MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - On Sunday it will be one year since health officials learned of the first confirmed COVID-19 case in Shelby County. Since there have been nearly 86,000 people infected here.
While health, city and county officials are certainly reflecting as we hit the year mark, the work to get us out of this pandemic isn’t taking a break.
Thousands of vaccinations continued Friday including those for teachers.
Now, more than 35,000 vaccine appointments have opened up through the City of Memphis.
“We had never been confronted with an infectious disease spreading this rapidly,” Shelby County Health Department David Sweat said.
It’s been a year of infections, masks, lockdowns and health directives.
On March 7, 2020, Shelby County Health Officials got word of the first confirmed COVID-19 case in the county. The next day they made the announcement to the public.
Sweat said there’s been an innovation from the beginning.
“We didn’t have a lot of things in place, no community in America had things in place that we needed to do,” Sweat said. “We didn’t have the infrastructure for testing. We had to invent that.”
Shelby County saw major surges in the summer and the fall nearly filling all the county’s hospital beds. Going into the holidays, a glimmer of hope, as the first COVID-19 vaccines were administered.
In nearly three months more than 164,000 people have received at least one dose of the vaccine.
“We’re really glad today came. We’re really glad,” Achievement School District Interim Superintendent Lisa Settles said.
The county is now vaccinating those 65 and older and several priority groups including healthcare workers, teachers, childcare staff and first responders.
Two more vaccination events Friday provided shots to the staff at the Achievement School district as well as Collierville and Germantown Schools.
For more stories on the COVID-19 pandemic, visit wmcactionnews5.com/coronavirus.
“The kids have handled it really, really well,” Deanna Goss with Collierville Schools said. “The extra protection has helped teachers feel more comfortable in the classrooms.”
You can’t ignore the worst of what the year brought us.
More than 1,500 Shelby County residents have died of COVID-19. There have been major economic losses and an investigation that rocked the department leading the county’s pandemic response.
About 2,400 vaccine doses were found wasted by the Shelby County Health Department which spurred the City of Memphis to take charge of vaccine distribution.
“I think we’ve learned we’re resilient, we’re flexible and we have the ability to pivot,” Sweat said.
To look at the appointments available by the City of Memphis visit here.
For more on who’s next to receive the vaccine visit here.