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Mid-South coronavirus live updates: Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves gives COVID-19 update

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


COVID-19 press conference with Governor Tate Reeves

2:30 p.m . – Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves addressed the media to give updates on COVID-19 spread in Mississippi, to comment on recent protesting in Mississippi and throughout the country, and to look ahead to hurricane season in the Gulf of Mexico. See the full press conference below.

LIVE: Governor Tate Reeves COVID-19 Response

Today, there are no more business closures in our state. I want to underscore: the threat is not gone. It is as contagious and deadly as ever, but we must emphasize personal responsibility over government orders. Please be smart and keep your loved ones safe. I also want to engage in a conversation on the killing of George Floyd, the protests, and the riots across the country that followed. I believe that protestors, especially here in Mississippi, want a voice—not violence. I will always protect and celebrate that right. All that and more, including the start of hurricane season, in today’s briefing.

Posted by Tate Reeves on Monday, June 1, 2020


251 new cases & 5 new deaths in MS (15,752 cases/739 deaths total); 17 new cases in Desoto County

1:15 p.m. - The Mississippi State Department of Health reports 251 new cases of COVID-19 in the state, with 5 new deaths. The total of coronavirus cases since March 11 is now 15,752, with 739 deaths.  

Desoto County reports 17 new cases, 550 total cases in the county. 7 total deaths in DeSoto County.

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


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

1:00 p.m. - Watch HERE.

(KTHV) - As of Sunday, May 31, Arkansas officials reported 240 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the total to 7,253 positive cases in the state.

Last week, Arkansas saw the highest number of hospitalizations the state has ever seen since the beginning of COVID-19.

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

Key facts to know:

  • 7,253 known positive cases of COVID-19 in Arkansas
  • 1,845 active cases
  • 133 reported deaths
  • 115 hospitalizations
  • 27 on ventilators
  • 5,275 recoveries


121 new cases & NO new deaths in Shelby County (5,124 cases/109 deaths total); more than 3500 recoveries

10:00 a.m. - The Shelby County Health Department reports 121 new COVID-19 cases, no new deaths, for a total of 5,124 cases and 109 deaths in the county.

3,508 have recovered. 75,631 have been tested in the county.


Shelby County Health Department stops distribution of the black, knitted face masks provided by the State of Tennessee

(9:00 a.m.) - The Shelby County Health Department (SCHD) has stopped the distribution of the black, knitted face masks provided by the State of Tennessee for distribution to the public.

The masks, manufactured by Renfro Corp., were treated with a chemical called Silvadur. Silvadur is an anti-microbial agent applied to fabrics to reduce the growth of odor-causing bacteria. According to the manufacturer, only trace amounts of the chemical are applied to the fabric and the chemical diminishes each time the mask is washed.

Until more information is made available about Silvadur and its application to the masks, SCHD has stopped all distribution of the masks and is asking partnering agencies to also stop distributing them.

Anyone who has one of the masks and has safety concerns about it, should stop wearing it and wear an alternative facial covering.

Facial coverings are recommended to be worn in settings where social distancing is difficult to maintain. A cloth facial covering may be as simple and inexpensive as a bandana or scarf tied around the back of the head to cover the nose and mouth. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has information and guidance about facial coverings, including instructions for making a cloth facial covering, on its website here.

For more information about COVID-19 and the use of facial coverings, please call the Shelby County Health Department’s COVID-19 hotline (833-943-1658) or visit the Health Department’s COVID-19 webpage.


University of Memphis offering webinar series on supporting vulnerable populations via telehealth

(8:15 a.m.) - As the COVID-19 pandemic spreads worldwide, telehealth has become more accessible than ever and has quickly become a vehicle that expands access to health care for underserved populations. As a result, many experts believe telehealth will have a lasting impact on health care in the future.

