TIMELINE: Mid-South coronavirus updates March 30

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, March 30

UPDATE: (7:30 p.m.) Arkansas health officials announced there are 508 cases of the coronavirus.

UPDATE: (6:10 p.m.) SCS released new information to the seniors.

UPDATE: (5:30 p.m.) The UTHSC College of Dentistry has successfully created highly effective biologic filtration masks using a 3D printer used by the Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery.

The release said:

“We were having difficulty obtaining the proper PPE (personal protective equipment) N95 mask,” said Jeffrey Brooks, DMD, executive associate dean and associate dean of clinical affairs for the UTHSC College of Dentistry. “The Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery decided to get creative and to fabricate a mask that would allow us to use N95 or similar material to manufacture our own PPE, specifically masks.”

The 3D printers were previously used by the department to print bio-models for maxillofacial trauma and pathology cases to improve reconstruction and surgery outcomes. The 3D printers are able to produce precise and specific models.

The college has been experimenting with several designs to discover which design will allow production of the most masks in the least amount of time. According to Dr. Brooks, the College of Dentistry has decided on a design and have printed over 10 custom masks. With the current design, the base portion of the mask can be used indefinitely, and the mask can be disinfected, and the filter component can be replaced. They are using polyvinyl siloxane (PVS) material to fit the mask to the provider and get an airtight seal to the face. Moda Fabrics of Dallas, TX, donated bands to the college at no cost for use in the masks.

Initial masks produced will be used by College of Dentistry faculty and residents who are maintaining operations of their emergency dental clinic. The Dunn Dental clinic, as well as the UTHSC pediatric dental clinic at Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital, are providing emergency dental procedures for current patients of the College of Dentistry and the community. In addition, the College of Dentistry’s Oral Pathology Lab, which examines oral specimens, is one of only such labs still open in the region. Intake of emergency dental procedures is allowing patients to go to the College of Dentistry instead of filling up hospital emergency rooms in the city.

“This is a time for us to come together as health care practitioners,” said James C. Ragain, Jr., DDS, dean of the UTHSC College of Dentistry. “Dental emergencies can be not only painful, but life threatening. People still need to have treatment. The reason we are staying open and keeping people out of emergency rooms is it allows the hospital staff to concentrate on those that potentially have COVID-19 so they are not having to treat someone who has an oral abscess or an infection. It’s a team effort to get through this crisis.”

Please visit https://www.uthsc.edu/dentistry/covid19-notice.php for more information on urgent or emergency dental care services.

UPDATE: (5:15 p.m.) The Shelby County Health Department took to Twitter to showcase all the testing sites in the county.

UPDATE: (3:50 p.m.) FedEx Ground is hiring 400 positions in Olive Branch to meet the high demand during the coronavirus pandemic.

Open positions are for package handlers with growth opportunities to build a great career.

Anyone interested in joining the FedEx Ground team in Olive Branch to visit GroundWarehouseJobs.fedex.com. Interested candidates must be at least 18 years of age.

UPDATE: (3:45 p.m.) The Town of Collierville announced Monday that all playgrounds in Collierville Parks will be closing on Tuesday until further notice.

“The Town of Collierville understands the important value playgrounds and play structures provide to communities across the country, especially for children. But, given the current situation and the guidance from public health officials on physical distancing, limiting in-person social interactions, avoiding spaces where people congregate in close quarters, and the concerns around transmission of the virus being spread through surfaces, we believe that playgrounds and play structures should close in an effort to reduce community spread.”

The Town of Collierville will continue to monitor all available information provided in reference to general park open green space and walking trails.

UPDATE: (3:35 p.m.) The City of Germantown announced Monday that all part-time employees would be temporarily laid off.

In a press release, the city said that the majority of the positions include staff from Germantown Athletic Club and the Parks & Recreation before and after school care program.

A total of 209 part time employees are affected by this decision. Of those, 189 were employed at the Athletic Club or the Parks and Recreation Department. Part time employees received full pay from March 16 to 29, despite not being able to report to work.

“This has been one of the most difficult decisions I have had to make in my 31 years as Germantown’s city administrator,” said Patrick Lawton. “We value our employees and we understand that they are the ones who make Germantown a great place to live but we also have to balance our fiscal responsibility to our taxpayers. That being said, this is likely the first of many very difficult personnel decisions that we will have to make in the coming weeks,” Lawton added.

UPDATE: (3:30 p.m.) During his daily update Monday, Tennessee Governor Bill Lee ordered the closure of all nonessential businesses statewide in order to stop the spread of coronavirus.

The governor called the order the “Safer at Home” order, similar to what Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland announced last week.

The order is not a mandatory shelter in place order. It restricts businesses that cannot safely operate during this pandemic.

CLICK HERE for the latest on the Governor’s new order.

UPDATE: (3 p.m.) Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland limiting access to all city-owned parks effective 8 a.m. Tuesday.

Strickland will also have certain roads closed, which includes Riverside Dr. The Fire Marshal will mandate which roads can be closed around parks.

City employees will be at each park to limit congregating.

The mayor does not want to shut down the parks but emphasizes things need to change.

The city has talked to local religious leaders to help with social-distancing.

The city has also asked companies to freeze rent and mortgage payments for those who need help.

The mayor said the city will extend the “Safer at Home” order. In a day or two, they will announce when and how long.

Strickland said that the doctors he has conversed with said Memphians are not helping flatten the curve.

