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FORMAL ISSUANCE OF HEALTH DIRECTIVE
TO: Elected Leaders and Citizens of Shelby County, Tennessee,
FROM: Bruce Randolph, MD, MPH, Shelby County Health Officer; Alisa Haushalter, DNP, RN, PHNA-BC, Shelby County Health Director
RE: Public Health Announcement on COVID-19 Response
Pursuant to the authority vested in my office as Health Officer of Shelby County, Tennessee, and in collaboration with the Shelby County Health Director, I am formally issuing this Health Directive in order to protect the public health for all citizens and businesses in Shelby County, Tennessee. I am issuing this Health Directive to assure your compliance in preventing the spread of the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19). Those citizens and owners of businesses described herein and currently within Shelby County, Tennessee serve as the class of people subject to this directive.
My review of all relevant cases, including but not necessarily limited to medical records, and my consultation with medical experts, reveals that the COVID-19 is a respiratory disease caused by the SARS coV-2 virus that can result in mild or severe symptoms, including fever, cough, and shortness of breath, and can lead to serious illness or death. On January 21, 2020, follow g theguidance of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ("CDC"), the Tennessee Department of Health designated COVID-19 as a reportable disease in Tennessee.
As of March 24, 2020, the CDC reports there are 667 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the state of Tennessee, 99 of which are confirmed cases in Shelby County. Consultation with experts and review of data provided to us by the State of Tennessee and the CDC show that transmission of the disease increases in locations where groups of people congregate.
Based on the clinical and epidemiological evidence, COVID-19 is a direct threat to the population of Shelby County, Tennessee.
By virtue of this directive, I am directing that 1) all citizens not serving in positions designated as essential services to shelter in place and 2) all owners and operators of businesses that do not provide essential services to the community to cooperate with health authorities’ efforts to prevent and control the spread of COVID-19. Only those individuals serving as essential personnel should be traveling to work. Essential personnel should be screened and not allowed to be in the workplace if they have a fever or other signs and symptoms of COVID-19. In conjunction with the limitations on public gatherings, all businesses not deemed to be life-sustaining are required to close their physical locations to the public. "Essential services" means services and/or businesses that the interruption of which would endanger the life, health, or personal safety of the whole or part of the population and shall include the following:
, • Legally permitted food and beverage to include: grocery and beverage stores, farmers’ markets, food banks, catering, convenience stores selling food, agriculture, food processing, feed mills, and other businesses that directly support the food supply.
In addition, the following businesses may continue to operate only as recommended by CDC guidelines, but at the very least are required to limit the total number of patrons in the establishment to 10 at any one time. Because such services require close contact, patrons must not have a fever or any other symptoms of COVID-19, and these establishments must ensure additional steps are taken to enhance personal hygiene of employees and to provide extraordinary sanitization efforts within the facilities themselves:
All essential services, especially grocery stores and pharmacies, will make best efforts to establish hours when only available to senior citizens or otherwise vulnerable populations. These businesses will adhere to CDC guidance on social distancing and hand hygiene in the workplace, including encouraging work-from-home and allowing employees when possible to work on-site in shifts to optimize social distancing in the workplace.
As much as possible, citizens of Shelby County, Tennessee should remain at home, leaving for essential services only and avoid public spaces with the exception of outdoor spaces where there are limited people. Allgatherings are strongly discouraged, and thosewith morethan IO people are prohibited. Gatherings include any event or convening unrelated to essential services that brings together groups of individuals, including, but not limited to, community, civic, public, leisure, faith-based, or sporting events, parades, concerts, festivals, conventions, fundraisers, and similar activities. It is my belief that these are the least restrictive means by which to slow the transmission of COVID-19.