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Mid-South coronavirus live updates: Arkansas reports 375 new cases; Phase II in Shelby County will likely last at least 2 more weeks

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


WATCH: Arkansas reports 375 new cases in the state

1:30 p.m. - Watch Tuesday's news conference HERE.

As of Tuesday, June 2, Arkansas officials reported 375 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the total to 7,818 positive cases in the state.

This week, Arkansas has seen the highest number of hospitalizations and 24-hour community spread cases ever since the beginning of COVID-19.

Arkansas has tested over 117,000 people for COVID-19 since March 11.

Key facts to know:

  • 7,818 known positive cases of COVID-19 in Arkansas
  • 2,115 active cases
  • 136 reported deaths
  • 132 hospitalizations
  • 31 on ventilators
  • 5,567 recoveries


Memphis & Shelby County discussed the latest on COVID-19; stating that Phase II will likely last at least two more weeks.

(1:15 p.m.) - Based on COVID-19 trends in recent days, it is unlikely Shelby County will move into Phase III Monday, as once discussed.

Watch HERE:

June 2 - City of Memphis/Shelby County Joint Covid Task Force Update

June 2 - City of Memphis/Shelby County Joint Covid Task Force Update

Posted by City of Memphis on Tuesday, June 2, 2020


Candidate for Tennessee State of Representatives Allan Creasy calls for new masks for Shelby County

(12 p.m.) - Allan Creasy is calling for new face masks that adhere to CDC guidelines and don’t contain harmful pesticides to help low-income residents stay safe during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Coronavirus can spread through microscopic respiratory discharge, but you can stick your entire finger through this mask,” said Allan Creasy, candidate for state Representative in House District 97. “Now we’ve learned that the mask itself could pose a danger. I applaud Shelby County’s health department for pulling the masks, and now it’s time for the state to put out a competitive contract for effective, non-toxic masks.”

The state of Tennessee ordered 5 million face masks in a no-bid, $8.2 million contract from a North Carolina-based sock maker. The masks are so porous that your finger could fit through, and last Friday it was reported that the masks contain Silvadur, a chemical registered as a pesticide that’s known to be “harmful if inhaled” and “toxic to fish,” and at least one Tennessean developed a rash on her face after wearing one.

“There is no reason we can’t find a proper manufacturer who can get taxpayers a better deal on masks that actually work,” Creasy said. “The governor should start this process over and provide Shelby County residents with effective face masks that aren’t toxic to wear. That’s not too much to ask. I encourage citizens to write your state senators and representatives to encourage the state to replace these toxic masks."


268 new cases & 28 new deaths in MS (16,020 cases/767 deaths total); 3 new cases in Desoto County

(11:35 a.m.) - The Mississippi State Department of Health reports 268 new cases of COVID-19 in the state, with 28 new deaths. The total of coronavirus cases since March 11 is now 16,020, with 767 deaths.  

Desoto County reports 3 new cases, 553 total cases in the county. 8 total deaths in DeSoto County.

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


Testing begins at Shelby County Division of Corrections

(11:30 a.m.) - The Shelby County Health Department (SCHD) will test inmates and staff at the Shelby County Division of Corrections facility at 1045 Mullins Station Road beginning June 2 and will continue until June 8.

Testing will be offered to all 517 Corrections Division staff members and the almost 1,500 inmates at the Shelby County Correctional facility.

“Men and women serving time and those awaiting trial deserve humanity and compassion, just like all the rest of us, said Shelby County Mayor Lee Harris. That’s why we have been working so hard to surge the testing at our facilities. This surge is expected to be one of the largest organized testing efforts since the arrival of COVID-19. We will continue to expand our efforts to make our facilities safe, protect the vulnerable, and lift the least of these concerns.”

“Inmates and employees in correctional facilities are considered vulnerable populations because their congregate living arrangements make social distancing very difficult,” said Health Department Director Alisa Haushalter. “Testing of the facilities’ general population and the staff may identify any asymptomatic cases so they may be isolated to reduce the spread of the virus.”


Governor Bill Lee announces program to help small businesses affected by COVID-19

(11:20 a.m.) - Tennessee Governor Bill Lee, Lt. Gov. Randy McNally, House Speaker Cameron Sexton, and the Financial Stimulus Accountability Group announced a new relief program Tuesday for Tennessee businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. The Tennessee Business Relief Program will direct approximately $200 million in federal Coronavirus Relief Funds through the Department of Revenue directly to small businesses that qualify.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has created immense economic pain across our state and especially among small businesses that faced temporary closure,” said Gov. Lee. “As we responsibly steward our federal stimulus money we have worked to quickly prioritize our small businesses and I thank the work of the Financial Stimulus Accountability Group for their partnership in this.”

