TIMELINE: Mid-South coronavirus updates March 26

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 Thursday, March 26

UPDATES: (9:00 p.m.) Kroger confirmed an employee tested positive for the coronavirus.

The employee works at the Delta Division Distribution Center.


UPDATE: 8:55 (p.m.) According to officials, Arkansas has 349 confirmed coronavirus cases.

UPDATE: (8:25 p.m.) Officials announced drive-thru coronavirus testing at Tiger Lane is ready to begin.

Testing is free. Appointments are required.

UPDATE: (5:35 p.m.) Arkansas health officials announced 3 people have died from the coronavirus.

UPDATE: (4:25 p.m.) Mississippi State Department of Health and the University of Mississippi Medical Center will offer free coronavirus testing on Friday only. Those interested must go through a screening. If there is a risk for the coronavirus, an appointment will be made. Testing sites will be open March 27, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.


UPDATE: (4:17 p.m.) UnitedHealth Group will invest an initial $50 million to fight the COVID-19 pandemic and support those most directly impacted by the public health emergency, including health care workers, hard-hit states, seniors and people experiencing food insecurity or homelessness.

Through several national and local partnerships that will be announced in the coming weeks, UnitedHealth Group and the United Health Foundation will invest approximately:

▪ $30 million in efforts to protect and support health care workers.

▪ $10 million to support states where COVID-19 is having an outsized impact, starting with New York, New Jersey, Washington, California and Florida.

▪ $5 million to address social isolation among seniors.

▪ $5 million to provide care and support for people experiencing food insecurity or homelessness.

UPDATE: (3:37 p.m.) An update from Mayor Jim Strickland,

What are we doing for our homeless population?

Rest assured—we are keeping them top of mind.

The City is actively coordinating with Shelby County, MIFA, Community Alliance for the Homeless, Hospitality Hub and other agencies throughout the City to monitor the capacity and needs shelter providers throughout the City. People who are experiencing homelessness should contact MIFA’s Homeless Hotline at 901-529-4545 in order to be connected to shelter alternatives. If there are individuals that are experiencing domestic violence, they can seek support through the Family Safety Center (901) 222-4400) or Shelby County Crime Victim & Rape Crisis Center (901-222-3950).

My employer isn’t requiring social distancing at work. What should I do?

OSHA is in the best place to report workplace hazards. Under the Safer at Home Order, “essential businesses” remaining open must operate in such a way to protect the health and safety of the community, employees, vendors, and the general public. This includes compliance with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) Guidance on Preparing Workplaces for COVID-19 (https://www.osha.gov/Publications/OSHA3990.pdf) and other applicable state and federal workplace rules.

You may contact the local OSHA office at (901) 543-7259. In addition, you may contact Shelby County Health Department at (901) 222-9000 regarding health concerns in your workplace.

UPDATE: (2:50 p.m.) MATA announced changes to its services in response to the coronavirus.

Starting March 30, MATA will be running on its Sunday schedule.


UPDATE: (2:45 p.m.) Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson share new details of the state’s response today.

Governor Hutchinson said that of the 335 confirmed cases, there are 41 hospitalizations. That’s up from 12 hospitalizations announced yesterday. 13 of those are on 41 are on ventilators, up from 4 yesterday.

Of the 335 cases, 14 are under 18 years old, 213 are between the ages of 19-64, and 108 are 65 or older.

There are still a total of 3 deaths in the state. All are in the central Arkansas area.

13 people are fully recovered and health officials are asking those who have recovered to donate plasma for other critically ill patients with COVID-19.

The Arkansas House and Senate are back in session today trying to work out relief legislation for those in the state.

UPDATE: (2:15 p.m.) The Arkansas Department of Health confirms 335 cases in the state.

There are now confirmed cases in Crittenden, Cross, and Poinsett counties locally.

UPDATE: (2:10 p.m.) The Shelby County Health Department held their daily briefing Thursday afternoon.

As reported earlier. the number of confirmed cases in the county is at 198, up from 170 yesterday.

David Sweat, Chief of Epidemiology at the Shelby County Health Department, said that cases locally still haven’t peaked.

Sweat said that there is still evidence of community transmission.

So far, 463 people have been monitored by Shelby County health officials for possible exposure, Sweat said.

UPDATE: (2:00 p.m.) The number of cases in Tennessee has risen to 957, according to the Tennessee Health Department.

Shelby County: 198

Tipton County: 8

Dyer County: 3

Fayette County: 3

UPDATE: (12:50 p.m.) Moe’s Southwest Grill is offering several promotions on meals and delivery during the coronavirus outbreak:

  • Free Kids Entree - Until March 28, guests will receive a free kids entree with the purchase of any adult entree ordered in-store, on Moes.com or through the Moe’s app. Note: Drink and cookie not included. Offer not available through third-party delivery.
  • New Taco Kit - The new Moe’s Build Your Own Taco Kit serves 4-6 people. With 12 soft flour tortillas, your choice of 2 proteins, lettuce, shredded cheese, pico de gallo, rice, beans, sour cream, a bowl of queso, and chips and salsa, there’s enough for everyone. The kit is available to order in-store, on Moes.com, on Moe’s app for $34.99 and through third-party delivery partners for $39.99.
  • Free Delivery - Until April 10, Moe’s is offering free delivery on orders of $10+ via Moes.com and the Moe’s app.

UPDATE: (12:45 p.m.) Watching movies at home? Malco Theatres is offering curbside pick-up or delivery of five pounds of fresh popcorn.

