TIMELINE: Mid-South coronavirus updates April 6

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, April 6

UPDATE: (7:35 p.m.) Arkansas now stands at 927 cases according to the Arkansas Department of Health.

UPDATE: (5:15 p.m.) Monday, April 6, the DeSoto County Board of Supervisors was notified an employee working in the Administration Building tested positive for COVID-19.

The employee last worked on April 1. The employee has not been hospitalized and will remain at home away from others until they recover.

Co-workers who have been in direct contact with this employee have been notified. The employee does not generally work with the public.

UPDATE: (5:05 p.m.) Mayor Jim Strickland announced Monday arrangements have been made with two hotels to provide 60 rooms for homeless women and families.

The city said it is also working with the Hospitality Hub, MIFA and other organizations to secure rooms for homeless men.

Another goal is to have a mobile testing unit to move around the city and test homeless people in different parts of the city.

UPDATE: (4:15 p.m.) The Mississippi Department of Health announced free drive-up COVID-19 testing is coming up this week in Raleigh, Eupora and Tunica.

UPDATE: (4:15 p.m.) The Kroger Family of Companies announced the adoption of customer capacity limits to further encourage physical distancing in stores.

Beginning April 7, the retailer will begin to limit the number of customers to 50 percent of the international building code’s calculated capacity to allow for proper physical distancing in every store.

“Kroger’s introduction of customer capacity limits is one more way we are doing our part to flatten the curve while operating as an essential business, providing our customers with access to fresh, affordable food and products,” said Mary Ellen Adcock, Kroger’s senior vice president of operations.

“During this national pandemic, we are committed to adopting preventive measures to help protect the safety and health of our associates, customers, and communities.”

UPDATE: (3:00 p.m.) Governor Bill Lee of Tennessee discussed new updates to the coronavirus pandemic.

Tennessee has made 1,000 shipments to every county in the state with supplies needed to keep communities, first responders and healthcare workers safe.

In the last 48 hours, there have been some positive trends across the state and country, however, the governor did not specify what the trends were.

The governor reiterated for Tennesseans to continue to stay home.

Small and rural hospitals have seen a big strain on operations. $10 million in grants have been given to them for help.

Gov. Lee also said the 2021 budget will include money for COVID-19 relief for local governments

The federal government is assisting Medicaid and others for health services and testing.

TennCare has submitted a waiver to the federal government to make sure those who do not have insurance can get their medical needs taken care of.

The U.S. Army of Engineers announced there are over 35 facilities that have been approved statewide in multiple regions to begin the second phase of becoming alternative care sites for coronavirus patients.

They have mobilized over 500 guardsmen, about 250 have medical training, and retired military have volunteered to help in the COVID-19 response.

The state health department said the number of cases isn’t increasing as fast because the social distancing is working, but the deaths and hospitalization numbers will increase.

There has been one inmate and three staff members at a Tennessee prison that have tested positive. There are a few pending tests.

UPDATE: (2:50 p.m.) The Memphis Zoo released a statement about its animals after a tiger Bronx Zoo tested positive for COVID-19.

On Sunday, April 5th Memphis Zoo officials learned about a Bronx Zoo Tiger testing positive for COVID-19.

The health and well-being of the animals and staff at Memphis Zoo continue to be our top priority.

“We remain vigilant, implementing the safest practices possible for our animals and care teams,” said senior Memphis Zoo veterinarian Dr. Felicia Knightly.

Currently, we are not testing any of our animals for coronavirus and none of our animals are showing any symptoms of this virus.

UPDATE: (2:00 p.m.) The Tennessee Department of Health released new numbers of cases Monday afternoon.

Right now, there are 3802 confirmed cases in the state, including 65 deaths, 352 hospitalizations and 356 recovered.

UPDATE: (1:55 p.m.) In addition to one Shelby County Sheriff’s Office detainee testing positive for the coronavirus, SCSO also announced Monday that 14 SCSO employees have also tested positive.

Last week, the sheriff’s office said that two employees had tested positive.

The employees work in various assignments. 13 are in self-quarantine at home and one has fully recovered.

The sheriff’s office says they have suspended all vacation time for employees has canceled all business-related travel through June.

UPDATE: (1:35 p.m.) Gov. Asa Hutchinson held a news conference on the COVID-19 response in Arkansas. The case number in the state is nearing 900.

Thirteen nursing homes in the state have a resident or a worker that has tested positive with the virus.

The governor said the doubling time for the virus in the state has increased from four days to seven days, meaning the spread is slowing.

Hutchinson said although they are seeing success, it is clear that this will go on for some time. He urged people to continue social distancing.

He also closed Arkansas schools for the remainder of the school year. No in-school instruction will be allowed. It will only be alternative schooling.

