Tuesday update

Good morning Memphis! I really didn’t think I was going to do a blog post today, because I had not had a decent Internet connection in six days. Today, however, it seems much better. I am not sure if that is because Xfinity found the problem and fixed it, or because it’s 6:19 AM and whoever has been flooding the network with traffic hasn’t signed on yet.

There have been several big news stories, and they’re all related. COVID-19 cases in Shelby County continued to spike over the weekend, with 385 being reported Saturday. Dr. Haushalter said the huge number was partly due to “backlog,” but that’s a lot no matter the reason. The 7-day moving average of case count hopped above 150. Positivity rate from testing has moved from 4.5% (May 10-16) to 9% (June 7-13). 10% is the number which Health Department director Dr. Haushalter said would concern her, and we are moving in that direction. (View the data)

The spike in cases, the spike in hospitalization, and articles in the Daily Memphian about restaurants and grocery stores’ lax following of Phase 2 re-opening requirements prompted Commissioner Tami Sawyer to write a letter requesting a roll back to Phase 1, or a modification to Phase 2. (View the phases – some sources are claiming that a roll back to Phase 1 would reduce restaurants and retail to 25%, but that’s not what the city website indicates.)

County mayor Lee Harris said later in the day yesterday that we don’t have to move back to Phase 1 if we do better about wearing our masks and social distancing. Harris and city mayor Strickland unveiled a new Mask Up Memphis and LIVE campaign yesterday  This campaign will distribute masks and preventative literature to “underprivileged” areas of Memphis. The website has a list of locations where you can get masks. The Downtown location is the North Main bus terminal at Main and A.W. Willis.

I hope we stay in Phase 2, but that’s a preference, not an opinion – I don’t have the qualifications to state an opinion on what we “should” do. I would agree that people have tended to put social distancing and masking on the back burner a bit since around Memorial Day, around the time the protests displaced COVID-19 as the top news item.

I’m doing my part to prevent the spread of COVID-19, thanks to Paula Raiford. I saw her yesterday, and she said, “Hang on… let me run out to my car.” She came back with a gift for me:

A pocket-sized Paula & Raiford’s-branded bottle of hand sanitizer! Stay safe and sexy! I put it on my keychain. Thanks Paula! Hand sanitizer is a good backup to have for times when you don’t have access to soap and water to wash your hands for 20 seconds.

Follow the City of Memphis on Facebook to receive a notification when the COVID-19 task force’s press conference starts today around noon. I have a feeling today’s conference will be interesting.

Catherine & Mary’s re-opens for business today and will be open for dinner Tuesday-Saturday for dinner 5 to 10 PM. Visit their website for a list of precautions they are taking to keep diners safe.

The Downtown Memphis Commission is looking to hire a captain for its Blue Suede Brigade team, the folks in the blue polos who provide safety and hospitality Downtown.

Chinese Connection Dub Embassy performs outside City Hall at 7:30 tonight. Attendees are asked to wear masks and social distance.

The King Beez play B.B King’s tonight at 8:30. So good to have live music back on Beale!

Primas Bakery + Boutique will have Churros to Go Friday from 12:30 to 2:30 PM.

That’s the news for today. I have an early-morning meeting so I have to be at work an hour earlier than usual. Back tomorrow with more.