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Mid-South coronavirus live updates: Memphis Mayor urges religious leaders to provide services only through online streaming

With more news coming in every hour about the coronavirus, this post will update you with the latest you need to know.
Credit: WATN

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — COVID-19 is a new strain of coronavirus and cases are spreading around the Mid-South since the virus arrived in the United States in February.

At Local 24, our coverage of the coronavirus is rooted in Facts, not Fear. Visit our coronavirus section for comprehensive coverage, find out what you need to know about COVID-19, learn more about the symptoms, and keep tabs on the cases around the world here.

We will continue to track the most important coronavirus elements relating to Memphis and the Mid-South on this page. Refresh often for new information


Memphis Mayor urges religious leaders to provide services only through online streaming

4:00 p.m. - In his daily newsletter, Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland is urging religious leaders to provide services only through online streaming, especially as Easter and Passover are upon us.

Read more HERE.

Easter and Passover are two of the largest religious holidays in the world. They serve as a reminder that during the darkest of times we have been delivered from darkness into the light-a reminder of hope instead of despair. Considering this, I strongly encourage our religious leaders in Memphis and Shelby County to remain vigilant ...


Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee gives update on COVID-19 response in the state

3:00 p.m. - Watch HERE.


Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves gives update on COVID-19 response in the state

2:30 p.m. - Watch HERE.

LIVE: Governor Tate Reeves COVID-19 Response

Mississippi is a strong state—we will rally together and get through this. We are providing an update on the COVID-19 response. Watch for messages on churches and schools.

Posted by Tate Reeves on Wednesday, April 8, 2020


Tennessee reports more than 4,300 positive COVID-19 cases in state; 79 deaths

2:00 p.m. - The Tennessee Department of Health (TDH) reports 4,362 people have tested positive for COVDI-19 in the state. 79 have died.

TDH says 449 have been hospitalized, and 592 have recovered.

56,618 people have been tested in the state. 52,256 of those were negative for the virus.

The TDH has also broken down the numbers by race, ethnicity, and sex. You can see the full breakdown HERE.


Memphis Health Center to kick-off appointment-only, drive-thru testing Friday

1:45 p.m. - (NEWS RELEASE) - Memphis Health Center, Inc. (MHC), a comprehensive, federally qualified community health center. On Friday, April 10, 2020, from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m., MHC will kick-off by appointment only, COVID-19 drive-thru testing site, in the parking lot of its Crump Blvd. location (360 EH Crump Blvd, Memphis, TN 38126).

According to the Chief Executive Officer of MHC, Willeen W. Hastings, “In keeping with our mission, we are doing everything we can to help control and contain the impact of COVID-19. Screening and testing as many people as possible to identify positive individuals and provide the appropriate care as needed for all people in need regardless of ability to pay.

There is no referral needed to get a test, however, an appointment must be made.  Individuals seeking a test must call 901.261.2042 and answer a series of screening questions to determine if they are eligible. Following the kick off this Friday, ongoing testing will be done on Monday and Wednesday from 5:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.

“Our goal is to provide comfort and support in every interaction,” said, Melvinie Seymore, Chief Medical Officer at MHC, “When we decided to pursue drive-thru COVID-19 testing, our intent was to make testing easy and accessible for community members who were experiencing symptoms and likely, heightened anxiety. Our drive-thru test does require a brief symptom screening, however, we do not require a doctor’s order, which is another way we hope to eliminate barriers for those seeking care.”

For more information, please visit www.memphishealthcenter.org.


15 Memphis Police Officers have tested positive for COVID-19

1:30 p.m. - A City of Memphis spokesperson says, to, date 15 Memphis Police officers have tested positive for COVID-19. 

Monday, a Shelby County Sheriff's Office spokesperson confirmed 14 SCSO employees tested positive so far. 


Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson gives update on COVID-19 response in the state

1:30 p.m. - Watch HERE.


Memphis & Shelby County COVID-19 Task Force update

12:00 p.m. - COVID-19 Joint Task Force update with Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland and the Shelby County Health Department. 

Watch HERE.


Mississippi reports more than 2,000 cases & 67 deaths in state; Desoto has 144 cases & 1 death

10:05 a.m. - The Mississippi State Department of Health is reporting 88 new cases of COVID-19 in Mississippi, with eight new deaths. The total of coronavirus cases since March 11 is now 2,003, with 67 deaths.  

There are a total of 144 cases in Desoto County, with 1 death.

Find more from the Mississippi State Department of Health HERE.


Nearly 900 COVID-19 cases in Shelby County; 21 deaths

10:00 a.m - The Shelby County Health Department updated the number of deaths to 21 in the county.

Credit: Shelby County Health Department

Find more from the Shelby County HealtH Department HERE.


9:50 a.m. - The City of Memphis says there are now 897 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Shelby County as of Wednesday morning. There are 19 deaths, as of Tuesday afternoon.

9,913 tests have been administered in Shelby County, with just over 9% positive.

In Tennessee, there were 4,138 cases confirmed as of Tuesday afternoon, with 72 deaths. 52,874 people have been tested in the state, with 7.83% testing positive.

Find more from the City of Memphis COVID-19 site HERE.


Arkansas reports 1,000 confirmed cases

9:00 a.m. - The Arkansas Department of Health reported 1,000 confirmed cases in the state with 18 deaths.

Key facts to know:

  • 1,000 confirmed positive cases of COVID-19 in Arkansas 
  • 14,530 total tests
  • 13,530 negative test results
  • 18 reported deaths
  • 201 recoveries
  • 61 cases in Crittenden County
  • 5 cases in Cross County
  • 6 cases in Poinsett County
  • 29 cases in St. Francis County
  • Governor Asa Hutchinson announced Monday, Arkansas public schools will be closed for the remainder of the school year, but online instruction will continue

Find more from the Arkansas Department of Health HERE. 

Watch Governor Hutchinson's Tuesday news conference here:


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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.