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Health officials expect the first limited quantities of COVID-19 vaccines to reach Shelby County sometime after Dec. 15. About 22,500 initial vaccine doses will go to the health department for distribution, with another roughly 11,000 going to some area hospitals.

Karen Pulfer Focht

This story was produced in partnership with the Institute for Public Service Reporting, and is part of the series Surging in Silence, which is supported by the Pulitzer Center.

In a record-breaking year for homicides in Memphis, deaths attributed to domestic violence have nearly doubled compared to 2019. Police and advocates say the pandemic has turned many of the factors that fuel domestic violence, such as unemployment and isolation, into a powder keg for abusive relationships.

Miles Kovarik

Shelby County health officials have ordered new restrictions on restaurants, but have allowed their dining rooms—with capacity limits—to remain open for the time being.

In the health department’s latest directive, which takes effect Monday, restaurants and bars must return to 50 percent occupancy and are required to end service at 10 p.m. A two-hour cap on dining remains in place, along with no bar seating.

Just ahead of Thanksgiving, Shelby County health officials are taking a closer look at the so-called data-driven "tripwires" that could lead to new restrictions in places where people gather, from restaurants and gyms to sporting events. 

But political analyst Otis Sanford says the calculations surrounding stronger measures involve more than just numbers of infections and deaths. Politicans are balancing public health needs with the need to keep the economy moving and people employed. 

BTH: Suburban Mayors Address Incoming COVID Wave

Nov 20, 2020

COVID-19 cases continue to rise in the Mid-South. Keith McDonald, Mayor of Bartlett, believes another lockdown is on the horizon due to some individuals' reluctance to wear masks, especially when in large social gatherings. McDonald is among a growing number of Republican mayors urging Gov. Bill Lee to institute a statewide mask mandate.  


The most recent COVID-19 wave is arriving along with the holidays, and local health experts are urgently warning against not just big gatherings, but small ones as well. Officials are asking people to trim down their Thanksgiving rituals and only enjoy the traditionally large meal with those in your household.

Watch: Shelby County Joint Task Force

Nov 19, 2020

Watch the Shelby County Joint Task Force briefing on COVID-19, from November 19th (starting at 12:00PM).

Click here to watch.

Alexis Marshall / WPLN News (file)

Economists from around Tennessee presented an array of projections Wednesday to the State Funding Board, estimating how tax revenues will change over the next couple of years.

Professor William Fox from The University of Tennessee Knoxville tells officials he expects revenues to go up this year by about a half percent, but warns not to be overly optimistic.

“One needs to be cautious,” he says, “This is not suggesting that revenues are growing. It’s just that they’re almost keeping up with inflation.”

Cameron Rutt for WKNO

The process of relocating toxic waste—about 3.5 million cubic yards of it—will soon begin at a Southwest Memphis industrial site. For the next month, the public can comment on the Tennessee Valley Authority’s coal ash removal plan that has local environmentalists demanding strong oversight.

Tony Gonzalez / WPLN News (File)

Tennessee’s record-setting COVID cases have prompted the suspension of all jury trials through the end of January.

The order from the state’s Supreme Court came down Tuesday, reinstating rules that initially ran from March through most of May.

The justices say they’ve heard reports of lacking compliance, including COVID-positive people attending court.