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Mid-South coronavirus live updates: MS Gov. Tate Reeves issues statewide shelter-in-place order

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

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 


Desoto County Supervisors respond to Gov. Reeves' shelter-in-place order

5:20 p.m. - Desoto County Supervisor held a news conference on Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves' shelter-in-place order.

Posted by DeSoto County Government on Wednesday, April 1, 2020


Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves issues statewide shelter-in-place order

LIVE: Governor Tate Reeves COVID-19 Response

We are announcing a “shelter in place” order that will apply to the entire state of Mississippi.

Posted by Tate Reeves on Wednesday, April 1, 2020

3:30 p.m. - From Mississippi Governor's Office: Today, Governor Tate Reeves signed a new executive order establishing a statewide shelter-in-place for Mississippi to slow the spread of COVID-19 and protect the health of all who call our state home.

The Mississippi Department of Health determined that our state has now reached a critical point in the cycle of the outbreak, and Governor Reeves announced his decision to issue the shelter-in-place order for Mississippi at a press conference this afternoon.

Mississippi is rapidly increasing testing and strictly enforcing quarantines for anyone that investigators believe has been exposed to the virus. The shelter-in-place will begin this Friday, April 3, 2020 at 5:00 PM and be in effect until Monday, April 20, 2020 at 8:00 AM.

You can view the press conference live on our Facebook page here.

Here are Governor Reeves' remarks from today's press conference:

GOVERNOR REEVES: This is a somber time—for our country and our state. We are all in grave danger, from coast to coast. As leaders, our top priority is and always will be the safety of our citizens. 

Every day, for the last several weeks, I have asked our health experts whether it is time for the ultimate action of a “shelter in place” order statewide. Yesterday, for the first time, we got the answer we had been anticipating. They told me we are now at the point in Mississippi’s cycle where such drastic restrictions are required. Today is the day. We are announcing a shelter-in-place order. It will go into effect on Friday at 5:00 PM.

I will let our top health official, Dr. Dobbs, explain his thought process behind the timing. I just want to offer a simple message to Mississippi:

This will not be easy for anyone, but we believe it is right. We know that there are many people who are scared: wondering what this means for their wages and their ability to put food on the table. We are here for you and working hard to help. Mississippi will not allow you to fall without a hand to help you back up.

We know that there are some who still do not have a healthy fear of this virus. They are wrong, and they are risking lives if they do not take this seriously.

This order will be enforced. It will be taken very, very seriously. It will not be forever. We will get through this and open our state back up as soon as our health experts tell me it is wise.

Our goal is to prevent our health care system from being overwhelmed. I pray that all of our orders and preparations will be enough. We believe that this is the right tool at the right time to save lives.

Today, this is the best course of action for Mississippi. I’ll turn it over to Dr. Dobbs for some more information.

In this latest executive order, the Governor lays out the guidelines of the statewide shelter-in-place to slow the spread of COVID-19, including:

  • Individuals are to stay at home except for the limited allowances in the executive order.
  • When outside of their homes, people must follow social distancing guidelines by maintaining a 6-foot distance from others and avoid groups of 10 or more.
  • Evictions are suspended, though people are still required to pay any rent or make any mortgage payments.
  • All nonessential businesses are to stop all activities other than those necessary for minimum operations (e.g. payroll, health insurance, security) and enabling employees to work from home.
  • Social and other non-essential gatherings in groups of more than 10 people must be cancelled or rescheduled.
  • Restaurants and bars may only remain open for drive-thru, curbside, and/or delivery service.
  • People may leave their homes only to perform essential activities, such as caring for someone in the vulnerable population, getting food or necessary supplies, and working for an essential business.
  • Individual outdoor recreation is encouraged, but not group recreation or activities such as soccer or basketball games.


Latest update from Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland

2:45 p.m. - Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland posted his daily COVID-19 newsletter HERE.


Tennessee reports more than 2,600 COVID-19 cases in state, 24 deaths total

2:00 p.m. - The Tennessee Department of Health (TDH) now reports 2,683 total cases of COVID-19 in the state, and 24 deaths. 

TDH says 137 people have recovered. 200 patients are currently hospitalized.

32,452 people have been tested in total, and 29,769 were negative for COVID-19. TDH says 2,397 of those negative tests are in Shelby County.

