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Mid-South coronavirus live updates: Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves announces "Safe Return" executive 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

LIVE UPDATES

Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves announces "Safe Return" executive order

(NEWS RELEASE) - Today, Governor Tate Reeves announced his Safer At Home order will be ending on June 1 to be replaced by new guidance for the next stage of economic recovery for Mississippi.

In his new Safe Return order, Governor Reeves lays out the latest stage of his measured and strategic plan, opening all businesses in Mississippi to restart our state's economy while continuing to flatten the curve. Consulting with Dr. Thomas Dobbs and our state health experts, the new executive order details updated social distancing guidelines for Mississippians, businesses, healthcare professionals, and indoor and outdoor recreation.

"We are facing two ongoing emergencies. One is the public health crisis that we have been up here every day to talk about. That threat is real, dangerous, and deadly. It is here, and we must face it," said Governor Reeves at the press briefing. "We also face an economic crisis in this country, the likes of which we have not seen since the great depression. While we have never seen a spike of serious cases in Mississippi, we have seen economic catastrophe. We have to address both."

The Safe Return order takes effect on Monday, June 1 at 8:00 AM as the previous order ends and will remain in effect until Monday, June 15 at 8:00 AM.

Governor Reeves also issued another executive order to begin safely reopening ballparks, movie theaters, libraries, and museums to provide additional outlets for Mississippians to take care of their mental health as well as restart our economy. Detailing strict social distancing guidelines for team practices and games, moviegoers, and more, the new executive order also takes effect on Monday, June 1 at 8:00 AM to allow businesses and leagues time to implement the new protocols.

Governor Reeves announced his new executive orders at his daily press briefing today, which you can view live on our Facebook page here.

You can view the text versions of the executive orders here: Executive Order No. 1491, Executive Order No. 1492 (Safe Return). Signed versions of the executive orders will be available on our website at governorreeves.ms.gov/covid-19.

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The strict social distancing guidelines in the Safe Return order include:

For Mississippians:

  • All those in the vulnerable population are instructed to continue sheltering in place to protect their health.

    • This includes all elderly individuals (age 65 or older per CDC guidelines) and individuals with serious underlying health conditions, including high blood pressure, chronic lung disease, diabetes, obesity, asthma, and those whose immune systems are compromised as such by chemotherapy for cancer or any other condition requiring such therapy.
  • For large group gatherings when social distancing is not possible, groups are limited to 20 people or less indoors and 50 people or less outdoors.
  • For large groups gatherings when social distancing is possible, groups are limited to 50 people or less indoors and 100 people or less outdoors.
  • All travel may resume, while minimizing non-essential business travel when possible.

For businesses: 

  • All businesses and non-profits in Mississippi are allowed to open, following CDC and Mississippi State Department of Health (MSDH) guidance to limit transmission.
  • Businesses and non-profits are encouraged to continue allowing employees to work from home or telework.
  • Retail businesses should continue to implement reasonable measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19, including limiting the number of customers in their stores at one time to no greater than 50% of their store capacity and making hand sanitizer available to customers upon entry.
  • Restaurants and bars must continue to follow in-house dining guidelines set in Executive Orders 1478 and 1486. Bars that do not serve food are allowed to reopen, following those same guidelines.
  • Restaurants and bars are now allowed to have live music performances, with customers and musicians maintaining at least a 12-foot distance.
  • Salons, barbershops, gyms, tattoo parlors, and other personal care facilities must continue to follow guidelines set in Executive Orders 1480 and 1486.

For public and private buildings:

  • Public school buildings are allowed to reopen to the public to offer in-person classroom learning, such as summer school programs and special education evaluations.
  • Private schools and institutions of higher learning are allowed to reopen their buildings and campuses to the public.
  • Reception halls and conference centers are allowed to reopen, limiting to no more than 25% of seating capacity, only holding seated events, and rearranging tables to ensure a 6-foot distance between tables. Any food services must follow the restaurant guidelines under Executive Order 1478.