Call 901-350-5975 for more information.

UPDATE: (12:30 p.m.) The National Civil Rights Museum at the Lorraine Motel will present a virtual commemoration in honor of Dr. King’s life and legacy on April 4, the 52nd anniversary of his death.

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the museum has reworked its original event to produce digital content and a virtual broadcast entitled, “Remember MLK: The Man. The Movement. The Moment.”

The program will air April 4 from 5-6:30 pm CT on the museum’s website, YouTube, Facebook, Livestream platforms.

UPDATE: (12 p.m.) Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the town of Collierville has extended the suspension of in-person court proceedings through April 30.

Exceptions to the suspension are available here: collierville.com/departments/municipal-court

If you have a court date during this time period for traffic court, please see below for rescheduling information.

If you have a case pending in traffic or criminal court, please contact the Court Clerk’s Office by calling 901-457-2580.

UPDATE: (11:30 a.m.)Today the Mississippi State Department of Health reported another death from coronavirus (COVID-19) in the state, bringing the total to six.

The case was a Rankin County male 80-85 with underlying conditions. He died while hospitalized.

Deaths have been previously reported in Hancock, Holmes, Tunica, Webster and Wilkinson counties

UPDATE: (11:30 a.m.) Tennessee is experiencing an unprecedented spike in new initial unemployment claims, according to data released this morning by this U.S. Department of Labor.

For the week ending March 21, Tennesseans filed 39,096 initial claims for unemployment insurance benefits.

The week prior, the state received 2,702 new unemployment claims.

The latest figure represents a nearly 20-fold increase in week-to-week claims.

The state will release the latest new unemployment claims data each Thursday at 8:30 a.m. CT beginning Thursday, April 2.

Week ending March 21, 2020, at a glance:

  • New: 39,096
  • Last week: 2,702
  • Difference: 36,394

Currently, the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development (TDLWD) is processing these claims as quickly as possible to determine eligibility and distribute benefit payments.

UPDATE: (11:20 a.m.) Beginning today, General Sessions Civil Courts are suspending all in-person court proceedings through April 30.

This mandate applies to all court proceedings. However, proceedings related to mental health cases will be held at the Memphis Mental Health Institute as usual.

For information regarding your court date(s) please visit the General Sessions Court Clerk’s Office website at GS4.Shelbycountytn.gov or you may contact them bty telephone at (901) 222-3400.

UPDATE: (11 a.m.) Congressman Steve Cohen announced Christ Community Health Services will receive a $138,489 grant from the Department of Health and Human Services to support health centers in underserved areas during the COVID-19 outbreak.

UPDATE: (10:30 a.m.) The 2020 Mempho Music Festival has been postponed until 2021.

UPDATE: (10:15 a.m.) Mississippi health department officials have confirmed 485 cases of COVID-19 in the state, over 100 more than yesterday.

UPDATE: (10 a.m.) The state of Tennessee has launched a campaign that urges all Tennesseans to adopt preventive health measures to slow the spread of coronavirus.

“Do your part, stay apart” features Governor Bill Lee, First Lady Maria Lee and Tennessee celebrities, according to a press release.

Dozens of music artists, athletes and sports organizations who collectively reach millions of Tennesseans will join the campaign via social media.

UPDATE (8:52 a.m.) According to the Mayor of Memphis, there are now 198 cases of coronavirus confirmed in Shelby County. The website says the latest number from the state is still at 784.

The Tennessee Department of Health gives updated statewide numbers at 2 p.m.

UPDATE: (8:40 a.m.) Arkansas has 310 cases of COVID-19, according to state health officials.

UPDATE: (8:40 a.m.) Corky’s Ribs & BBQ is working to ease the burden on restaurant employees who were laid off due to business closures during the coronavirus outbreak.

Corky’s is creating jobs at its USDA food manufacturing facility and frozen food distribution facility.

Additionally, the restaurant will provide each employee with a box of frozen food items each week.

Corky’s is also giving weekly Corky’s gift certificates to the employees for drive-thru and pick-up orders.

For more information, contact cwilliams@corkysbbq.com.

UPDATE: (8:30 a.m.) The Nextdoor app now has a Help Map where people who are homebound or high-risk can request help from neighbors.

This could be anything from dropping off groceries to running errands, etc.

The company is requesting helpers use Venmo or CashApp to be paid, and have minimal contact with anyone they are helping.

UPDATE: (7 a.m.) Below is a list of today’s scheduled mobile pantry distributions by the Mid-South Food Bank:

Greater Imani Church, 3824 Austin Peay Hwy, Memphis 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Cordova Family YMCA, 7950 Club Center Cv., Cordova 10 a.m to 1 p.m. You Must pre-register ahead of time: click here- https://form.jotform.com/osc_ncc/ncc-cordova-mobile-pantry-intake-fo

Tunica County, MS- 3873 US Hwy 61 (at the Arena) 10 a.m.

UPDATE: (5 a.m.) Below are the latest number of coronavirus cases by state for our area:

Tennessee 784 - 2 in Dyer County, 3 in Fayette County, 117 in Shelby County, 6 in Tipton County. 3 reported deaths.

Arkansas 308 - 2 in Crittenden County. 2 reported deaths.

Mississippi 377 - 11 in Coahoma County, 36 in DeSoto County, 8 in Lafayette County, 4 in Marshall County, 2 in Panola County, 2 in Tate County, 11 in Tippah County, 3 in Tunica County. 5 reported deaths.