Weekly Update

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Roughly 48 hours after assuming control of the vaccine process, I am pleased to report that yesterday, after significant collaboration and support from the State of Tennessee and Shelby County, more than 6,500 Memphis and Shelby County residents, including 2,009 educators, were vaccinated; all scheduled appointments were supported; no one was turned away; the average wait time across the system was 15 minutes, and no doses were wasted. We did this across six fixed sites and two separate points of distribution (PODs) for teacher vaccinations.

Today, we delivered more than 9,600 vaccines to 10 sites across the City and County, including vaccinations for more than 3,000 educators at the Shelby County and Municipal School districts. This will complete first round vaccinations for SCS, Millington, Lakeland, Bartlett and Arlington districts. Significantly, this will also complete the administration of nearly 1,000 doses of vaccine that were set to expire between Saturday and Monday of next week.

Additionally, we've opened new appointments today for approximately 30,000 vaccinations to be administered next week. This includes 17,000 first doses and roughly 13,000 second doses. This will complete first round vaccinations for the rest of the educators in Shelby County including the Achievement School district, Germantown and Collierville schools, the Memphis Independent Schools and the Catholic Diocese.

As you can imagine, we have significant work ahead of us to continue refining the efficiency of the process, delivering transparent reporting, and improving the overall customer experience. I assure you we are up to the task and ready to scale our delivery for more vaccines as they become available.

Across our five fixed sites, we can currently deliver roughly 33,000 doses each week. Our local partners at federally qualified health centers (FQHCs) and Hospital Systems add substantial capacity over and above the public PODs, meaning that today, we are able to comfortably deliver 40,000 total immunizations weekly.

I want to draw special attention to what a huge accomplishment it was by our collective team to effectively "flip the switch" at 10:00 a.m. on Wednesday, and then successfully, and seamlessly deliver on our promise of vaccinations by 8:00 a.m. on Thursday without missing a beat. I cannot thank our team enough for their hard work and dedication to make this happen.

When we started this process, the City of Memphis had limited deep freeze and medical grade refrigeration capacity, no ACCUCOLD transporters and associated data loggers, and a limited staff involved in day-to-day pharmacy and immunization operations. Today, our team is 50 strong, we accepted tens of thousands of vaccines from the Shelby County inventory. We began distributing them, and have in our possession all the tools necessary to get the job done—including eight ACCUCOLD coolers delivered by Black Hawk Helicopter (thanks to the State of Tennessee).

Moving forward, we look forward to delivering a seamless process of vaccination to the citizens of Shelby County, and reaching our goal of 700,000 residents vaccinated with at least 1 dose by August of this year.

The stories of Snowmegeddon 2021 you haven’t heard: Last week, we saw record-breaking cold temperatures and more snow on the ground than we’ve had in decades, but it’s about what most people didn’t see that I want to talk about in this space today.

Your City of Memphis employees (from just about every division) went above and beyond to help their community, and I want to share just a few of those stories with you.

City of Memphis Parks assisted in the operation and staffing of three 24-hour warming centers. More than 30 Parks employees worked shifts at the three centers, ranging from a four-hour shift to employees who worked more than 40 hours in addition to their normal day jobs. Parks staff worked more than 400 hours throughout the storm.

Additionally, 12 Park Operations employees joined the General Services Division to help receive and distribute more than 50 pallets of water and Coke products on Friday and Saturday while there was still substantial snow and ice on the ground. On Sunday, City Council members and 60 community and senior center staff helped distribute more than 100,000 bottles of water at three community centers and two senior centers. Staff from the Pink Palace helped staff and run another of the distribution sites. Six or more pallets of water were given away at each of the city’s eight sites.

In addition to plowing over 1,400 lane miles (665 lane miles in-house and another 757 by contractors), applying 698 Salt tons, 2,040 Sand tons, and working over 3,200 total man hours, your Public Works Department was also helping Memphis Animal Services. The MAS vehicles were not capable of safely operating in the snow. It took only one call to Public Works for them to quickly arrange public works drivers to escort MAS officers around the city in four-wheel-drive vehicles to complete their important life-saving work.

The Memphis Police Department Traffic and Special Operations made over 145 pickups and drove roughly 1,700 miles in the snow and ice to ensure 911 dispatchers were getting to and from work to make sure your emergency calls were answered.

Over 1,600 people used our warming centers, and MATA provided rides to over 900 patrons to those warming centers.

The Memphis Fire Department (among many other things) received a call from one of our local hospitals that their boiler was running dangerously low on water and the truck that delivers clean linens to their facility couldn’t get through the parking lot. They immediately jumped into action and were able to top off their boiler and keep the hospital in full operation and public works cleared a path through the parking lot to enable the delivery truck to unload fresh bedding and linens.

They also saved a dog trapped on a roof. (picture below to prove it)


These are just a few stories of how City government was working during the snow storm last week. I’m humbled everyday by the unbelievable public servants I’m fortunate enough to call my co-workers. I can’t thank them enough for their dedication to the City and the people they serve each day.

Emergency Rental Assistance: As I mentioned a few weeks ago, help with rental assistance is on the way. The U.S. Department of Treasury has granted a total of $28.2 million to the City of Memphis and Shelby County ($19.6 million City and $8.6 County) to administer the COVID-19 Emergency Rental Assistance (ERA) program.

Next Monday, March 1st, visit home901.org or text home901 to 2100 or Spanish text casa901 to 2100 to apply. Applicants must submit documentation of need, including proof of income and COVID-19 hardship. If assistance is needed with completing the application, please call 211.

Enjoy your weekend!


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