School districts will still be allowed to provide food for students that need it, as long as they can follow CDC guidelines.

During the news conference, they said seniors will be allowed to graduate as long as they are in good standing with the state and the local counties.

UPDATE: (1:30 p.m.) A Shelby County Sheriff’s Office detainee tested positive for the coronavirus.

After experiencing symptoms of coronavirus last week, the detainee was taken to Regional One to be evaluated. They have since been released and are in quarantine at the jail.

The person has been in custody at the Shelby County Jail since early January 2020, according to the sheriff’s office. The detainee is being held on several charges with a $599,000 bond.

No additional detainees have tested positive for the virus.

The Shelby County Sheriff’s Office is continuing to pre-screen employees and vendors coming into all facilities. The sheriff’s office says that all employees who work with detainees are required to wear masks.

UPDATE: (12:45 p.m.) ALLMemphis and Shelby County Schools (SCS) have joined forces to provide high-quality, multisensory foundational literacy lessons to kindergarteners, first-graders and second-graders on C19TV while schools are closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

ALLMemphis will provide three lessons per day, one appropriate for each grade, which will air every Monday through Wednesday, according to a press release.

Read the full story here.

UPDATE: (12:30 p.m.) Tennessee Governor Bill Lee announced $200 million in grants to be distributed to every county and city government across Tennessee for one-time, local expenses in the fiscal year 2021.


UPDATE: (12:00 p.m.) The city of Memphis and the Shelby County Health Department held a joint press conference Monday afternoon to discuss efforts on combating the coronavirus in our area.

The Coronavirus Task Force is a joint group between the city, county, health department and various other subsidiaries within the county and city, plus health officials.

There are 789 positive cases, 13 deaths and over 8,000 people have been tested in the county for the virus.

The state will likely be announcing another health facility in Memphis today.

The task force is working on more testing sites, to make sure the community can take all the proper precautions.

Mayor Jim Strickland reiterated that Memphians need to continue social distancing because the virus feeds on social interactions.

The “Safer at Home” order has been extended to April 21 in Memphis.

There have been 140 businesses that have been warned.

Memphis Police received 40 calls of people not social distancing and 15 churches have been warned.

The task force is coordinating with various city agencies to help the homeless populations.

The task force has secured two hotels for single women, women with children and families. They are continuing to work to secure two more hotels for men.

The Shelby County Health Department said the majority of the cases are between the ages of 21 to 60.

The county anticipates a surge in the next couple of weeks. The health department is working with local health officials to prepare.

UPDATE: (11:40 a.m.) Today, Tennessee Governor Bill Lee announced the state will allocate $10 million in Small and Rural Hospital Readiness Grants to support hospitals that are facing financial strain due to the ongoing response to COVID-19.

The funds, capped at $500,000 per hospital, will be allocated from the state’s FY20 COVID-19 response appropriation and distributed by the Department of Finance & Administration, according to a press release.

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UPDATE: (10:15 a.m.) Mississippi health officials are reporting 100 new cases of the coronavirus today, with eight new deaths.

Total number of cases in Mississippi is now 1,738 with 51 deaths.

UPDATE: (10:07 a.m.) City of West Memphis Mayor McClendon signed a local emergency order April 2 as a precautionary measure during the coronavirus outbreak.

Today Mayor McClendon will address the needs of the City of West Memphis in order to slow the spread of the virus, according to a press release.

The mayor will call for citizens to limit activities outside their homes between 9 p.m. and 5 a.m., except for necessary essential activities, according to the press release.

UPDATE: (10:05 a.m.) Shelby County health officials are reporting two more deaths due to coronavirus.

The number of deaths in the county is now 13, according to officials.

UPDATE: (10 a.m.) The American Hotel and Lodging Association (AHLA) announced today that more than 15,000 hotels have signed up for its new initiative, Hospitality for Hope, which identifies hotel properties that have offered to provide temporary housing for emergency and healthcare workers as the COVID-19 public health crisis grows.

While the program will primarily focus on housing for the healthcare community, some hotels could potentially be used as alternative care sites, such as an emergency hospital or place for those quarantined to stay if needed, according to a press release.

Hotels interested in joining AHLA’s Hospitality for Hope initiative can volunteer HERE.

Click here for the full story.

UPDATE: (9:40 a.m.) The Salvation Army of Memphis & the Mid-South is providing drive-through food distribution to help feed people in need during the coronavirus pandemic.

The Salvation Army of Memphis’ Kroc Center in Midtown will serve as a drive-through mobile pantry site for Shelby County residents today beginning at 10 a.m.

The Kroc Center is located at 800 E Pkwy S, Memphis, TN 38104.

