We have recently announced the move into Phase 2 of our Back-to-Business framework. This is a sign of solid progress. In fact, take a moment to think about just two of our indicators of progress in light of what’s happening right now.
First, recall that one of our four indicators of progress is public health capacity. On Monday the Shelby County Commission approved our proposed massive expansion plan for the Shelby County Health Department. This expansion includes 141 new positions in the Health Department. These new positions will have one single focus, fighting the spread of COVID-19.
Second, another one of our four indicators is hospital capacity. Governor Lee was recently in town to cut the ribbon on our overflow hospital facility. It is located on Union Avenue in the building that formerly housed the Commercial Appeal. This effort, which has been led by the State of Tennessee, will add up to 400 hospital beds to our current capacity. This building is an overflow facility which will come on-line only if the need arises.
Even though we have moved into Phase 2, we still have additional work to do. The last phase, Phase 3, of the Back-to-Business plan will ultimately allow very large gatherings of up to 250 residents. That’s why we plan to be in Phase 2 for the next 21 days, not 14 days. This will give us more time to consider the data as we move slowly to reopen the economy.
We will move forward. But, we will move forward carefully and responsibly.
As we enter Phase 2, I am grateful for the hard work and many sacrifices of the residents of Shelby County. Because of a collective willingness to do all that we can to reduce the spread and embrace new skills, like social distancing, we have seen solid progress. We all played a role to get to this important mile marker. We all have a role to play to get to the next one.
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