Wednesday update

Today is National Bacon Day. Here are a few thoughts on how to celebrate:

  • The “Usual” biscuit sandwich at Sunrise Memphis, with Petit Jean Farm bacon, egg, and cheddar
  • Huey’s – add bacon to any of their burgers. I like to get the Huey Burger made with the black bean patty because it tastes so good, but then add bacon to remind myself that I ain’t no damn vegetarian
  • The Blue Cheese & Bacon, Maple Bacon, or Yonge Street burger from Kooky Canuck (the Yonge Street would be my pick if you can’t decide)
  • One of Westy’s wild rice dishes topped with bacon. Just the simple wild rice, bacon, with cheddar dish would be enough for me. Perjorie T. Roll would add broccoli since she likes foods that are the same color as her hair.
  • And, of course, let’s not forget there’s a Wendy’s Downtown (Danny Thomas at Washington) where you can get a Baconator or a Breakfast Baconator

Felicia Suzanne’s has a New Year’s Eve dinner at home menu. Order by 2 PM December 31, pick up between 3 and 6 PM.

Ja Morant will miss 3-5 weeks with an ankle sprain. Thanks, 2020.

From USA Today: How the Nashville bombing exposed weaknesses in communications networks

From the Daily Memphian: Why the Liberty Bowl selected Army. It was a perfect storm. The bowl invited lovable loser Tennessee because their fans would buy a lot of tickets. But then Tennessee had a COVID-19 outbreak and had to withdraw, leaving Big 12 rep good ole West Virginny without an opponent. Around the same time, the Independence Bowl got canceled, leaving Army without a place to play. The Liberty Bowl, having wanted Army for years but normally tied to its SEC vs. Big 12 affiliations, jumped at the chance. Army still gets to play in a bowl whose name honors America’s heritage. Good ole West Virginny gets an opponent. Tennessee gets an ending to the season commensurate with the quality of its athletic program.

Arkansas won’t be bowlin’ this year. TCU had to cancel their Texas Bowl trip due to COVID issues and it’s too late to find a replacement.

The Tigers managed to be the second worst team on the floor last night, getting a sloppy win over USF 58-57.

From Fox 13: Beale Street New Year’s will go down in history, and not for good reasons. I absolutely do not recommend being on the streets of Downtown Memphis at midnight tomorrow. When businesses close up for the night, the thugs take over, and due to COVID businesses close at 10 PM these days. Best course of action is to skip the New Year’s Eve celebration this year, but if you must party, get your food and liquor and get where you need to be before 10, and stay there until the sun comes up.

May want to take a jacket for the commute home this afternoon, even if it doesn’t feel like you need one this morning:

The Grizzlies play the Boston Celtics at 6:30. Locally, you can catch the game on Fox Sports Southeast.

Florida plays Oklahoma in the Cotton Bowl tonight at 7 on ESPN. That should be a good game.

And now, a word from the people whose job it is to make sure nobody has any fun!

Recap: 12/29 COVID-19 task force press conference

Health Department Director Dr. Alisa Haushalter began. She informed us that this week there will be a press conference on Thursday as well as Tuesday.

There were only 371 reported cases today, but Dr. H warned us not to read a lot into that. It’s more likely a product of not many people getting tested over the holiday weekend than it is number of cases decreasing. They’ll watch the numbers carefully the next several days.

Most frequent places of employment for those who had COVID:

  • Manufacturing/warehouse industry 23%
  • Health care 21%
  • Schools 11%

There’s plenty of testing locally, so please get tested as often as you like. If you test positive, be sure you follow all isolation requirements.

Dr. H said they continue to do contact tracing even though the health department’s focus has shifted over to vaccinations.

She listed those in the 1-A-1 priority category for vaccines: anyone who works in a hospital or freestanding emergency department, staff who have direct patient care or contact, home care, anyone who does COVID-19 testing, health care in schools, staff and residents of long-term facilities, first responders who have direct exposure.

Within that category, those over 65 or with comorbid conditions are prioritzed.

Dr. H then answered a few common questions about the vaccines.

  • Are the vaccines safe? They came to market so rapidly. All vaccines approved in the U.S. by the FDA must go through a rigorous trial process, and that includes the COVID vaccines. They have come to market quicker than most, but they are safe.
  • Are there severe side effects? A small portion of trial patients exhibited mild side effects. This is normal for any vaccine.
  • Do the vaccines contain live virus? No, this is a new form of vaccine called mRNA that does not use live virus.

Dr. Bruce Randolph, the county health officer, came up to talk about Health Directive 16.

If your business is not one of the exceptions covered in the health directive, then you should be closed. Primarily entertainment and recreation venues are closed by the directive: museums, zoos, tourist attractions, arcades, movie theaters, hookah lounges, and cigar lounges to name a few. However, if one of the aforementioned businesses also serves food, it may do so provided it obeys the restrictions on restaurants.

Dr. Randolph reminded everyone that the stupid requirement for restaurants to close at 10 applies to New Year’s Eve.

Live entertainment or performances are not permitted at restaurants at this time. Hmmm. I wonder how aware restaurants are of this regulation, buried deep in the health directive. Several of them are advertising live music for NYE on Facebook.

Dr. Randolph reminded employers that they are required to supply personal protective equipment (PPE) for their employees to the degree that their profession requires. For personal care businesses like salons, this could include a minimum of a mask and a face shield. Other professions could require an N95.

David Williams, director of Vitalant, formerly LifeBlood, spoke next. He reminded us that COVID restrictions have not reduced the need for blood donations, but COVID has canceled blood drives all over the country. Schedule an appointment to donate at one of Vitalant’s 5 centers and receive a special T-shirt through the 7th.

Dr. H was asked about internal followup of the investigation of the In Love Memphis nightclub closure last month. She said they always look for opportunities to educate health department staff and improve processes. There was some confusion as to whether space inside a tent was considered indoors or outdoors. She also wished the club’s closure would have come sooner, but clarification was needed among department officials as well as legal staff.

Dr. H was asked who would come next after the 1-A-1 group was done being vaccinated. She said that because of the population size of the county, it may take a little while to get 1-A-1 done; stay patient and stay tuned. As for the next groups:

  • 1-A-2: All other healthcare workers with direct patient exposure, outpatient providers, pharmacists and their staff, patient transport, urgent care centers, environmental staff, dentists and dental assistants, behavioral health providers
  • 1-B: People with two or more high-risk factors

That’s it for today’s post. Back tomorrow with more news.