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 Monday, May 18:
UPDATE: (7:40 p.m.) Shelby County commissioners approved Tami Sawyer’s new resolution (not ordinance) which strongly urges the health department to require people to wear masks in public.
The $50 fine has been removed from the resolution.
A representative from the county attorney’s office said because this is no longer an ordinance, it is in the preview of the commissioners’ roles.
Additionally, the health director was on the call and said she had been working with Sawyer and that she will discuss it further tomorrow.
UPDATE: (3:10 p.m.) The Re-Entry Task Force for the Shelby County Schools provided an update on the school’s plans to reopen.
Superintendent Joris Ray said the school’s Strategic Action for Flexible Education (SAFE), which is a development of rapidly reopening schools with the safety of students and staff on their minds.
The idea of SAFE is to meet the social and emotional needs of students, offer more alternative learning, possibly extending the school days and adding Saturday schools.
The school district will also look into having half the children physically in the school and half online, plus bridging the gap for distance learning.
UPDATE: (2:05 p.m.) Governor Bill Lee spent the morning in Memphis, visiting the alternative hospital site at the old Commercial Appeal building.
UPDATE: (2:00 p.m.) The Tennessee Department of Health reports 18,011 cases in the state and 301 deaths. '
There has been 9,886 patients who have recovered.
UPDATE: (1:30 p.m.) Governor Asa Hutchinson of Arkansas has updated the state more reopening plans.
There are 4,813 cases in the state with 100 deaths and 3,645 patients have recovered.
Also, there are about 1,068 active cases, 378 are in correctional institutions.
Forrest City conducted over 550 test on Saturday because of the outbreak in the city.
The governor said bars that are associated with restaurants and businesses of that sort can reopen Tuesday and all free-standing bars can reopen on May 26.
Hutchinson said that the unemployment site data breach is being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigations and it is allegedly been told the information has been exploited.
UPDATE: (12:40 p.m.) Shelby County leaders spoke today about the move into Phase 2 of businesses reopening.
Shelby County Mayor Lee Harris said entering into Phase 2 is solid progress in our community.
One of the indicators of progress is expanding public health capacity.
The Commission will hear a proposal today to expand the Shelby County Health Department by 141 positions, Harris said.
Harris said Phase 2 will last 21 days, not 14 days.
Inmates at correctional facilities in Shelby County are making free masks for the community.
Masks are being delivered to three local organizations for distribution: Agape Child and Family Services, HopeWorks and YMCA child care centers.
Harris said inmates will continue making masks.
There will be a surge in testing at the prison at Shelby Farms by June 8.
Test results will be made available to the community.
SCHD Director Alisa Haushalter said the county has a total of 3,761 cases of COVID-19.
We are continuing to see a downward trend of cases.
There have been 85 deaths as of this morning, Haushalter said.
Over 52,000 people have been tested.
Last week, fewer people requested testing; testing capacity was only filled at 37 percent.
Over 65 percent of people have recovered, nearly 2,500 people.
1,200 people are still recovering, Haushalter said.
2,080 people are currently in quarantine through contact tracing.
Dr. Bruce Randolph, SCHD official, said that a formal health directive #4 is being issued today.
In this directive, social and recreational gatherings are increased from 10 to 50 people.
People are encouraged to wear a cloth facial covering inside a business. That is not a requirement.
The directive includes expanding capacity in museums and libraries to 50 percent.
Hotels can now operate at up to 50 percent capacity in common areas.
Non-contact recreational facilities and activities are open to 50 percent capacity.
Gatherings up to 10 people at those facilities are allowed, but groups must be separated at least six feet apart.
A business can require customers to wear face coverings.
Businesses must place signs at entrances and high-traffic areas to encourage people not to enter if they have symptoms, to wash their hands and to practice social distancing.
UPDATE: (12:13 p.m.) The Memphis Botanic Garden will reopen to the general public tomorrow, according to a press release.
The Garden will open at 9 a.m.
UPDATE: (11:52 a.m.) Beginning immediately, Olive Branch City Parks will be open from 7:00 a.m. until 9:00 p.m., according to a Facebook post by the City of Olive Branch Government.
The Olive Bark Park is also reopening today.
UPDATE: (10:43 a.m.) Shelby County can enter into Phase 2 of the Back-to-Business plan beginning today.
UPDATE: (10:24 a.m.) Shelby County health officials are reporting 3,761 total cases of COVID-19, 42 since yesterday.
85 people have died, one more than yesterday.
A total of 52,227 people have been tested for the virus in the county.
UPDATE: (7:00 a.m.) Free and voluntary testing for COVID-19 will begin this week in many of Memphis’ public housing units.
Today’s testing will be from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the following locations:
Legends Park North
Montgomery Plaza Apartments
G. E. Patterson Pointe Apartments
Tomorrow’s testing locations are:
Kefauver Terrace Apartments (9 a.m. to 11 a.m.)
Jefferson Square Apartments (9 a.m. to 1 p.m.)
UPDATE: (6:33 a.m.) The Southaven Municipal Court will resume in-person court appearances today.
If you have a scheduled court date for today or any date thereafter, call the court clerk’s office at 662-393-7042, Option 3 to find out your options for appearing in court.
If you are unsure when your court date is scheduled, visit www.southaven.org/courtrecords to find out.
All persons entering the courtroom will be screened for COVID-19.
Social distancing will be enforced. Face masks are encouraged.
Until further notice, the court rule banning cell phones from the courtroom will be suspended; however, cell phones must be turned off prior to entering the courtroom.
UPDATE: (6:26 a.m.) Arkansas indoor venues can reopen today under set guidelines.
UPDATE: (6:05 a.m.) According to a Tweet by Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson, all retailers in the state will open today under Phase 1 restrictions specific to the retailer’s industry.
UPDATE: (5:09 a.m.) Southland Casino Racing will reopen this morning at 9 a.m.
Health and safety protocols will be in place; guests must wear face coverings.
UPDATE: (4:49 a.m.) Here’s a list of today’s mobile food pantries through the Mid-South Food Bank:
Memphis, Riverside Baptist Church 3560 Third St. 38109, 10 a.m.
Memphis, Lowrance Park "Kid Friendly", 7740 Lowrance 38125, 10 a.m.
Shelby Cty, TN- Reach Uplift Ministry 4284 Shelby in Millington 38053, 10 a.m.
Tate Cty, MS- Second Baptist Church 716 Forest Circle in Coldwater 38618, 10 a.m.
Coahoma Cty, MS- Care Station 1150 Wildcat in Clarksdale 38614, 10 a.m.
Union Cty, MS- Iglesia Adventista Del Septimo Dia 1022 CR 324 in New Albany 38652, 10 a.m.
Hardeman Cty, TN- Zion Temple 760 McTizic in Bolivar 38008, 10 a.m.
UPDATE: (4:40 a.m.) Below is the latest number of coronavirus cases, by state, for our area:
TENNESSEE: 17,388 cases. 298 deaths. 9,652 recovered.
Shelby County: 3,719 total cases. 1,212 active cases, 84 deaths.
ARKANSAS: 4,759 cases. 98 deaths. 3,590 recoveries.
Crittenden County: 234 cases, 7 deaths.
MISSISSIPPI: 11,296 cases. 521 deaths.
DeSoto County: 386 cases. 5 deaths.