If you have tested for the coronavirus, stay at home no matter what, even if you aren’t showing symptoms, Strickland said.

Mayor asks neighboring counties to put a “Safer at Home” order because they will use Memphis hospitals and it will deplete services.

UPDATE: (2:15 p.m.) The health department indicated that over the weekend, the percentage of increase was slower than before.

They have seen more cases in the aging population which includes an outbreak at an assisted living facility.

Shelby County Mayor Lee Harris said there will be a commission meeting Wednesday and will discuss a public awareness campaign for social-distancing.

Tennessee courts have asked jails to reduce the inmate populations at the jails, including the Shelby County Jail.

District Attorney Amy Weirich said the supreme court ordered all out of custody court dates to be postponed, with no jury trials and possibly no Grand Jury trials until April 30 to reduce the traffic at 201 Poplar.

The county jail has been using an assessment tool to released low-level offenders.

End of the year, there were 3,000 inmates in jail, now there are 1,900 offenders.

There have been over 500 letters sent out to people whose cases have been dismissed to also reduce the traffic.

Unfortunately, Children’s Services have seen a decline in child abuse reports because they highly rely on teachers to report them and with school out, there are not as many reports.

They ask for everyone to help report child abuse.

UPDATE: (2:00 p.m.) The Tennessee Department of Health is reporting 297 new cases or coronavirus in the state, bringing the total to 1834.

There have been 13 deaths and 148 hospitalizations across the Volunteer State.

UPDATE: (1:30 p.m.) Governor Asa Hutchinson gave his daily press briefing on how Arkansas is combating the coronavirus.

Arkansas now has 473 cases of COVID-19.

62 are hospitalized and there are seven deaths, the new death was older than 65 and was in a nursing home.

17 of the cases are children, 149 are adults older than 65 and 307 are adults 18 to 64.

The cases breakdown into 71 are domestic travel, 73 are healthcare workers, 47 are in nursing homes and 21 are on ventilators.

Parks are open but there have been measures put in place to reduce the risk of transmission which include closed lodges, camping can only happen if it is an RV, museums closed, bathhouses closed and a contact list must be given when checking into a campground.

Arkansas has supply delivery dates for protective gear for first responders and healthcare workers.

Governor approved $45 million in additional funds for ventilators and protective gear in an emergency measure.

UPDATE: (10:20 a.m.) The Mississippi Center for Justice is asking citizens to make and donate cloth masks for vulnerable populations during the coronavirus epidemic.

The masks will be used for people who live or work in facilities such as prisons, jails and mental health centers.

Read the full story here.

UPDATE: (10:05 a.m.) The Mississippi Department of Health announced there are now 847 cases of the coronavirus in the state and two more deaths totaling 16.

DeSoto County up to 77 cases.

UPDATE: (9:25 a.m.) Arkansas has 449 cases of COVID-19, according to health department officials.

UPDATE: (9:15 a.m.) Shelby County has 379 confirmed cases of COVID-19, according to the Memphis City Council.

UPDATE: (9:05 a.m.) Landscape Workshop, a commercial landscape company, is hiring for its Memphis location.

The company announced this morning they would like to make several new hires.

The company is located at 1814 Thomas Rd, Memphis, TN 38134.

UPDATE: (8:50 a.m.) The West Memphis Police Department is asking the public to remember proper social distancing during the coronavirus outbreak.

WMPD tweeted they responded to large gatherings, including cookouts and basketball games, and that citizens need to take social distancing seriously.

UPDATE: (8:45 a.m.) The Mid-South Food Bank is distributing food today through the Mobile Pantry at the following locations:

Memphis, KROC Center, 800 E. Parkway 38104 9 a.m.

Kirby Middle School, 6670 Raines Rd., 38115 9 a.m.

Lowrance Park 7740 Lowrance Rd. 38125 10 a.m.

Dyer County, TN- 11:00 a.m. 114 W. Main St., 38059 in Newbern

Tate County, MS- 716 Forest Circle in Coldwater 38618 10 a.m.

UPDATE: (7:20 a.m.) The Tokyo Olympics have been rescheduled for July 23-Aug. 8, 2021, according to the International Olympic Committee.

The Olympics were originally scheduled to take place this summer.

UPDATE: (6:30 a.m.) Truck drivers told FOX13 this weekend they had been parked for days at the Kroger Distribution Center, unable to deliver food because the Center was shut down.

We reached out to a Kroger representative, who said the Center was not shut down, and that massive amounts of products were being shipped in and out as quickly as possible.

Watch the full interview below:

UPDATE: (6:20 a.m.) Eligibility has created a guide for Medicare beneficiaries as they deal with the current COVID-19 pandemic.

The guide covers the following topics:

- Does Medicare cover testing, treatment, hospitalization? - Finding Medicare info online - Using medicare for telemedicine - Getting prescriptions while in quarantine

You can find the full guide here: https://eligibility.com/medicare/covid-19-medicare-coverage-guide.

UPDATE: (4:45 a.m.) Below are the current number of coronavirus cases by state for our area:

Tennessee 1,537 - 3 in Dyer County, 10 in Fayette County, 313 in Shelby County, 15 in Tipton County. 7 reported deaths.

Arkansas 449 - 17 in Crittenden County. 6 reported deaths.

Mississippi 758 - 18 in Coahoma County, 71 in DeSoto County, 13 in Lafayette County, 13 in Marshall County, 5 in Panola County, 9 in Tate County, 23 in Tippah County, 6 in Tunica County.14 reported deaths.