For healthcare professionals:

  • Healthcare professionals and facilities may continue performing elective medical and dental procedures and surgeries as allowed and approved by MSDH. Such non-emergent procedures and surgeries should limit their use of disposable PPE and not request PPE from any public source.
  • All patients should be screened for recent illness, travel, fever, or recent exposure to COVID-19. Healthcare professionals and facilities should begin testing all patients prior to procedures or surgeries, if possible.
  • No visitors are allowed in the healthcare facility, except for one spouse or caregiver who lives with the patient and only as they are being admitted or discharged.
  • For the safety of residents, patients, and staff, visits to hospitals and nursing homes remain prohibited except to visit those receiving imminent end-of-life care,to visit maternity patients, or as otherwise allowed by that healthcare facility.

For outdoor recreation:

  • People should follow social distancing and maintain a 6-foot distance from others.
  • Executive Order 1473 is amended to allow beaches and sandbars in the Pearl River Valley Water Supply District (PRVWSD) to open, following PRVWSD's regulations. Beaches and sandbars at state lakes remain closed.
  • Recreational boating and fishing and fishing tournaments must continue to follow guidelines set in Executive Orders 1473 and 1486.
  • School weight rooms and training facilities must continue to follow guidelines set in Executive Order 1480.
  • Outdoor recreational facilities must continue to follow guidelines set in Executive Order 1487.

FOR INDOOR RECREATIONAL FACILITIES

For businesses:

  • Indoor places of amusement, including bowling alleys and playgrounds, are allowed to reopen.
  • Before they can reopen, indoor places of amusement must be deep-cleaned, disinfected, and sanitized top to bottom. After opening, facilities must be deep-cleaned daily.
  • Indoor places of amusement are expected to take every step necessary to comply with the regulations, orders, and guidance from MSDH and CDC to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
  • Signage must be posted at each entrance stating no customer with a fever or COVID-19 symptoms are allowed in.
  • No more than 50% of maximum capacity is allowed.
  • Hand sanitizer must be placed at all entrances and throughout the facility.
  • All equipment, machines, and games must be rearranged to ensure at least 6 feet between customers.
  • Items and equipment used by customers, like bowling balls and trampolines, must be sanitized and disinfected after each use.
  • All high-touch areas must be sanitized at least once every two hours.
  • Group gatherings, such as birthday parties, are limited to 20 people max.

For employees:

  • All employees will be screened daily at the beginning of their shifts, including asking whether they have been in contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19 in the past 14 days and have they had a fever in the last 48 hours.
  • Face coverings must be provided to all employees who come in direct contact with customers. Employees are required to wear that face covering throughout their shift and clean or replace daily.
  • All employees must be provided training on how to limit the spread of COVID-19.

For customers:

  • Customers will be screened upon entry.


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Under Executive Order 1491, the Governor lays out strict social distancing guidelines to allow ballparks, movie theaters, and more to safely reopen, including:

YOUTH SPORTS

Team practices:

  • Before practices can resume, league organizers or coaches must provide a copy of Executive Order 1491 to all players and their parents or guardians.
  • Each player must be screened by a coach before entering the field for practice, including asking whether they have been in contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19 in the past 14 days and have they had a fever in the last 48 hours.
  • Players and their parents or guardians must report any COVID-19 symptoms to a coach. Any player that exhibits symptoms will be sent home immediately.
  • Park personnel, volunteers, and coaches should ensure social distancing is maintained between players as much as possible.
  • Players and coaches must sanitize their hands before entering the field and after practice.
  • Dugouts are closed during practice. Players' bags and equipment must be spaced 6 feet apart.
  • Parents and guardians must remain in their cars during practice.
  • Players should use their own equipment. Shared equipment must be sanitized by a coach before and after each practice.
  • Players must bring their own drinks and snacks. No shared drinking fountains, coolers, or snacks are allowed.

