Shelby Co. health officials continue to fight pandemic in new year

Fighting the pandemic in Shelby Co. in 2021

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - New Year’s Eve celebrations looked a lot different than in years past, but Shelby County health leaders were cracking down on large gatherings as they continue to administer the vaccine on New Year’s Day.

New Year, same message from Shelby County Health leaders:

“Folks just do the right thing,” Doug McGowen, City of Memphis, Chief Operating Officer, said.

Ahead of the New Year’s Eve Celebrations, Shelby County Health officials warned they would shut down businesses that were not in compliance with the county health directive.

“I just want to put all those who were planning to have events after 10 on notice that that is in violation of the health directive, and we will be out patrolling and enforcing to the best of our ability,” Bruce Randolph, Shelby County Health Department, said.

Friday, Shelby County health officials said through those patrols, they found no health directive violations and as a result, no businesses were closed.

Now the focus remains on moving forward, and a big part of that is vaccinations.

As of Dec. 29, more than 79,000 Tennesseans have been vaccinated.

Shelby County Health Director Alisa Haushalter said Thursday, the health department has vaccinated more than 3,700 people with a broader group of people eligible for the vaccine in the new year.

Shelby County Mayor Harris says he’s optimistic the vaccine will bring a sense of normalcy in the new year.

“I’m just hopeful that in this new year, we will have hope given that there has been many vaccines identified, I hope that will bring the spread of COVID-19 to a close once and for all,” Harris said.

The health department did confirm today that they will continue to check other businesses throughout the holiday weekend to be sure they are following the health directive, which includes capacity restrictions and closing by 10 p.m.

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