I think Shelby County we should reenact our mask mandate and I’d like to see the city do the same thing,” said Warren.

Harris says nothing is completely off the table as the county continues to monitor case numbers.

During the briefing, City of Memphis Chief Operating Officer Doug McGowen said about 90% of new COVID-19 cases in Shelby County are the Delta variant.

Though the Delta variant is rising in the Mid-South, vaccinations are not. The current positivity rate is at 11%, the highest in more than a year.

Health leaders continue to say the best way to stop the spread is by getting vaccinated.

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