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Mid-South coronavirus live updates: Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee gives update on COVID-19 response in the state

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


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

3:00 p.m. - Tennessee Governor Bill Lee gives an update on the COVID-19 response in the state.

Watch HERE.


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

2:30 p.m. - Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves gives an update on the COVID-19 response in the state. 

Watch HERE.

LIVE: Governor Tate Reeves COVID-19 Response

Mississippi is engaged in an unprecedented fight against COVID-19. Today’s briefing will provide an update on our efforts to slow the spread.

Posted by Tate Reeves on Tuesday, April 7, 2020
Wise words from one of Mississippi's greatest—Morgan Freeman.

Wise words from one of Mississippi's greatest—Morgan Freeman. #StayHome #StayHealthyMS

Posted by Tate Reeves on Tuesday, April 7, 2020


Tennessee reports more than 4,100 cases in state; 72 deaths

2:00 p.m. - The Tennessee Department of Health (TDH) is now reporting 4,138 cases of OVID-19 in the state, and 72 deaths. 408 people are hospitalized, and 466 have recovered.

TDH says 52,874 have been tested so far, and 48,736 were negative. TDH says 3,589 have tested negative in Shelby County.

Find more from the Tennessee Department of Health HERE.


One-day drive-thru testing by appointment in Tunica County

1:40 p.m. - One-day mobile collections for COVID-19 testing specimens are continuing statewide in Mississippi this week, including drive-through testing in Tunica County.

The one-day, appointment-only collections are 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. in locations that include:

  • Smith County: 131 Oil Field Road, Raleigh, Thursday, April 9
  • Webster County, 86 Government Ave., Eupora, Thursday, April 9
  • Tunica County, 3873 U.S. 61 North, Tunica, Friday, April 10 

Specimen collection previously was announced for Wednesday in Clinton at Traceway Park, 200 Soccer Row, also from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. and by appointment only.

The specimen collections and testing are free of charge. Mississippians who are screened as being at high risk for infection will give a specimen sample, via a nose swab, without exiting their vehicle.

Anyone experiencing symptoms related to COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, who feels they should be tested must first go through a free screening from a UMMC clinician through the C Spire Health UMMC Virtual COVID-19 Triage telehealth smartphone app. The fastest and easiest way to get screened and tested is with the C Spire Health app. It’s available from 8 a.m.-8 p.m.

Learn more HERE.


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

1:30 p.m. - Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson gives an update on the COVID-19 response in the state. 

Watch HERE.


Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves appears on ABC News' Pandemic Special Tuesday


MLGW waives cutoffs and late fees until further notice

12:40 p.m. - (NEWS RELEASE) - As we all adjust to this COVID-19 pandemic crisis, know that MLGW workers are on the ground keeping your utilities on.

In addition to suspending utility cutoffs indefinitely, we will waive late fees on any utility bills issued as of April 3 and all bills going forward until further notice.

We are encouraging our customers who are able to continue paying all or a portion of their bills as the amounts will accrue. If customers can't pay your bill, please call us at 901-544-6549.


Shelby Farms closed to vehicles for Easter Sunday

12:30 p.m. - (NEWS RELEASE) - Shelby Farms Park gates will be closed to vehicular traffic on Sunday, April 12, 2020. Visitors can still enter the Park on foot or bicycle, and the gates will reopen with regular hours on Monday, April 13, 2020.

Each year, Easter Sunday is one of the days that brings the highest volume of visitors to the Park. We're keeping the Park open but closing the gates to cars to protect public health by reducing crowds, which helps us in our effort to keep the Park open as a community resource. Shelby Farms Park Conservancy will continue to monitor visitorship and will adjust gate closures accordingly.

Coastal Fish Company is open on Easter Sunday and the gate from Walnut Grove Road to the restaurant will be open for food order pickup only. Cheffie's is closed on Easter Sunday.


Memphis/Shelby County COVID-19 Task Force update - now at 19 deaths

12:00 p.m. - There will be a COVID-19 Task Force update with Shelby County Mayor Lee Harris, Doug McGowen, Chief Operating Officer, City of Memphis, and the Shelby County Health Department. 

