Tennessee Democrats practiced some antisocial distancing this week, separating themselves from their longest-serving state legislator.
Here is what’s happening around the county.
Safer At Home. Memphis, Shelby County and each of its municipalities have issued Safer At Home orders asking residents to limit movement and to avoid congregating.
Coronavirus fatality. Shelby County reported its first COVID-19 death.
Coronavirus testing. The number tested locally (2,218) was reported for the first time, showing a qualified 10% positivity rate.
Online meetings. The County Commission plans to meet electronically through the month of May.
Voting machines. The Shelby County Election Commission will meet electronically on Wednesday to select a new voting system.
The COVID-19 pandemic has upended all regular business in Shelby County, across the nation and around the world. But we’re all doing our best to adapt and press ahead. Here are some brief updates.
Public health. The number of confirmed cases in Shelby County rose to 84 this morning. Follow the latest news and recommendations from the Shelby County Health Department, the Tennessee Department of Health and the Cenders for Disease Control and Prevention.
Economic relief. Tennessee small businesses can receive economic injury disaster loan assistance from the Small Business Administration.
Online meetings. Governor Bill Lee issued an executive order permitting local governments to temporarily conduct business meetings electronically. Today’s meeting of the Shelby County Board of Commissioners will be the first with members participating from remote locations.
Bartlett Bear Hunt. Bartlett Mayor Keith McDonald has launched #BartlettBearHunt to help create a positive distraction for younger kids. Pictured above is our contribution, a Bartlett barista bear. I encourage your family to join the fun.
Dr. Manny for U.S. Senate. Healthy Tennessee founder Dr. Manny Sethi appeared on the Fox Business channel nearly two months ago, offering his expertise on the virus. We need to send someone to Washington, D.C. who is well informed and equipped to face difficult challenges like these. Dr. Manny has my support.
Neighbors in need. I’m hearing from all kinds of people whose lives, organizations and families have been disrupted by this crisis. If you have a special need the county might be able to address or information you think local government should consider, please contact me via email or drop a message on social media.
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 shelbytnhealth.com/coronavirus. 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 shelbycountytn.gov. 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 BOC.email@example.com. 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.
Here’s what’s happening around Shelby County as we head into another meeting of the Board of Commissioners:
- Memphis has its first confirmed coronavirus case
- Shelby County faces a serious budget shortfall heading into FY21
- The transit ad hoc committee meets at the Bartlett Senior Center on Tuesday, March 10 at 5:30 p.m.
- Tennessee and Shelby County need to find a solution that protects both landowner water rights and the Memphis Sands Aquifer
This week there are 29 items on the consent agenda and 7 others to consider on the regular agenda. Link to full meeting agenda.
Some highlights from this week’s agenda: