Updates from the Shelby County Commission

Shelby County responds to the COVID-19 emergency

So much has changed this week, it can be hard even to keep up with the news. But because our legitimate concerns and uncertainty can be made worse by rumors, anxiety and panic, it’s important we make a serious effort to identify solid information. Toward that end, here are some quick links and updates you may find useful.

Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19). Visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website for helpful information about the pandemic, its origins, its characteristics and severity, the risk it presents, how government leaders are responding to it and what everyone can do to help prevent it from spreading.

Local experts. The Shelby County Health Department is our local authority on COVID-19 and has a website filled with information and updates available online at I’m thankful for the dedication of Dr. Alisa Haushalter and everyone on her team as they seek to contain and mitigate this outbreak.

Local government. The Shelby County Board of Commissioners plans to hold its regular committee meetings this Wednesday, but Chairman Mark Billingsley has announced a number of changes.

All meetings will be held on the 1st floor chambers so that the proceedings may be viewed online at Meetings can also be heard on radio WQOX 88.5FM.

According to a March 12 press release:

“Media is welcome to attend; however, there are specific measures that are being put into place to minimize person to person contact during the meeting. Any citizen interested in providing public comment or who may have questions related to items for action, please submit via email to Additional tools are being prepared at this time and once finalized, will be implemented immediately to ensure the public has the ability to comment upon items before the Shelby County Board of Commissioners.”

Local action. For many of us, it seems there’s little more we can do that watch and wait. But that may be the best course of action for now – the action of inaction. The CDC has advised Americans to limit movement and avoid crowds, among other recommendations.

I am hopeful that most citizens will follow this advice so that we can stop the virus from spreading and reduce any strain on our medical system.

A personal note. My wife and I both work in the healthcare industry. Alison is a pediatric ICU nurse at Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital, and I work for Youth Villages, a non-profit organization that provides mental health and behavioral health services for young people and their families. Both organizations are taking measures to protect patients from harm, as well as their own employees.

We appreciate every step you are taking to keep yourself and others safe. Every time you wash your hands, cover a cough or reschedule social plans, you are helping our medical professionals win this battle. So thank you. Together, we can do this.