Team games—for leagues and coaches:

  • Before organized games can resume, tournament or league organizers or coaches must provide a copy of Executive Order 1491 to all teams, each player, and each parent or guardian.
  • No more than 100 people are allowed at the games, including players, coaches, and fans.
  • Coaches should ensure social distancing is maintained between players as much as possible.
  • Dugouts may be used during the game with players following social distancing. Teams must sanitize the dugouts after the game.
  • Players and coaches must sanitize their hands before entering the field and after each game.
  • To ensure social distancing, coaches and tournament organizers are encouraged to implement ways other than handshakes and high fives to show good sportsmanship following a game.
  • Signs must be posted at each entrance mandating 6-foot separation between fans from different households.

Team games—for players:

  • Each player must be screened by a coach before entering the field, including asking whether they have been in contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19 in the past 14 days and have they had a fever in the last 48 hours.
  • Players and their parents or guardians must report any COVID-19 symptoms to a coach. Any player that exhibits symptoms will be sent home immediately.
  • Players and coaches must sanitize their hands before entering the field and after each game.
  • Players should use their own equipment. Shared equipment must be sanitized by a coach before and after each game.
  • Players must bring their own drinks and snacks. No shared drinking fountains, coolers, or snacks are allowed. Concessions stands remain closed.

Team games—for fans:

  • Fan and players must leave the field immediately after the game and return to their cars. Fans for following games must remain in their cars until teams and fans from the previous game have left.
  • Fans are encouraged to wear face coverings, such as a cloth mask, while at the game.
  • Fans must bring their own chairs. Bleachers are closed to fans.
  • Fan attendance is limited to two household members per player.

MOVIE THEATERS

For businesses:

  • Before they can reopen, theaters must be deep-cleaned, disinfected, and sanitized top to bottom. After opening, theater auditoriums must be cleaned and disinfected between shows.
  • All theaters are expected to take every step necessary to comply with the regulations, orders, and guidance from MSDH and CDC to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
  • Theaters must ensure that the ventilation system is working properly.
  • Minimizing person-to-person contact through technology, like mobile or online ticket sales and contact-less payment, is encouraged.
  • Signage must be posted at each entrance stating no customer with a fever or COVID-19 symptoms are allowed in.
  • Showtimes must be staggered to allow ample time for staff to clean and disinfect between shows and prevent customers from congregating in lobbies.
  • Ticket sales are limited to 50% of seating capacity.
  • Social distancing in waiting lines must be followed.
  • All high-touch areas must be sanitized at least once every two hours.
  • Hand sanitizer must be placed at all entrances and in concession areas.
  • Theaters are encouraged to develop new procedures for concessions to minimize person-to-person contact, such as grab-n-go and single use utensils.

For employees:

  • All employees will be screened daily at the beginning of their shifts, including asking whether they have been in contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19 in the past 14 days and have they had a fever in the last 48 hours.
  • All employees must be provided training on how to limit the spread of COVID-19.
  • Face coverings must be provided to all employees who come in direct contact with customers. Employees are required to wear that face covering throughout their shift and clean or replace daily.

For customers:

  • Customers are encouraged to wear a face covering, such as a cloth mask, while inside.

LIBRARIES AND MUSEUMS

For facilities:

  • Before they can reopen, facilities must be deep-cleaned, disinfected, and sanitized top to bottom.
  • All libraries and museums are expected to take every step necessary to comply with the regulations, orders, and guidance from MSDH and CDC to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
  • No more than 50% of maximum capacity.
  • Social distancing must be followed through the facility.
  • Tables must be rearranged to ensure at least 6 feet between tables. Seating at each table is limited to 6 people.
  • All high-touch areas must be sanitized at least once every two hours.
  • Hand sanitizer must be placed at all entrances and in concession areas.
  • Group tours and activities are limited to 20 people max.
  • Museum cafes are allowed to resume, following in-house dining guidelines in Executive Order 1478.

For employees:

  • All employees will be screened daily at the beginning of their shifts, including asking whether they have been in contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19 in the past 14 days and have they had a fever in the last 48 hours.
  • All employees must be provided training on how to limit the spread of COVID-19.
  • Face coverings must be provided to all employees who come in direct contact with customers. Employees are encouraged to wear face shields while tattooing a customer.
  • Minimizing person-to-person contact through technology, like mobile or online ticket sales and contact-less payment, is encouraged.
  • Signage must be posted at each entrance stating no customer with a fever or COVID-19 symptoms are allowed in.

