Weekly Update: Winter weather, vaccines and more

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Over the last week, we’ve had multiple, consecutive days of record-low temperatures and snow levels we haven’t seen in decades. As a result, we’ve experienced multiple water main breaks, and I know many are concerned with MLGW and potential loss of water.

As you may have seen and I want to reiterate, MLGW announced earlier today they are NOT shutting off water to residents, but do continue to urge reducing our water consumption, and a precautionary boil water alert will remain in effect until at least Monday, February 22nd. According to MLGW and the Shelby County Health Department, the boil water alert is a preemptive measure and not a reaction to any contamination of our water system.

To stay up-to-date on new developments from MLGW, follow them on their official twitter and Facebook pages.

On a lighter note, I want to take a second to say thank you to every person working the long hours to keep our community safe during this winter weather— to Governor Bill Lee and the Tennessee Department of Transportation for keeping our state roads and interstates clear, City of Memphis Public Works, Memphis Fire and Memphis Police Departments, the Memphis Office of Emergency Management, MLGW, MATA, our healthcare professionals, grocers, and so many more.

Vaccinations: As I’m sure you’ve seen by now, the City of Memphis will be handling the operations of the Pipkin Building vaccination site in addition to our operations at the Appling site and a new Raleigh site we’ll being opening next week (more details to follow).

As it stands right now, roughly 10,000 to 15,000 doses are being administered each week county-wide. As the national number of vaccine doses continue to rise, the ultimate goal is to be able to vaccinate 30,000 or 50,000 people a week as the supply grows, and we feel confident we have the right model to do it.

As a reminder, during our first day at the Appling location, people were in line for two to three hours. On the second day, the average wait time was dropped to 45 minutes. Most recently, the average wait time was dropped to 17.5 minutes with the longest average wait time at 32.5 minutes. We achieved this by doing two simple things. First, you must have proof of an appointment. Second, telling people to not arrive more than an hour ahead of their scheduled time. We will replicate these procedures at other vaccination sites as we open them.

As you can see the chart below from an article in this week’s New York Times, the allocation of vaccine we’re receiving should be climbing steeply in the near future.


When this happens, we’ll be ready for it.

Fire Cadets: Recently, our Memphis Fire Department Director, Gina Sweat, launched the first-ever Fire Cadet program. This is an opportunity for high school seniors to start a career path with the Memphis Fire Department immediately after graduation. Cadets will receive paid training for their EMT and Advanced EMT certifications during the 36-week program.

Aside from earning their certifications, cadets will have the opportunity to work within and gain experience in many areas of Memphis Fire, such as the Office of Emergency Management, Healthcare Navigator, and the Fire Training Academy. After successfully completing the program, cadets begin the hiring process to become a Fire Recruit.

To learn more about the program and submit an application, visit our website.

Rental Assistance: As you may have seen earlier this week, City of Memphis and Shelby County Governments received $28.1 million in emergency rental and utility assistance from the federal government. Applications for the program open on March 1, 2021.

To learn more about the program and how to apply, go here.

Be safe. Don’t forget to boil your water, and try to enjoy your weekend.


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