The University of Memphis will host a series of one-hour webinars related to telehealth for vulnerable populations. Learn how leading clinicians are using the latest technology to serve their patients/clients remotely. The audience for these sessions includes an interdisciplinary group of health care professionals, clinicians and leaders of community-based organizations as they navigate the intricacies of enabling telehealth remote home or school visits.The series will take place throughout June and will consist of panelists experienced in telehealth-related areas. Webinars include:

June 2

  • Delivering Telehealth to Underserved/Vulnerable Client Populations: Best Practices
  • Rosie Phillips Davis, PhD, ABPP; Espi Ralston, MA, MAT, MA, CMI-Spanish, CHTM; Larita Taylor, PhD, MPH, CLC

June 4

  • Engaging Caregivers/Setting Up the Home Environment/The “How To” of Telehealth Delivery
  • Gregory Washington, LCSW, PhD; Laura Baylot Casey, PhD, BCBA-D; Katherine Mendez, MA, CCC-SLP

June 9

  • Telehealth in School-based Programming: Tips, Techniques and Best Practices
  • Susan E. Elswick, EdD, LCSW; Dr. Sarah Caliboso-Soto, LCSW and ACSSW

June 11

  • Training Health Profession Students via Remote Learning
  • Anne Cornelius, BCBA; Susan E. Elswick, EdD, LCSW; Belinda Fleming, PhD, MSN

June 16

  • Opportunities in Telehealth
  • Laura Baylot Casey, PhD, BCBA-D; Matthew Davidson, MS, BCBA, LBA

June 18

  • Billing and Technology in Telehealth
  • Sarah E. Warren, AuD, PhD; Rachel Lauletta, MS, BCBA, LBA; Sharon Lusk, JD, CPA, CMC, CMCO

All webinars will take place from 11 a.m.-noon and are free, but registration is required. To register for any or all sessions, click here.


Vitalant begins testing all blood donations for antibodies to COVID-19

(7:15 a.m.) - Vitalant becomes the first national blood bank to test all blood donations for antibodies to SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus that causes COVID-19. 

Vitalant is the nation’s largest independent, nonprofit blood collector, serving hospital patients in the Greater Memphis area, is providing the test results to donors who complete successful blood donations, which are critically needed right now.

The antibody test, authorized by the FDA, will show if the donor’s immune system has produced antibodies to the virus, regardless of whether they ever showed symptoms. It is possible that over time, the broad use of antibody tests and clinical follow-up will provide more information on whether a person who has recovered from COVID-19 is at a lower risk of infection, and if so, for how long.

“While a positive antibody test does not mean that someone is immune to COVID-19, it does mean that they may be eligible to donate convalescent plasma in the future and help people with the disease,” said Cliff Numark, Vitalant’s Chief of Marketing. “Convalescent plasma can be given directly to patients currently battling COVID-19 to help boost their ability to fight their illness.” Vitalant began collecting and distributing convalescent plasma in April. For more information, click here.

Donations of all blood types are critically needed right now, with an especially high need for type O, A-negative and B-negative red blood cells. In addition, platelets are always needed by patients for cancer treatments, surgeries and emergencies. 

Donors are urged to give blood as soon as possible. Appointments are strongly recommended: visit vitalant.org or call 877-25-VITAL (877-258-4825).

  • Bartlett – 7505 Hwy. 64, Suite 109
  • Germantown – 2095 Exeter, #75
  • East – 4702 Spotswood Ave.
  • Paul W. Barrett Jr. – 1045 Madison Ave.
  • Southaven – 1055 Goodman Rd. E., Suite J.

The antibody tests are part of a full panel of tests that Vitalant performs on successful blood donations. Donors are not charged for the tests and costs are subsidized, in part, by The Blood Center Foundation of the Inland Northwest and The Bonfils Blood Center Donor Advised Fund. Donors will be able to see their results approximately 2 weeks after donating by logging into their online donor accounts.


Mid-South Food Bank mobile pantry locations for Monday, June 1

  • Marshall County, MS- Davis Temple, Multipurpose Building, 235 Memphis St. in Holly Springs 38635, 9 a.m.
  • Memphis- First Baptist Broad, 2869 Broad 38112, 10 a.m.
  • Dyer County, TN- 114 Main St. in Newbern 38059, 10 a.m.  

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RELATED: Study shows enhanced negative impact in March, April and today in Shelby County for travel, economic activity

RELATED: TN launches new phone line to support workers on frontlines of COVID-19 pandemic

RELATED: Cluster of COVID-19 cases related to funeral in Northeast Mississippi

RELATED: Memphis cited as potential “hot spot” for new COVID-19 cases; Shelby County Task Force is cautious but not concerned

RELATED: 103-year-old woman celebrates coronavirus recovery with a cold beer

RELATED: Arkansas nurse with emotional COVID-19 testimony returns home from New York City

RELATED: Doctors concerned that loosened restrictions and travel could lead to spike in COVID-19 cases


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.