TIMELINE: Mid-South coronavirus updates March 24

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The impact of the novel coronavirus is being felt all across the Mid-South where new cases are being announced every day and new steps are being taken to help limit the spread. Keep checking back for the latest COVID-19 updates throughout the day.

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Below are the latest updates for Tuesday, March 24

UPDATE: (9:00 p.m.) Arkansas reported 232 confirmed coronavirus cases.

UPDATE: (8:55 p.m.) Governor Lee toured state laboratories to see the coronavirus testing process.

UPDATE: (8:20 p.m.) The Memphis VA confirmed two employees tested positive for the coronavirus.

UPDATE: (7:45 p.m.) Memphis City Council approved free MATA bus rides for passengers. Mayor Jim Strickland signed an executive order enforcing no more than 10 passengers on the bus. MATA will also block every other row to maintain social distancing. Free rides will begin March 25 and end April 30.

UPDATE: (7:40 p.m.) Amazon confirmed an employee at a Memphis delivery station tested positive for the coronavirus. The employee was last at work on March 21. The individual has been quarantined. Amazon also said any worker who came in contact with the confirmed employee will receive pay while quarantined. They have increased cleaning at the site. In a statement Amazon said:

“We are supporting the individual who is recovering. We are following guidelines from local officials and are taking extreme measures to ensure the safety of employees at our site.”

UPDATE: (7:20 p.m.) Governor Bill Lee asked the Tennessee National Guard to provide support in covid19 response efforts.

UPDATE: (7:15 p.m.) The Arkansas Department of Health is reporting 230 cases of coronavirus in the state.

UPDATE: (6:15p.m.) Shelby County Health Officer Dr. Bruce Randolph and Health Department Director Alisa Haushalter have issued a formal health directive to all Shelby County residents to protect the public health and prevent the spread of the COVID-19.

The health department released a letter stating:

Additionally, County Mayor Lee Harris issued an Executive Order to “Shelter In Place” in alignment with the seven municipal mayors. Harris’ Executive Order applies to Unincorporated Shelby County and must be renewed every seven days.

The Health Department Executive Order remains in effect until rescinded.

“Our municipal mayors and Shelby County Government are united in our efforts to slow the spread of novel coronavirus in our community,” says Mayor Lee Harris. “We are asking Shelby County residents to take these necessary precautions to ensure that our hospitals continue to have the capacity to serve residents with the greatest need. This effort will take all of us working together. We are now calling on Desoto, Crittenden, and other surrounding counties to join Shelby County and encourage your residents to shelter in place.”

UPDATE: (6:10 p.m.) Bartlett City Schools will close until April 24 per Gov. Bill Lee’s recommendation.

UPDATE: (4:50 p.m.) Shelby County Schools announced Tuesday that they will cancel classes until further notice.

The announcement came after Tennessee Governor Bill Lee asked all schools across the state to remain closed until at least April 24.

SCS has plans in place to continue providing daily meals to students in partnership with the YMCA, and the District is already expanding instructional resources that are available for students while schools are closed.


UPDATE: ( 4:20 p.m.) Collierville, Lakeland, and Lauderdale County schools announced today they will be closed until April 24.

The largest school system in the area Shelby County Schools has not released a statement about whether or not they will adhere to the governor’s request.

UPDATE: ( 3:15 p.m.) Tennessee Governor Bill Lee asked during a news conference that all school systems in the state remain closed until April 24.

UPDATE: (2 p.m) The Shelby County Health Department will be issuing a health directive, which kind of mirrors the county and city’s Safer At Home orders.

The county does not have an actual number of hospitalizations.

The state said there could be self-testing by the end of the week. Those who take the tests would drop them off at a lab facility.

If you are tested, you are to be isolated until the test results come back.

Rapid tests are coming. They will be able to give results right away.

The spreading is happening in home, social and work units.

Many of the early cases in Shelby County has recovered. It will take longer for the elders to recover.

Shelby County Health Director said in order to see an actual change in the spreading, Safer At Home would need to be more like four to eight weeks.

She also said we need to be most worried about nurses, doctors, first responders and corrections officers because we don’t want to deplete our workforce.

UPDATE: (2:00 p.m.): The Tennessee Department of Health said there are now 667 cases in Tennessee.

UPDATE: (1:40): The Governor of Arkansas announced the state is now at 218 cases and there have been two deaths reported.

Governor wants Arkansas General Assembly to begin Thursday, to make budgeted adjustments and legislation is being written to help combat the virus.

As long the public continues to listen to the state’s suggestions, the state can combat this.

There are more commercial positive tests than state tests, now.

Out of the positive tests, there are 11 children, 73 people ages 65 and older and the rest ages 19 to 64.

There are 14 hospitalized and six on ventilators.

The state has had two deaths, both in central Arkansas. One was in their 50s and the other was in their 90s. Neither were in a nursing home and one had an underlying health condition.

The state is pushing for young people to social-distance.

UPDATE: (1:20 p.m.) Make-A-Wish Mid-South Director of Marketing and Communications Amanda Wiig announced Tuesday that all wishes are on hold due to the coronavirus.

The Make-A-Wish Foundation wants to make sure all those children are staying safe during the pandemic.

UPDATE: (12:45 p.m.) The Town of Collierville’s recycling center vendor, West TN Recycling Hub, will not be able to process the recyclable materials from Collierville for the remainder of the week.

This includes Town sanitation pick-ups scheduled for Wednesday and Thursday.

75% of the recycling facility’s sorting line are inmates employed by West TN Recycling Hub.