For customers:

Customers are encouraged to wear a face covering, such as a cloth mask, while inside.

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

2:30 p.m. - Watch HERE.

LIVE: Governor Tate Reeves COVID-19 Response

On June 1, there will be no more closures. There will still be health and safety guidelines—but our Safer at Home order will expire and Mississippi will be open for business. We must do everything in our power to prevent economic catastrophe. That means trusting you to protect your family, while allowing Mississippians to earn a living.

Posted by Tate Reeves on Wednesday, May 27, 2020

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341 new cases & 10 new deaths in TN (21,306 cases/353 deaths total); nearly 14,000 recoveries

2:00 p.m. - The Tennessee Department of Health reports 341 new COVID-19 cases and 10 new deaths, for a total of 21,306 cases and 353 deaths in the state.

There are 1,647 hospitalizations, and 13,916 have recovered. 409,630 have been tested.

Find the full breakdown from the Tennessee Department of Health HERE.

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

1:30 p.m. - Watch HERE.

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313 new cases & 18 new deaths in MS (14,044 cases/670 deaths total); Desoto County has 8 new cases

11:00 a.m. - The Mississippi State Department of Health reports 313 new cases of COVID-19 in the state, with 18 new deaths. The total of coronavirus cases since March 11 is now 14,044, with 670 deaths.  

Desoto County reports 8 new cases and no new deaths, for a total of 493 cases, 6 deaths, and 15 outbreaks at long-term care facilities in the county.

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

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50 new cases & 8 new deaths in Shelby County (4,581 cases/102 deaths); more than 3,100 recoveries

10:00 a.m. - The Shelby County Health Department reports 50 new cases and 8 new deaths, for a total of 4,581 cases and 102 deaths in the county. 3,125 have recovered. 

Find the full breakdown from the Shelby County Health Department HERE.

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Free COVID-19 testing event Friday

(CITY OF MEMPHIS) Friday, May 29: Church Health will host a free COVID-19 testing event at St. Michael Catholic Church on Summer Ave.

It runs from 3:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. Bilingual staff will be on site and the Mid-South Food Bank will provide food.

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Amazon Donates $25,000 to Mid-South Food Bank to Help in the Fight Against Hunger During COVID-19 

Amazon has announced that it is donating $25,000 to Mid-South Food Bank, a member of Feeding America, the nation's leading hunger-relief organization. The donation will help meet the food needs of thousands of Memphians and those in the Mid-South who have been impacted by COVID-19’s sudden arrival and prolonged effects.

According to Mid-South Food Bank, the organization has seen a 300 percent increase in the need for food, as COVID-19 has left thousands of people without jobs or a stable income. The organization distributed more than 1 million pounds of food in March, and that number sharply increased to 4 million pounds in April.

Mid-South Food Bank projects Amazon’s donation will provide 75,000 nutritious meals to those most vulnerable across the 31 counties it serves. This donation will assist the organization as it continues to offer daily mobile food pantries during COVID-19.

To learn more about how Mid-South Food Bank is responding to the pandemic, click here.

Credit: Mid-South Food Bank
Amazon donates $25,000 to Mid-South Food Bank, providing 75,000 meals to those in need.

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Mid-South Food Bank mobile pantry locations for Wednesday

  • Memphis, Idlewild Pres. Church 1750 Union 38104, 9 a.m.
  • Memphis, Cane Creek 1785 Elvis Presley Blvd 38116, 10 a.m.
  • Memphis, MAM-Leawood, 3638 Macon 38122, 10 a.m.
  • Memphis, Eastside Community Church, 1503 Colonial 38117, 10 a.m.
  • Panola Cty, MS- St. Peter's Church, 433 Fondren 38666 in Sardis, 10 a.m.

For locations for the rest of the week, you can click here.

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RELATED: BrewBakers Barkery bakes recycled dog treats from local brewery grains

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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.