Shelby County health leaders reflect on challenges of 2020, goals for new year amid ongoing pandemic

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Shelby County health officials gave an update Thursday on the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

SCHD Director Alisa Haushalter said 761 new cases were reported in the last 24 hours.

891 people have died. 14 of those were reported in the last 24 hours.

Haushalter said the positivity rate is currently above 12 percent.

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The reproductive rate is above one percent.

Funeral directors will now be able to receive the COVID-19 vaccine through the SCHD’s two vaccination locations, Haushalter said.

The Lindenwood site will not be open on New Year’s Day.

Dr. Bruce Ranolph said the community is encouraged to ring in the New Year in a safe way.

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Any events occurring after 10 p.m. are in violation of the current health directive.

The SCHD will be out enforcing the curfew and regulations of the health directive, Randolph said.

Citizens are encouraged to stay home as much as possible and avoid crowds and gatherings.

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Chief Doug McGowan reflected on 2020 amid the ongoing pandemic.

McGowan said while Tennessee is a hotspot for the virus, Shelby County remains in the bottom five of the 95 counties in the state.

McGowan said the community has come together to fight the virus.

Over $20 million of support has been given out to local citizens this year through the COVID-19 Regional Response Fund.

This money helped people pay their rent, get food, helped small businesses and provided many other services.

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The Mid-South Food Bank has provided over 40 million meals to families in 2020.

McGowan called the COVID-19 vaccines a “light at the end of the tunnel.”