Officials say there are now 19 deaths in the county, up from 18 earlier Tuesday morning.

Watch HERE.


Mississippi reports almost 2,000 cases and 59 deaths

The Mississippi State Department of Health is reporting 177 new cases of COVID-19 in Mississippi, with eight new deaths. The total of coronavirus cases since March 11 is now 1,915, with 59 deaths.  

Desoto County has 140 COVID-19 cases so far, with one death.

Find more from the Mississippi State Department of Health HERE.


Shelby County Health Department reports more than 9,000 tested in the county

10:00 a.m. - The Shelby County Health Department has released the latest numbers on COVID-19 in the county. They say 9,354 people have been tested, with 845 positive cases. 18 people have died in the county.

Credit: WATN

You can find more from the Shelby County Health Department HERE.


Shelby County Mayor Lee Harris announces new countywide action line for residents to report executive order violations

Mayor Lee Harris announced beginning today, the Shelby County Mayor’s Action Center will receive calls regarding violations of the County’s health directive or executive order. All of Shelby County, including the municipalities and the unincorporated areas, are under Safer at Home orders. Only essential businesses may remain open to the public. All assemblies and gatherings of more than 10 people are prohibited.

To report non-compliance within a business or a violation of the mass gatherings ban, please call the Shelby County Mayor’s Action Center at 901-222-2300. The Mayor’s Action Center is answered Monday through Friday, from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.

Mayor Lee Harris: “In effort to assist the Joint COVID Task Force, we’ve expanded the capacity of the Mayors Action Center to receive calls regarding individuals or businesses violating the County’s health directive or our executive orders. Shelby County residents now have a centralized number to call if they need to report suspected violations. By reporting violations, residents play a critical role in helping us make sure everyone is doing their part to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus. Compliance of the current health directive and executive orders is necessary if we’re going to lower the risk of transmission and reduce the impact of the novel coronavirus on our community.”


City of Memphis solid waste delivery modifications


West Memphis Stay-at-Home Emergency Order begins Tuesday night at 9 p.m.


Mississippi Declared Major Disaster, Public Assistance Available

On April 5, 2020 Mississippi’s Major Disaster Declaration was approved by President Trump. This request covers all counties for the Coronavirus (COVID-19). At this time 142 entities within the state of Mississippi have applied for Public Assistance.

During a Presidential Disaster Declaration, Public Assistance programs can help provide federal grants to local and state governments, as well as certain non-profit organizations. This is not for individuals. Individual Assistance is still under review by FEMA.

FEMA provides the following guidance on the types of emergency protective measures that may be eligible under FEMA’s Public Assistance Program in accordance with the COVID-19 Emergency Declaration in order to ensure that resource constraints do not inhibit efforts to respond to this unprecedented disaster.


Shelby County has 56 new cases of COVID-19, 18 total deaths reported

8:15 a.m. - The City of Memphis reports 845 confirmed cases in Shelby County with 18 deaths. 

There are 3,802 cases in Tennessee; 65 deaths and 352 hospitalized.  There have been 356 recoveries across the state.

8,915 people have been tested in Shelby County; 47,350 tested in the state of Tennessee.


Kroger to limit customers starting Tuesday

Kroger says it will begin limiting how many customers can come into its stores starting Tuesday to promote social distancing. The stores will allow no more than half of the building's calculated capacity at any one time.

Kroger said it will monitor the number of customers per square foot in its stores using technology it already has to provide a count of customers entering and exiting the store.

Kroger also says it has started testing one-way aisles in some stores to reduce instances of customers passing one another.

The company says its stores will close early for Easter this Sunday so its workers can rest and be with their families.


Arkansas reports 79 new cases

6:15 a.m. - The Arkansas Department of Health now says there are 932 confirmed cases in the state.

According to the Arkansas Department of health, there are 16 deaths due to COVID-19.

Key facts to know:

  • 932 confirmed positive cases of COVID-19 in Arkansas 
  • 13,624 total tests
  • 12,692 negative test results
  • 16 reported deaths
  • 142 recoveries
  • 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. 

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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.