The Tennessee Business Relief Program amounts awarded will be based on the annual gross sales of the business. More details will be posted on the Department of Revenue’s website in the coming days.

“While the COVID-19 crisis started as a public health crisis, the economic crisis it triggered is in some ways even more devastating. The burden the virus has placed on small businesses has been substantial,” said Lt. Gov. McNally (R-Oak Ridge). “Jobs have been lost. Savings accounts have been drained. Credit has been stretched. Small businesses need this relief more than anyone. I was proud to be a part of formulating this plan along with my fellow Financial Accountability group members, particularly Sen. Bo Watson and Sen. Raumesh Akbari. I am hopeful this program will soon be expanded to include non-profits, trade groups and chambers of commerce. These organizations are critical to our economic revival and I look forward to seeing them included in the next phase. Our recovery from this economic disruption will be a slow process. But without small business, it doesn’t happen at all. I am grateful for this opportunity to put our most at-risk businesses on a path to stability and prosperity.”

Roughly 28,000 Tennessee businesses are expected to qualify, with more than 73% of those businesses earning annual gross sales of $500,000 or less.

The following types of small businesses are eligible under the program:

  • Barber shops
  • Beauty shops
  • Nail salons
  • Tattoo parlors, spas, and other personal care services
  • Gyms and fitness centers
  • Restaurants
  • Bars
  • Hotels and other travel accommodations
  • Theaters, auditoriums, performing arts centers and similar facilities
  • Museums, zoos, and other similar attractions
  • Amusement parks
  • Bowling centers and arcades
  • Marinas
  • Amusement, sports and recreational industries
  • Promoters of performing arts, sports, and similar events
  • Agents and managers of artists, athletes, and entertainers
  • Independent artists, writers, and performers

In addition, the following small businesses are eligible if their sales were reduced by at least 25%, as shown on their April sales tax returns (filed in May):

  • Furniture stores
  • Home furnishing stores
  • Clothing stores
  • Shoe stores
  • Jewelry, luggage, and leather goods stores
  • Sporting goods, hobby, and musical instrument stores
  • Book stores
  • Department stores
  • Office supply, stationery and gift stores
  • Used merchandise stores
  • Other miscellaneous stores


190 new cases & 4 new deaths in Shelby County (5,314 cases/113 deaths total); more than 3597 recoveries

10:00 a.m. - The Shelby County Health Department reports 190 new COVID-19 cases, with 4 new deaths, for a total of 5,314 cases and 113 deaths in the county.

3,597 have recovered. 78,104 have been tested in the county.


COVID-19 testing at Landers Center in Southaven Friday, June 5

The Mississippi Health Department and University of Mississippi Medical Center will hold free drive-through COVID-19 Testing Friday, June 5 at the Landers Center in Southaven. Testing is by appointment from 12 p.m. - 4 p.m.

You can make an appointment by going through a free screening from a UMMC clinician, either through the C Spire Health smartphone app or by phone 601-496-7200. 

LOCATION: Landers Center, 4560 Venture Drive, Southaven


Memphis Music Hall of Fame Museum to reopen Wednesday, June 3

Memphis Music Hall of Fame Museum will reopen Wednesday, June 3.  It will open weekly, Wednesday - Sunday, 10 a.m. - 5 p.m., for the first few weeks.

The museum is offering half price admission for Shelby County residents through the month of June. That half-price admission for Shelby residents is also offered at the Rock 'n' Soul Museum at FedExForum. The two museums also offer a special combo rate... which is also available to Shelby residents for half price.

Like Rock 'n' Soul, the Memphis Music Hall of Fame Museum officially closed on March 18 in light of the Covid19 pandemic and the closing of non-essential businesses. 

The Memphis Music Hall of Fame began in 2012 as a tribute to the legendary musical icons who not only helped put Memphis on the world map... but who changed the cultural complexion of the planet forever. 

For more information, click here.


Mid-South Food Bank mobile pantry locations for Tuesday, June 2

  • McNairy Cty, TN- 877 W. Cherry in Selmer 38375, 10 a.m.
  • Marshall Cty, MS- Chulahoma Church, 5509 MS Hwy 4 in Holly Springs 38635, 10 a.m.
  • Memphis- RedZone/Orange Mound Comm. Ctr, 2590 Park 38114, 10 a.m.
  • Madison, TN- Unity Temple, 369 Lexington in Jackson 38301, 9 a.m.

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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.