Find more from the Tennessee Department of Health HERE.

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Shelby County Health Department releases map showing zip codes affected by COVID-19

Credit: Shelby County Health Department
These numbers are current as of March 31, 2020. - Shelby County Health Department


Mississippi reports 136 new cases in state, with 2 new deaths

10:15 a.m.- The Mississippi State Department of Health says there are 136 new cases of COVID-19 in the state, with two new deaths. The total of coronavirus cases since March 11 is now 1,037, with 22 deaths.

There are 94 total cases in Desoto County, with 1 death there. 

Find more from the Mississippi State Department of Health HERE.


Shelby County Health Department says 22 people tested at local nursing home

10:00 a.m. - The Shelby County Health Department confirms the latest total of 497 cases in the county, with three deaths. 5,506 people have been tested so far in Shelby County.

The department is also doing an investigation into a local nursing home.

The Health Department’s investigation of an outbreak at Carriage Court of Memphis assisted living facility continues.

  • The Health Department has tested 22 persons at the facility, including residents and staff.
  • Of that number, 20 results have been returned, and 2 are still pending.
  • Of the 20 results, 4 were positive and 16 were negative.
  • Prior to the Health Department’s involvement, 2 residents were tested by other health providers and found to be positive for COVID-19.
  • To date, there are a total of 6 positive cases at the facility, including 5 residents and 1 employee.

Carriage Court of Memphis is taking appropriate actions to contain the virus. The employee who tested positive is recovering at home in isolation.

Find more from the Shelby County Health Department HERE.


Shelby County has 92 new cases of COVID-19

8:10 a.m. - The City of Memphis is reporting, 497 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Shelby County.

As of 2:00 p.m. Tuesday, there were 2,239 positive cases in Tennessee, with 23 deaths. 175 hospitalizations in Tennessee.  


Arkansas now has 564 confirmed COVID-19 cases in the state

Key facts to know:

  • 564 confirmed positive cases of COVID-19 in Arkansas 
  • Crittenden County has 29 confirmed cases
  • Poinsett County has 5 confirmed  cases
  • 7,433 total tested
  • 6,869 negative test results
  • 41 recoveries
  • 8 reported deaths
  • All public schools are closed until April 17

For the latest on cases in Arkansas, click here.


Memphis Police change how they respond to minor vehicle crashes due to COVID-19

(FROM MPD Facebook) - In extending our efforts to contain the spread of the novel Coronavirus (COVID-19), MPD has established another way to safely serve the citizens of Memphis by providing an alternate way to report minor vehicle crashes.

If you are involved in a crash, and there are no injuries, no alcohol or drugs involved, and no wreckers are needed, it is not necessary for an officer or Police Service Technician (PST) to physically make the scene.


1. What is a minor vehicle crash?

A minor vehicle crash is when there are no injuries, no one is under the influence of drugs or alcohol, and all vehicles are drivable.

2. What do you do if you have been involved in a minor crash?

Exchange names, addresses, phone numbers, insurance information, and tag numbers of the vehicles involved.

Take photographs of the damage.

Report the crash over the phone by calling a Memphis Police Station or MPD’s Traffic Office within five (5) days of the crash.

3. Does it matter which police precinct you call?

No, you can call any precinct to file a minor vehicle crash report.

  • Traffic Office: 901-636-4679
  • Old Allen Station: 901-636-4399
  • Raines Station: 901-636-4599
  • Mt. Moriah Station: 901-636-4199
  • Crump Station: 901-636-4600
  • Tillman Station: 901-636-3000
  • North Main Station: 901-636-4099
  • Airways Station: 901-636-4800
  • Appling Farms Station: 901-636-4400
  • Ridgeway Station: 901-636-4500

4. How do I get a copy of my crash report?

If you need to obtain a copy of a police report of any kind, you will need to call Central Records at 901-636-3650. A Central Records clerk will assist you in getting the requested documents. Or, you can file an Open Records Request through the City of Memphis portal by going to https://memphistn.gov/…/pub…/submit_a_public_records_request

5. When will an officer or PST make the scene of a crash?

An officer or PST will make the scene of a vehicle crashes when:

  • A confrontation occurs on the scene
  • Injuries are reported
  • Drugs or alcohol are involved
  • A driver refuses to share information
  • If a vehicle is disabled

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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.