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Mid-South coronavirus live updates: Shelby County now reports 17 deaths from COVID-19

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


Shelby County Health Department now reports 17 deaths from COVID-19

5:00 p.m. - The Shelby County Health Department Monday afternoon updated the numbers of deaths from COVID-19 to 17 total in the county.


Drive-thru evaluation to be offered in Helena-West Helena

4:30 p.m. - (NEWS RELEASE) - A free community drive-thru evaluation clinic for COVID-19 will be conducted by the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. Friday, April 10 at 1804 Martin Luther King Jr. Drive on the Interstate 49 bypass. The clinic is in the old John Deere Building across from the Helena Regional Medical Center on Highway 49B.

You do not have to be a UAMS patient to be seen. This evaluation clinic is for anyone experiencing flu-like symptoms, including cough, fever, shortness of breath. Not everyone who is sick needs to be tested

When you arrive at the drive-thru triage evaluation area, please turn off your engine and stay inside your car.

UAMS physicians will evaluate you to see if you need to be tested. Depending on the outcome of the screening, some people who are screened will not be tested. Test results may take several days and anyone tested will receive a phone call about their test results.

An online screening tool is available at uamshealth.com/healthnow. Phone screening is available through the UAMS Health hotline at 1-800-632-4502. If you are well or are not worried about whether you may have a COVID-19 illness, continue to stay home, wash your hands regularly, and practice social distancing of at least six feet when in public.


Desoto County administration employee tests positive for COVID-19

4:00 p.m. - (DESOTO COUNTY NEWS RELEASE) - On Monday, April 6, The DeSoto County Board of Supervisors was notified an employee working in the Administration Building tested positive for COVID-19. The employee last worked on Wednesday, April 1. The employee has not been hospitalized and will remain at home away from others until they recover.

Co-workers who have been in direct contact with this employee have been notified. The employee does not generally work with the public.

Here are the steps the county is taking: 

  • The Desoto County Administration building will be closed to the public and employees Tuesday, April 7 to allow for outside crews to sanitize the entire building.
  • The building will reopen to essential employees only at 8:00 am, April 8.
  • Employees will have their temperature checked at the door and will be given masks.
  • The building will be closed to the public through April 19.

Essential County services will continue with modifications:

  • Homestead Exemption: Through April 19, residents can go to the administration building and call a phone number that will be posted on the door.
  • Vehicle Registration: Renewals can be completed via mail or online by going to Desotocountyms.gov. There are also drop boxes at the Olive Branch office located at 6597 BJ Chain Drive. Another office is located in Southaven at 8525 Hwy 51 North.
  • New Vehicle Registration: Customers go to either the Southaven or Olive Branch location. Once there, they need to call the number on the door for assistance.

We will continue to follow Department of Health and CDC guidance and take every precaution to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Statement from the DeSoto County Board of Supervisors – the governing body of DeSoto County: “These are trying times for us all. We want everyone to know health and safety of our citizens, elected leaders, and employees is our priority. It is vital everyone to follow the Governor’s Shelter-In-Place Executive order. By sheltering-in-place we are all doing our part to flatten the curve which will give doctors, nurses, and the sick every fighting chance. Together, we face uncertainties. And it is together we show our resilience and do what is needed to protect our family, friends, and our community. We are DeSoto Strong.”


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

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


Christ Community Health Services expands COVID-19 testing

2:45 p.m. (CHRIST COMMUNITY HEALTH SERVICES) - Beginning Monday, April 6th, Christ Community Health Services will expand COVID19 testing to 200 a day at the Third Street clinic by appointment only and the clinic time will change to Monday through Saturday from 2pm-4pm.

Since testing began on March 21, Christ Community has tested over 400 individuals and assessed over 2,000 potential cases over the phone. The need to provide COVID-19 testing for individuals in the underserved areas of Memphis and Shelby County is great; therefore, the organization is increasing testing availability.

Anyone wishing to be assessed to be tested, please text “Test2020” to 91999 or call 901-842-3160 to discuss getting a test.


Memphis Zoo statement after tiger at Bronx Zoo tested positive for COVID-19

2:45 p.m. - (MEMPHIS ZOO STATEMENT) On Sunday, April 5th Memphis Zoo officials learned about a Bronx Zoo tiger testing positive for Covid-19. The health and well-being of the animals and staff at Memphis Zoo continues to be our top priority.  

“We remain vigilant, implementing the safest practices possible for our animals and care teams,” said senior Memphis Zoo veterinarian Dr. Felicia Knightly. 

Currently, we are not testing any of our animals for coronavirus and none of our animals are showing any symptoms of this virus. Memphis Zoo continues to follow current Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines and recommendations for businesses by encouraging staff to stay home if unwell, emphasizing respiratory etiquette and hand hygiene, and routinely cleaning all surfaces.  

Memphis Zoo has been closed to the public since March 17, 2020. 

