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Mid-South coronavirus live updates: Free COVID-19 testing Memorial Day weekend in Shelby County

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


Free COVID-19 testing Memorial Day weekend in Shelby County

(NEWS RELEASE) - The Shelby County Health Department reminds everyone to enjoy the Memorial Day weekend safely, by observing social distancing recommendations, including: remaining 6-feet apart from persons from outside your own household, washing hands frequently, and wearing facial coverings when in public or around others. Free testing for COVID-19 will also be available over the Memorial Day holiday weekend.

Anyone who has any COVID-like respiratory symptoms, even mild symptoms, including fever, cough, headache or body aches, may be tested for the virus. Additionally, anyone who has been in contact with someone who has tested positive or anyone employed in essential occupations, including healthcare, first responder roles (police, fire fighter, EMT, etc.), corrections, and frontline roles working with the public: grocery, fast food, retail, may be tested at no cost at one of the community testing sites listed on this site: https://covid19.memphistn.gov/resources/covid-19-testing-sites-in-shelby-county/.

All previously scheduled testing sites will be open on Saturday and Sunday, May 22 and 23, 2020. On Memorial Day, Monday, May 25, 2020, the following sites will be offering testing:

  • Walgreens – 3502 Summer Avenue, Memphis, 38122, from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Schedule online at walgreens.com/coronavirus.
  • MedPost CareSpot Urgent Care Centers – five locations in Shelby County. Find the location near you at MedPost.com.

The Shelby County Health Department’s COVID-19 hotline (833-943-1658) will be taking calls over the Memorial Day weekend, Saturday, Sunday and Monday, 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Afterhours calls are returned as soon as possible on the next day. And more information about COVID-19 is available on the Health Department’s COVID-19 webpage: shelbytnhealth.com/coronavirus.


Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee offers National Guard to test at businesses

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Gov. Bill Lee is promising business leaders he would send the National Guard to help their companies with COVID-19 testing should they ask for it. 

The Republican made the announcement Friday while speaking on a livestream for a Tennessee Chamber of Commerce and Industry event. 

He touted the state's high testing rate while pointing out that Tennessee was one of the first states in the country to reopen during the coronavirus outbreak. 

It's unclear if businesses are already requesting and receiving the National Guard assistance.


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

Today we are opening up one of the last industries that remains shut — outdoor places of entertainment — and extending our safer at home order for one week. I hope and expect that on June 1 we can be in a place where every industry is allowed to be open. More details in today’s briefing.

Posted by Tate Reeves on Friday, May 22, 2020


433 new cases & 2 new deaths in TN (19,394 cases/315 deaths total); more than 12,500 recoveries

2:00 p.m. - The Tennessee Department of Health reports 433 new cases and 2 new deaths, for a total of 19,394 cases and 315 deaths in the state.

There are 1,560 hospitalizations, and 12,566 have recovered. 368,170 have been tested.

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


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

1:30 p.m. - Watch HERE.

(KTHV) - As of Friday, May 21, Arkansas officials reported 154 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the total to 5,612 positive cases in the state.

Governor Hutchinson announced on Saturday an investigation is being conducted after an applicant accessed the unemployment system and reported a potential data exposure to officials. He was notified Friday night and the system was shut down immediately in order to prevent a data breach.

As of Monday, May 18 all retail stores in Arkansas are open for business, except bars.

Key facts to know:

  • 5,612 known positive cases of COVID-19 in Arkansas
  • 1,470 active cases
  • 113 reported deaths
  • 81 hospitalizations
  • 4,029 recoveries


WATCH: Memphis & Shelby County COVID-19 Task Force briefing

12:00 p.m. - COVID-19 Joint Task Force update with Shelby County Mayor Lee Harris and Dr. Alisa Haushalter, Director, Shelby County Health Department. 

Watch HERE.

May 22 - City of Memphis/Shelby County Joint Covid Task Force Update

May 22 - City of Memphis/Shelby County Joint Covid Task Force Update

Posted by City of Memphis on Friday, May 22, 2020


Free masks to be distributed in Millington & much of Shelby County this weekend


402 new cases & 16 new deaths in MS (12,624 cases/596 deaths total); Desoto County has 23 new cases

11:00 a.m. - The Mississippi State Department of Health reports 402 new cases of COVID-19 in the state, with 16 new deaths. The total of coronavirus cases since March 11 is now 12,624, with 596 deaths.  

Desoto County has 23 new cases, no new deaths, and one new outbreak at a long-term care facility. The county now totals 442 cases, 6 deaths, and 15 outbreaks at long-term care facilities.

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


49 new cases & no new deaths in Shelby County (4,083 cases/91 deaths total); more than 2,800 recovered

10:00 a.m. - The Shelby County Health Department reports 49 new cases and no new deaths, for a total of 4,083 cases and 91 deaths in the county.

2,815 have recovered.

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


Mid-South Food Bank mobile pantry locations for Friday, May 22, 2020

  • Memphis, School Seed "Kid Friendly", 320 Joubert 38109, 2 p.m.
  • Memphis, Northaven Elementary, 5157 North Circle 38127, 11 a.m.
  • Memphis, Iglesia Nueva Vida, 7981 Summer 38133, 9 a.m.
  • Memphis, Our Hands to Yours, 2960 Kimball 38111, 11 a.m.
  • Memphis, PowerHouse, 1350 Norris 38106, 10 a.m.
  • Memphis, White Station Church of Christ 1106 Colonial 38117, 10 a.m.
  • DeSoto Cty, MS- New Hope Church, 1407 Church Road in Southaven 38671, 10 a.m.
  • Prentiss Cty, MS- AgriCenter, 2301 N. 2nd St. in Booneville 38829, 10 a.m.
  • Crittenden Cty, AR- 101 South 13th St. in West Memphis 72303, 10 a.m.


Oak Court to host blood drive May 22, 23 & 29

Oak Court Mall will host Vitalant for an on-site blood drive on:

  • Friday, May 22 from 11 a.m. - 3 p.m.
  • Saturday, May 23 from 10 a.m. - 2 p.m. 
  • Friday, May 29 from 11 a.m. - 3 p.m.

The blood drive donation event will be held mobile at Oak Court Mall, 4465 Poplar Avenue Memphis, near the food court entrance.

According to the studies, every two seconds someone in the United States needs blood, and one blood donation can save up to three lives. As the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic continues, blood drive cancellations have resulted in more than 85,000 fewer blood donations, causing a nationwide blood shortage. Oak Court Mall invites eligible community members to safely donate blood during this critical time.

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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.