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Memphis mayor extends Safer-At-Home order, urges Memphians not let up on social distancing

News comes as national group of experts releases more optimistic model for Coronavirus impact in Tennessee.

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — In Memphis and Shelby County, as those on the area's COVID-19 Task Force learned more from the state about an additional field hospital location, members urged the public to not let up on social distancing, even with a new, more optimistic model released.

Monday, Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland ordered the extension of the city's Safer-at-Home order until April 21st. It comes as authorities and code enforcement work to weed out the small percentage of people and non-essential businesses still not following the rules.

"The time is now for all of us to double down on our actions," Mayor Strickland said. "The virus feeds on social interaction. We need to starve this virus."

The crackdown on social distancing and those in violation of the city's Safer-at-Home order, which took effect late last month, continues. Memphians reported around 140 non-essential businesses in violation to date.

Sunday, Memphis Police broke up 41 crowd violations in public, along with 15 churches. Crews shut down one car wash after people there failed to comply.

"It is going to take time, but we will get through this, but we must come together to stay apart," Mayor Strickland said.

That's why Mayor Strickland again urged Memphians to not let up.

This comes as a new model was released Monday from the Institute For Health Metrics and Evaluation - or IMHE – which predicted far few COVID-19 deaths and hospital needs in Tennessee compared to its most recent model last week.

"I think we certainly hope for the best but plan for the worst," Mayor Strickland said.

To that point, Mayor Strickland said Monday the area's COVID-19 Task Force is finalizing more testing locations - including mobile sites - in underserved areas.

The task force is also beginning to place those in Memphis' homeless population in available hotel rooms this month.

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Coronavirus in Context: 

The symptoms of coronavirus are similar to the flu or a bad cold. Symptoms include a fever, cough and shortness of breath, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

Most healthy people will have mild symptoms. A study of more than 72,000 patients by the Centers for Disease Control in China showed 80-percent of the cases there were mild.

But infections can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and even death, according to the World Health Organization. Older people with underlying health conditions are most at risk.

The CDC believes symptoms may appear anywhere from two to 14 days after being exposed.

Lower your risk

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces. 
  • If you are 60 or over and have an underlying health condition such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes or respiratory illnesses like asthma or COPD, the World Health Organization advises you to try to avoid crowds or places where you might interact with people who are sick.