The United States Department of Agriculture advises that anyone sick with the coronavirus should minimize contact with animals, including pets, until more information is known about the virus.  Have other questions about Covid-19 and animals? Please visit the USDA’s website regarding this matter.   https://www.aphis.usda.gov/aphis/newsroom/news/sa_by_date/sa-2020/ny-zoo-covid-19 


Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves gives update on COVID-19 response

2:30 p.m. - Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves is giving a briefing on the COVID-19 response in the state. You can watch HERE.

LIVE: Governor Tate Reeves COVID-19 Response

We are entering the most painful weeks of our COVID-19 curve. We are outlining our plan to ensure Mississippians get the care they need—even as we hit that dangerous peak.

Posted by Tate Reeves on Monday, April 6, 2020


Tennessee reports more than 3,800 COVID-19 cases, 65 deaths, in state

2:00 p.m. - The Tennessee Department of Health (TDH) now reports 3,802 COVID-19 cases in the state, with 65 total deaths. 352 people are hospitalized and 356 have recovered.

TDH says 47,350 people have been tested in the state, with 43,548 negative for the virus.

Find the full breakdown from TDH HERE.

Situation Summary: In December 2019, Chinese health authorities identified an outbreak of pneumonia associated with a novel, or new, coronavirus which has resulted in thousands of confirmed cases in China. Additional cases have been identified in a growing number of other international locations, including the United States.


2:00 p.m. - City of West Memphis leaders offer update on COVID-19 response there. Watch HERE.

COVID-19 Press Conference (4/6/20)

Posted by The City of West Memphis on Monday, April 6, 2020


Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson announces schools will remain closed for rest of school year

1:30 p.m. - Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson gave his daily update on the coronavirus response in the state. During the address, Hutchinson announced that all Arkansas public schools will be closed for the remainder of the school year, but online instruction will continue.

Hutchinson thanked teachers and students for hanging in there, but he made the decision to suspend on-site instruction for the rest of the school year based on health concerns.

Students will continue to attend school through online instruction with alternative methods, such as AMI days.

Previously, Hutchinson announced schools would be closed until April 17.

Watch it here.


Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland extends safer-at-home executive order until April 21

12:00 p.m. - Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland, and Dr. Bruce Randolph, Shelby County Health Officer held the daily COVID-19 Task Force briefing. During it, Strickland announced he has extended the Safer at Home Executive Order to April 21, 2020. Click here to read the order.  

You can watch HERE.

Find Strickland's daily blog update HERE.


Mississippi now reports more than 1700 cases & 51 deaths

11:10 a.m. - The Mississippi State Department of Health is reporting 100 new cases of COVID-19 in Mississippi, with eight new deaths. The total of coronavirus cases since March 11 is now 1,738, with 51 deaths.  

Currently, Desoto County has 136 COVID-19 cases, and one death.

Find the full breakdown from the Mississippi State Department of Health HERE.


Shelby County Health Department updates to 13 deaths in the county

10:00 a.m. - The Shelby County Health Department now reports 13 deaths in the county. There are 789 cases and 8,915 people have been tested in the county.

Shelby County Health Department has added a data page to its COVID-19 webpage: www.shelbytnhealth.com/coronavirus. It includes information about the geographic distribution of COVID-19 cases in Shelby County.

Credit: Shelby County Health Department

FROM SCHD: All of Shelby County, including the municipalities and the unincorporated areas are under Safer at Home orders. Only essential businesses as spelled out in Shelby County Mayor Lee Harris’s executive order of March 24, 2020, may remain open to the public. All assemblies and gatherings of more than 10 people outside of a private residence are prohibited. The list of essential and non-essential businesses can be viewed here: https://www.shelbycountytn.gov/DocumentCenter/View/36528/Executive-Order---March-24-2020

For more information about the Safer at Home order or to register concerns, the public may contact:

  • The City of Memphis 3-1-1 line
  • The Shelby County Mayor’s Action Line: 901-222-2300
  • The Shelby County Health Department’s COVID-19 Hotline: 833-943-1658
  • Email shelbytnhealth@shelbycountytn.gov.


Memphis Light Gas & Water suspends disconnections until further notice


Shelby County reports 789 cases of COVID-19, 11 deaths 

8:15 a.m. - The City of Memphis reports 789 confirmed cases in Shelby County with 11 deaths. 

SCHD says 9,915 people have been tested in Shelby County.

Credit: Shelby County Health Department

There are 3,633 cases in Tennessee; 44 deaths and 328 hospitalized.  There have been 295 recoveries across the state.


Arkansas reports 853 confirmed cases, 16 deaths

6:30 a.m. - The Arkansas Department of Health now says there are 853 confirmed cases in the state.

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

Key facts to know:

  • 853 confirmed positive cases of COVID-19 in Arkansas 
  • 11,780 total tests
  • 10,927 negative test results
  • 16 reported deaths
  • 100 recoveries
  • All public schools are closed until April 17

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.