The State of Tennessee recently stopped allowing all inmates to work outside a prison facility as part of the state’s COVID-19 regulations.

UPDATE: (12:20 p.m.) Arkansas has seen its first death due to COVID-19.

A man in his 90′s died this morning about 8 a.m. at Conway Regional Medical Center in Conway, Ark., according to Robert Edwards, Deputy Coroner for Faulker County.

He died from complications from the coronavirus.

UPDATE: (12:10 p.m.) The Central Records Bureau is closed until further notice due to the coronavirus.

UPDATE: (12 p.m.) All Memphis Goodwill Stores are closing until further notice, FOX13 confirmed with an employee of a Goodwill Store.

UPDATE: (11:50 a.m.) Vets4Warriors, a 24/7 support network that serves any veteran, service member,family member or caregiver, is providing free and long-term peer support through confidential phone, chat, text and email conversations.

Vets4Warriors remains available to address concerns regarding the coronavirus (COVID-19) and help callers find resources.

Each them by calling 1-855-838-8255 or vets4warriors.com or follow on social media @vets4warriors.

UPDATE: (11:30 p.m.) The mayor of Atoka, Tenn. in Tipton County signed an executive order declaring a state of emergency.

Like Shelby County, Atoka has decided to close all restaurant and bars dine-in services, but allow takeout and delivery, as well as close a series of recreational places that include gyms, movies theaters, etc.

UPDATE (11:15 a.m.): FedEx Express announced today it stood up a special operation over the weekend to help the U.S. government quickly move COVID-19 test specimens from more than 50 remote drive-thru testing centers at major retailers across 12 states.

This critical mission, led by the White House, Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), was a collaborative effort among retailers and healthcare companies to enable quick processing of COVID-19 test specimens to help prevent the spread of the virus.

UPDATE (11:01 a.m.): BrownDog Lodge boarding facility in Memphis is offering free daycare and boarding to all essential personnel.

The facility is also offering free shuttle rides and free curbside service.

Visit www.browndoglodge.com.

UPDATE (11:00 a.m.): There are several places in DeSoto County offering testing for COVID-19 on a limited basis:

UPDATE (10:35 a.m.): The City of Memphis’ COVID-19 website is now up and running.

The site includes updates from Mayor Strickland, testing locations, information of mobile food pantries and much more.

Visit the site at http://covid19.memphistn.gov.

UPDATE: (10:20 a.m.) Shelby County is now up to 135 cases of the coronavirus, according to the city of Memphis’ website.

UPDATE: (10:15 a.m.) The Mississippi Department of Health has announced there are 71 news cases of COVID-19, bringing the total to 320.

UPDATE (9:45 a.m.) In just under an hour Arkansas has reported more positive COVID-19 cases.

The number of confirmed cases in the state is now 206, according to health department officials.

UPDATE (9:00 a.m.): The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Arkansas has risen to 201, according to health department officials.

UPDATE (7:40 a.m.): The 2020 Olympics, which were scheduled to take place in Japan over the summer, has been postponed for one year due to concerns over the coronavirus pandemic, according to multiple reports.

UPDATE (7:30 a.m.): The town of Horn Lake, Miss., has issued an order of new restrictions for businesses and gatherings of people amid coronavirus concerns.

Effective at midnight tonight, all restaurants in the town can only serve food using drive-thru, curbside-only pick-up or delivery methods.

Restaurants will not be allowed to use interior dining room seating or bar seating.

Also at midnight tonight, all other businesses, clubs, organizations, places of worship or other gatherings within the town must limit the number of people to no more than 10 (including employees).

Businesses also must practice social distancing/space guidelines as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control.

This order excludes essential businesses such as hospitals, pharmacies, banks, grocery stores, gas stations, licensed day cares, hotels and veterinary clinics.

UPDATE (7:00 a.m.): A local restaurant has set up a meal delivery service exclusively for healthcare professionals.

Mug Shots Grill & Bar in Cordova is offering free delivery to anyone who works in a hospital or medical facility.

Individual or group orders can be placed by phone for delivery or pick-up.

Mug Shots is located at 1740 N. Germantown Parkway.

The restaurant’s phone number is 901.570.2499, and a menu is available at www.mugshotscordova.com.

UPDATE (5:30 a.m.): Ci Ci’s Pizza announced it is offering free large pizzas for K-12 students and their families. Limit 2 pizzas per family.

Pizzas are available between 11 a.m. and 6 p.m. at the following location:

Ci Ci’s Pizza Poplar Plaza 3474 Plaza Ave, Memphis, TN 38111 901-343-0202

Ci Ci’s Pizza Bartlett 6600 Stage Rd, Bartlett, TN 38134 901-387-0999

Ci Ci’s Pizza Cordova 1425 Germantown Pkwy, Cordova TN 38016 901-752-5554

Ci Ci’s Pizza Southaven 1055 Goodman Rd, Southaven, MS 38671 662-349-9296

A parent must be present.

The offer is available through Friday.

A company official said the restaurant chain gave away 1,000 pizzas yesterday, and he expects that number to grow to 2,000 today.

UPDATE (4:40 a.m.): These are the current number of positive cases, by state, for our area:

Tennessee 615 - 2 in Dyer County, 2 in Fayette County, 93 in Shelby County, 6 in Tipton County

Arkansas 197

Mississippi 249 - 8 in Coahoma County, 23 in DeSoto County, 5 in Lafayette County, 3 in Marshall County, 2 in Panola County, 1 in Tate County, 9 in Tippah County, 2 in Tunica County