MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Tuesday, Local 24 News learned new details about the total number of people who came in contact with COVID-19 cases in Memphis and Shelby County. This, as local law enforcement is also now equipped with extra protection while on patrol.
The city of Memphis Tuesday also finalized the set up at the Pipkin Building for paramedics to do temporary care for a range of illnesses and injuries in the event area hospitals and emergency rooms fill up.
While those with the Memphis/Shelby County COVID-19 Task Force said that's not anticipated anytime in the near future, it's the latest sign of the preparation for worst-case scenarios and an expected surge in new cases.
"The world has changed fast," Shelby County Mayor Lee Harris said.
That's why Mayor Harris Tuesday urged the public to not let up in the ongoing effort to contain the local Coronavirus spread.
"I know we are all eager to get to other side of this, but now is not the time to be complacent. It's the time to be vigilant," Mayor Harris said.
Shelby County's confirmed COVID-19 cases - at around 850 and 19 deaths Tuesday afternoon - continue to rise.
Those with the Shelby County Health Department said they've identified and quarantined about 1300 people who came into contact with those infected, and finished the investigations of more than 3/4 of those cases.
"Now we are seeing much more cases of those above 60 and above 80," Shelby County Health Director Dr. Alisa Haushalter said.
Doug McGowen, the city of Memphis' chief operating officer, also pushed back on a much more optimistic model Monday for Tennessee's projected COVID-19 deaths and hospital needs.
"The model that came out yesterday assumed 100% compliance with social distancing through the end of May. That is not realistic and not happening today," McGowen said.
This week, both Memphis Police officers and Shelby County Sheriff's Deputies are now wearing masks and gloves while on patrol and interacting with the public.
To date, 14 workers in the Shelby County Sheriff's Office tested positive for COVID-19 and the Memphis/Shelby County COVID-19 Task Force is replenishing supplies.
"We prioritize that based on who is the shortest that day. We have made distribution to all of the law enforcement agencies and all of the municipalities who have made a request," McGowen said.
Tuesday, Shelby County Mayor Lee Harries launched a new hotline at (901) 222-2300. It runs Monday through Friday between 8:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. - for people to report any person or non-essential business violating the countywide Safer at Home order and the current ban of any gathering of 10 or more people.