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COVID-19 Update from Mayor Strickland (1-5)

COVID-19 Update from Mayor Strickland (1-5)

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.

Please, do not let your guard down. Keep washing your hands, practice social distancing, and wear a mask.

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

Shelby County Health Department COVID-19 Daily Update: January 5, 2021

The Shelby County Health Department’s COVID-19 vaccination efforts are focused this week on residents and staff in assisted living facilities and other congregate settings. 

Shelby County is still in Phase 1a1 of the Tennessee Department of Health’s COVID-19 vaccination plan. When there has been availability, vaccinations have been provided to funeral/mortuary workers and persons age 75 and older.

No drive-thru sites are currently in operation. The Health Department’s current supply of vaccine is earmarked for congregate living settings.

Safer at Home Health Directive No. 16 Now in Effect

Safer at Home Health Directive No. 16 is now in effect and ends January 22, 2021 at 11:59 p.m.

The text of that Directive, Face Mask Directive No. 4 and summaries of the documents can be found at

Shelby County Health Department Now Vaccinating “Phase 1a1”

The Shelby County Health Department is now vaccinating first responders and certain high-risk frontline health care workers deemed “1a1” in the Tennessee Department of Health’s COVID-19 Vaccination Plan listed here:

The vaccines are currently being given at two drive-thru vaccination sites in Shelby County:

  • 1826 Sycamore View Road
    • Sunday, January 3, 2021: 7:00 AM – 7:00 PM
  • 2400 Union Avenue, at Lindenwood Christian Church
    • Sunday, January 3, 2021: 1:00 PM – 7:00 PM

Vaccines are currently only available to people who meet the following criteria:

  • First responders with direct public exposure including EMS, law enforcement, and fire fighters
  • Staff working at COVID-19 mass testing sites
  • Staff and residents of long-term care facilities, residential homes for the aged and staff and residents of assisted living centers who have direct contact with residents or contact with potentially infectious materials
  • Staff of other congregate care facilities such as homes for the intellectually or developmentally disabled, detention centers, Staff of Department of Children’s Services residential facilities, rehabilitation hospitals and psychiatric hospitals who have direct patient contact or contact with potentially infectious materials
  • Home health care staff with direct patient contact
  • Staff and residents of long-term care facilities, residential homes for the aged and staff and residents of assisted living centers who have direct contact with residents or contact with potentially infectious materials
  • Providers of K-12 or university student health services who have direct patient contact or contact with potentially infectious materials

Safer at Home Health Directive No. 16 now in effect:

During the four weeks from December 26, 2020 to January 22, 2021, residents of Shelby County are asked to remain at home as much as possible. Specific recommendations and restrictions include:

  • Social activities related to entertainment and recreation should be curtailed because they expose everyone to unnecessary risks of spreading COVID-19. This would include, for example, indoor receptions, parties or events that are not related to places of worship, weddings, and funerals.
  • Employers are strongly encouraged to allow employees to work remotely (where feasible).
  • All previously approved events that were to occur during the effective dates of this Safer at Home order should reschedule their events or contact the Health Department to determine whether their event may still proceed.
  • Due to the risk of viral transmission, Health Directive No. 16 strongly discourages any on-site dining.
  • Indoor dining capacity must not exceed 25%.
  • Retail capacity must not exceed 50%.
  • Gyms and fitness facilities must limit capacity to 50%, including staff.
  • Businesses that provide goods or services exclusively through curbside service and pickup, drive-thru, shipment, delivery or virtually may continue.
  • All safety measures for individuals, services, and businesses that were in the previous Health Directive No. 15 will continue under the new Health Directive No. 16.

Summary of Face Mask Directive No. 4, now in effect:

  • Clarifies that masks are required in gyms and fitness facilities unless a customer has a medical condition that prevents him/her from wearing a mask, and if that is the case, a face shield is required.
  • Clarifies language for dining experiences to require a mask unless a customer is “seated and dining (eating/drinking).”

Early Treatment

An effective early treatment is available for persons who test positive and have the following risk factors:

  • Anyone over age 12 with obesity, chronic kidney disease, diabetes, or whose immunity is compromised by disease or prescription treatments.
  • Anyone age 12-17 with sickle cell disease; neuromuscular disorder; dependence on medical intervention, such as a breathing or feeding tube; or a lung disorder such as asthma that requires daily medication.
  • Anyone over age 55 with cardiovascular disease, hypertension, COPD or other chronic respiratory disease.
  • Anyone over age 65.

If you test positive, and have any of these risk factors, ask your health care provider about early COVID-19 treatments.


The Shelby County Health Department, in collaboration with the Shelby County Joint Task Force, has created an online hub for COVID-19. Visit for testing information, frequently asked questions and resources both communities and businesses.

COVID-19 Testing Availability

Shelby County has plenty of testing capacity available, and anyone who thinks they need a test should get one. Two of the community drive-through testing sites are now available to anyone, and no appointment is needed during their regular testing hours of 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday – Friday. Those sites are:

  • 2355 Appling City Cove
  • 1720 RKS Commercial Cove (off Lamar Avenue)

Flu Vaccination

The Health Department strongly recommends vaccination against influenza. It is possible to get the flu and COVID-19 at the same time, and that may increase the risk of severe illness. The flu vaccine will not protect you against COVID-19, but it is the best protection we have against seasonal influenza.

Health Department Hotline

The Health Department is committed to providing as much information as possible to the public as the COVID-19 situation continues to develop. The Health Department’s hotline number 901-222-MASK (6275), was activated March 12, 2020. Since that date, it has fielded thousands of calls from the general public about COVID-19.

Below are statistics about calls into the hotline since March 12, 2020, and a daily number of hotline calls fielded yesterday.

Health Department Call Center Statistics
Total Calls Received since 3/12/2020,098
Total Calls Answered 1/4/21622

The COVID-19 hotline is answered each day, including Saturday and Sunday, from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. After-hours calls are returned as soon as possible on the next business day.