LIVE UPDATES: Coronavirus in the Mid-South: City of Memphis partners with UTHSC, Shelby Co. Health Department to begin drive-thru testing

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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 Friday, March 20

UPDATE(10:00 p.m.) The University of Tennessee Health Science Center, working with the Shelby County Health Department and the City of Memphis, began drive-thru testing for COVID-19 at Tiger Lane at the Memphis Fairgrounds Friday evening.

Testing is being done in a series of tents set up at the Fairgrounds, and it is hoped, at other community sites in the coming weeks. Faculty of the UTHSC College of Medicine and other health care professionals have volunteered to staff the tents and perform the testing.

To qualify for testing, an individual must first be referred by a medical provider to a centralized call center at University Clinical Health, one of UTHSC’s affiliated physician practice partners, to ensure symptoms merit testing.

UPDATE(8:52 p.m.) All Southwest classes resume online March 23 for the rest of the semester; all college locations closed to the public until further notice

UPDATE( 8:03 p.m.) There are now 100 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Arkansas, according to the Arkansas Department of Health.

UPDATE(7:10 p.m.) Tennessee officials announced Friday night their first confirmed death of the Coronavirus in Nashville Tennesee.

The individual was a 73-year old man with underlying health conditions.

According to Metro Public Health Department officials, there have been a total of 110 confirmed cases of coronavirus COVID-19 in Nashville/Davidson County raging from age 11 to 73 years old.

Fifteen of the infected people have recovered while the remaning patients are self-isolating at home with mild symptoms.

UPDATE(7:02 p.m.) The Mississippi State Department of Health recommends all restaurants and bars to suspend dine-in service and offer carryout or delivery only.

The MSDH also recommends avoiding funerals, weddings, church services and social gatherings over 10 people.

“This will in no way affect gas stations, pharmacies, grocery stores or food marts” said MSDH State Health Officer Thomas Dobbs, MD, MPH.

UPDATE(6:09 p.m.) Millington Mayor Terry Jones has officially declared a civil emergency in response to COVID-19.

Mayor Jones orders all restaurants to close on-site servicing or allow take out and delivery.

Bars and taverns serving alcoholic beverages will close effective midnight March 21.

UPDATE (5:13 p.m.) MLGW will Restrict Access to Community Offices starting Monday, March 23.

Drive-Thru windows and dropboxes will remain open for cash, check and money orders.

Customers may continue to mail in payments, pay by phone, pay through My Account, sign up for autodraft and utilize the 90+ authorized pay agents across the city. For a full listing of payment options, visit mlgw.com/ payingyourbill.

CLICK HERE for more details.

UPDATE: (4:31 p.m.) Graceland temporarily closes as coronavirus pandemic spreads.

Graceland shut down the retail shops, the mansion tours, and other public areas Friday afternoon.

They hope to reopen April 3.

UPDATE: (4:20 p.m.) Memphis Tourism’s Music Hub partners with Music Export Memphis to launch the “Get Live Memphis” online music festival with Facebook.

This project serves as a way to collect donations for musicians who lost gigs due to the Coronavirus.

This live event kickstarted on Thursday and will last until Saturday evening with performances scheduled at different times.

CLICK HERE to access the event page.

UPDATE: (3:43 p.m.) Collierville Mayor Stan Joyner has officially declared a State of Emergency.

Mayor Joyner is following other county and city leaders and is forcing restaurants, gyms, and bars to close tonight. Take out and delivery is still allowed.

The declaration also says Collierville police are authorized to enforce the new rules.

UPDATE: (3:29 p.m.) Shelby County Mayor Lee Harris prepared an Executive Order to require the closure for on-site dining at restaurants, and on-premises consumption at bars, and other food and beverage establishments in unincorporated Shelby County, Tennessee.

The Executive Order will go into effect Sunday, March 22, 2020, at 6:00 a.m. for unincorporated Shelby County. The Executive Order does not apply to delivery, takeout, and drive-thru establishments.

UPDATE: (2:05 p.m.) Shelby County Schools Superintendent Dr. Joris Ray says that one of their central nutritionists tested positive for coronavirus.

As a result, the district is suspending its planned meal prep and distribution immediately.

CLICK HERE for more details.

UPDATE: (2:00 p.m.) There are now 228 confirmed cases of coronavirus in Tennessee, according to the department of health.

There are now 30 cases in Shelby County, up from 10 cases yesterday.

Tipton County now has a confirmed case, in addition to once case in Dyer COunty that was announced yesterday.

UPDATE: (1:40 p.m.) As many people are getting laid off from their jobs during the coronavirus outbreak, Tennessee Governor Bill Lee and the Tennessee Grocers 7 Convenience Store Association are hoping to connect job seekers in the food industry with work during this time.

Those interested should click here to be taken to the online survey that allows job seekers to be connected with employers across the state.

UPDATE: (1:30 p.m.) The Arkansas Department of Health confirms that there now 96 confirmed cases of coronavirus in the state.