The first 250 households will be served, according to a press release.

Individuals must show a photo ID or another proof of residency and complete a verification form on site.

Volunteers will put food in families’ cars to limit contact, according to the press release.

To donate to The Salvation Army’s efforts, please visit www.kettle365.org.

UPDATE: (9:23 a.m.) Memphis Travel, in partnership with the City of Memphis, has a temporary employment opportunity available in the tourism and hospitality industry.

Pay is $12.51 per hour, according to Memphis Travel’s Twitter post.

Apply here.

UPDATE: (9:12 a.m.) On March 25 the Supreme Court of Tennessee issued an order which included an extension of certain statutory deadlines due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Tennessee Comptroller’s Office has determined this should apply to Tax Freeze and Tax Relief deadlines, according to a press release.

The new deadline for Tax Freeze/Tax Relief applicants to submit their Tax Freeze/Tax Relief application to the Trustee’s Office will be Wednesday, May 6.

Click here for the full story.

UPDATE: (8:55 a.m.) Arkansas health officials are reporting another case of coronavirus in the state, for a total of 854 cases.

The state has had 102 recoveries from the coronavirus, according to officials.

UPDATE: (8:45 a.m.) Memphis mayor Jim Strickland said he will be joining us live every Monday morning at 7:20 for an interview.

This morning, he spoke with FOX13′s Valerie Calhoun concerning coronavirus in the city.

According to Strickland:

A car wash on Park Avenue was shut down for refusing to close;

People who believe they are working in unhealth situations (i.e. coworkers testing postive for COVID-19) should call the Shelby County Health Department, not 311.

As of yesterday, City code inspectors had 140 complaints and had inspected 137 companies due to allegation they were violating the Safer-at-Home order. All but one company has complied.

Watch the full interview below for more takeaways:

UPDATE: (8:10 a.m.) The number of COVID-19 cases in Shelby County is now 789, according to City of Memphis officials.

UPDATE: (5:49 a.m.) The Tennessee Department of Human Services (TDHS) launched a special hotline this month to help make it easier for families with children to check on their application for emergency cash assistance, according to a press release.

Applicants can call 833-496-0661 to learn the status of their application, including approval or denial and how much money the approved family can expect to receive.

Applications for emergency cash assistance will be accepted through May 29, according to the press release.

All TDHS offices are currently operating on an “appointment basis” as a precaution for COVID-19, so the department is asking applicants to complete the application process online at https://tdhs.servicenow.com/relief?id=relief_registration.

Applicants DO NOT need to call the DHS office for an interview. Applicants will be emailed a response and if approved they should receive an EBT card in the mail within 10 to 15 days.

UPDATE: (5:43 a.m.) There will be a prayer vigil tonight at St. Francis Hospital-Park at 7:15 p.m.

A Bellevue Baptist Church member has arranged a group of community members (all are welcome) to lift up the staff and patients at Saint Francis-Park in prayer, according to an email.

The event will take place in the back parking lot, and those attending will remain in their cars and turn their hazards on during prayer and songs.

If it is not raining, another participant plans to bring sidewalk chalk and write uplifting messages for the staff to see as they enter the building, according to the email.

UPDATE: (5:40 a.m.) The Mid-South Food Bank will be distributing food today through its Mobile Pantry at the following locations:

Memphis, SLIM House, 1130 College St. 38106, 11 a.m.

Memphis, KROC Center, 800 E. Parkway, 10 a.m.

Memphis, Divine Life Riverdale Rd. 38141, 10 a.m.

Fayette Cty, TN- LaGoshen Baptist Church 490 LaGoshen in Moscow 3805, 10 a.m.

UPDATE: (5 a.m.) Below are the latest numbers by state for our area:

Tennessee 3,633 - 9 cases in Dyer County. 20 cases in Fayette County. 6 cases in Hardeman County. 736 cases in Shelby County. 33 cases in Tipton County.

In Shelby County, 11 people have died due to the coronavirus, according to City of Memphis officials.

In Tennessee, 41,667 cases have been negative and 311 people have been hospitalized.

In Tennessee, 44 people have died due to the coronavirus and 416 people have recovered.

Arkansas 853 - 53 cases in Crittenden County.

In Arkansas, 11,780 people have been tested for the coronavirus.

There have been 100 recoveries in the state. There are currently 67 people hospitalized.

In Arkansas, 16 people have died due to the coronavirus.

Mississippi 1,638 - 28 in Coahoma County. 132 in DeSoto County. 22 in Lafayette County. 17 in Panola County. 15 in Tate County. 35 in Tippah County. 17 in Tunica County.

In Mississippi, 43 have died due to the coronavirus.

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