Weekly Update: A grim milestone

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This week, we passed another grim milestone locally in the fight against this virus. To date, we have lost 1,003 people in Shelby County to COVID-19.

I would venture to say that most of us by this point know someone or more than one person that has died. Some of them have been our family, our friends, our co-workers—but they were all our neighbors.

For many months now, we’ve been asking everyone to wear a mask, practice social distancing, and to wash your hands. Today, I’m asking once more to “love thy neighbor”, and please continue to do these things. The consequences of not doing so are far too great.

Vaccinations: Over the last several days, we’ve received multiple questions regarding vaccinations. I wanted to give a quick rundown of how things look.

First, the national supply chain is the number one limiting factor when it comes to widespread vaccination of the public.


Currently, the Shelby County Health Department has no more vaccines other than a few hundred committed to those living in nursing homes, and Tennessee is scheduled to obtain 90,000 vaccinations per week. State and local government are not making the vaccines. The Health Department and our hospitals only receive them.

Another important fact (one you may not know about) these vaccinations are not like getting the flu shot each year. Normally you walk into your healthcare provider, get your shot, and leave. It’s easy and fast.

It’s not that simple here. First, each person must go through a screening process prior to their shot (which takes time). And, secondly, once you’ve had the vaccine, you’re required to wait an additional 15 minutes to be monitored for any adverse reactions to it.

All that to say—please be patient. I know you’re anxious and everyone is ready to put this virus behind us. We’re getting closer, but we’re not there quite yet. You can see we are still very much in a battle as demonstrated in the chart below.

COVID-19 hospitalizations have increased 105% over the last 60 days.


For more information about the vaccine and when it will be available to you, please visit www.shelby.community.

December testing rundown: As you may recall, we held multiple free asymptomatic testing events throughout the month of December. Over the course of the month and in partnership with Poplar Healthcare, we performed 11,831 tests with a positivity rate of 15.36 percent.

Because of the success of the program and the continued community need, free asymptomatic testing will be available through the City this weekend, January 9th -10th , and the 23rd – 24th from 8:00am until 5:30pm at Poplar Healthcare, 3495 Hacks Cross Rd.

Click here to register.

More affordable housing: Creating more quality, affordable housing has been important to us since 2016. Over the course of my first term as mayor, I'm happy to say we’ve constructed or incentivized the construction or renovation of over 5,000 affordable quality housing units.

But, we know there is still much more work to be done in this area.

That’s why earlier this week, our administration presented a resolution to City Council that will transfer 36 city-owned parcels to the Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA). These parcels (once approved by Council) will be used to build quality affordable housing.

For those of you who may not be aware of the CRA, it is a joint City/County agency that works with communities to address blight and provide affordable housing through the use of the Tax Increment Financing (TIF) tool. These lots would be developed within the Uptown TIF district to meet the objectives of remediating blight and providing affordable housing.

The CRA, as directed by its Board and led by a neighborhood advisory committee made of residents and stakeholders, will use the lots to implement the Uptown Community TIF Plan, as adopted by the City Council and County Commission in 2017. The CRA has partnered with Oasis of Hope, Promise Development, and Habitat for Humanity to construct 50 new affordable homes and has a Lots Reimagined Program that partners with local organizations and residents.

I’m excited about this opportunity and what it will mean to the citizens who will be able to take advantage of it once complete.

Have a great weekend!


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