There is now at least one confirmed case in Crittenden County along with at least one case in Poinsett County.

There are currently 203 people under investigation in the state and 548 people being monitored by the Arkansas Department of health with daily check-in and guidance because of an identified risk.

UPDATE: (1:25 p.m.) The Greater Memphis Chamber released estimates of the COVID-19 local business impact as part of an ongoing business impact survey.

The first survey went our yesterday. 140 local business owners and the results are as follows:

  • 21 percent of those surveyed had laid off workers
  • Of those layoffs, 77 percent involved a company laying off 10 or fewer workers
  • 20 percent of respondents said their office or facility is currently closed
  • 48 percent of respondents said their employees were currently working remotely

Beverly Robertson, President & CEO of the Greater Memphis Chamber, released the following statement:

“Our priority is to have minimal disruption to the Memphis and Shelby County economy. The best way we can do that is to communicate and connect to all of our business members. The information that is shared with us provides us with a clear roadmap to advocate directly on the Memphis business community’s behalf at a local, state and federal level. Partnerships with key organizations throughout the city and state are also critical, especially as we are called forward to share our vision for what our business community looks like once we get through the COVID-19 crisis.”

UPDATE: (1:15 p.m.) The City of Germantown has declared a state of emergency amid the coronavirus outbreak.

More details are expected to be released soon.

UPDATE: (12:51 a.m.) Bass Pro Shop Pyramid is opening an hour earlier for ‘older customers to access essential products before the general public’ on Monday to Friday.

UPDATE: (11:56 a.m.) In light of the national emergency response to COVID-19, Tennessee Shakespeare Company is transforming the Elizabethan Feast fundraising benefit, originally scheduled for April 25, into a first-ever “No Go” Feast.

“We are prioritizing the safety for our patrons, artists, and the general public. This responsible change hopefully will encourage those who purchased or planned to purchase, sponsorships and tickets to donate their commitments to TSC as a fully tax-deductible gift. The Feast is TSC’s sole fundraising effort of the 2019-20 season, benefiting our innovative Education Program, which is in the midst of a record 35,000 points of contact among Memphis-area students, patrons of all ages, incarcerated juveniles, and veterans of the Memphis VA Medical Center” Tennessee Shakespeare Company said in a news release.

UPDATE: (11:45 a.m.) President Donald Trump held a news conference this morning with the White House Coronavirus Task Force in order to give updates on the impact of the coronavirus around the country.

The President said federal student loan payments would be suspended for 60 days without penalty.

Interest on student loan payments will be temporarily waived.

The U.S.-Mexico border will be closed to non-essential travel.

The U.S.-Canada border will be closed to essential travel at midnight tonight.

Migrants who come to the U.S. without travel documentation will be barred, according to Centers for Disease Control recommendations.

The President said a nationwide lockdown was not necessary at this time.

UPDATE (10:00 a.m.) Loflin Yard might not be open for regular business operations, but they aren’t shutting down either.

The restaurant group which owns Loflin Yard, Railgarten, Rec Room, Bounty on Broad and Highland Axe & Rec is turning its two-acres of space into an outdoor market.

Starting this Saturday, they will be selling items such as toilet paper, fresh food and cleaning supplies. It will be held weekly from 12-6 p.m.

UPDATE (10:00 a.m.) The Mid-South Food Bank will host a “Mobile Food Pantry” food distribution today in Frayser.

The event will help 250 households with needed meals.

Volunteers will begin packing the meals at noon and distribution will take place at 2 p.m. at the Pursuit of God Church at 3759 North Watkins Street, Memphis, TN 38127.

UPDATE (9:34 a.m.) The deadline to file federal taxes has been pushed back to July.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin encouraged Americans to file their taxes Friday after the IRS earlier this week extended the tax deadline from April to July.

“I encourage all taxpayers who may have tax refunds to file now to get your money,” he said in a tweet.

On Wednesday, officials with the IRS revealed details of the push back, which was prompted by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

UPDATE (9:20 a.m.) The Mississippi Department of Health announced 30 new cases in the state, bringing the total to 80.

In our area, DeSoto County has 4 cases, Coahoma has 3, Lafayette has 1, Marshall has 1.

UPDATE (8:00 a.m.) During his public statement this morning, Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland confirmed that an employee of the Memphis Police Department has tested positive for coronavirus.

The Mayor also commented on the fact that many people have lost or will lose their jobs as a result of this virus.

“I am very concerned about thousands of people losing their jobs…but the health and well being of Memphians overcomes those concerns," Strickland said.

UPDATE (6:30 a.m.) Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland will be talking about his State of Civil Emergency order this morning at 7:45 a.m.

FOX13 will have LIVE coverage on Good Morning Memphis.

UPDATE (5:00 a.m.) These are the number of confirmed cases by state for our area:

Tennessee 154 - There are 10 cases in Shelby County, 1 in Dyer County

Arkansas 62 - There is at least one case in Poinsett County

Mississippi 51 - There are 2 cases in DeSoto County, 2 in Boliver County, 2 in Coahoma County