TIMELINE: Mid-South coronavirus updates April 17

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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, April 17, 2020:

UPDATE: (7:49 p.m) The mayor of Bartlett, A. Keith McDonald, issued an executive order extending the State of Emergency and executive orders put in place due to COVID-19.

The State of Emergency will continue through April 24, 2020, and only for seven days unless it is deemed necessary for an additional seven-days.

UPDATE: (2:55 p.m.) The City of West Memphis announced that West Memphis Utilities would be suspending disconnections temporarily because of the coronavirus pandemic.

All bill payments will still be due and customers are asked to make payments at the drive-thru window, through he mail, in the deposit drop box, or online.

🚨ATTENTION WEST MEMPHIS UTILITY CUSTOMERS🚨

Posted by The City of West Memphis on Friday, April 17, 2020

UPDATE: (2:40 p.m.) The Shelby County Health Department released the following statement after two of their employees tested positive for coronavirus.

"Like many essential businesses, the Health Department has had employees impacted by the COVID-19 virus. A total of two Health Department employees have tested positive for COVID-19. The Health Department followed CDC guidelines and both employees and their close contacts in the workplace were quarantined for 14 days.

One employee at our commodities warehouse at 1020 S. Bellevue is currently quarantined for 14 days because of a potential exposure outside of the workplace. Because the employee has experienced no symptoms, there is no risk to other staff members and no need to quarantine coworkers at the warehouse.

The Health Department follows all CDC recommendations regarding COVID-19 workplace exposures because the health and safety of our staff and customers is of primary importance. The Health Department had 4 employees quarantined at home due to a potential exposure. All but one has completed the quarantine period and returned to work.

Additionally the Health Department screens employees for fever and signs and symptoms of illness each day when they arrive for work. And the Health Department’s custodial staff has stepped up cleaning and sanitization routines at all Health Department facilities, with a particular focus on frequently touched surfaces and areas that are open to the public."

UPDATE: (2:30 p.m.) The Tennessee Department of Health released updated numbers Friday afternoon.

There are now 6589 confirmed cases in the state with 142 deaths and 711 hospitalizations.

So far, 87,273 people have been tested and 3017 have recovered.

Below is a breakdown by age range and county:

UPDATE: (1:34 p.m.) The governor opened by giving condolences to the family of Chief Petter officer Charles Robert Thacker Jr. who died from the coronavirus. He passed away from the coronavirus. He was from Forrest City.

There are have been no new deaths in the state of Arkansas, however, the state hospitalizations are up to 93.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson thanked the president for setting a criteria. He said he plan helps him as a governor to set a clear path to reopen. The governor wanted to make it clear it is only a start and there is a long road to get there.

He likes the flexibility and said it was a good starting point for the states. The governor said they meet two out of the three criteria to head into phase one of reopening. The main concern still is the number of cases, which continues to rise in Arkansas.

He said they want to start lifting some of the restrictions, but the only way the state will get there is if people listen to officials. Mainly pointing to Dr. Smith, the health director, for guidance.

He hopes that on May 4 they can start to lift the restrictions. Although, he said he wants to start some elective procedures before that day at area hospitals. But, only if they can be done safely.

Dr. Smith said the state has increased testing across the state.

The health director said businesses need to start to prepare for reopening while thinking about how they will keep social distancing possible. Consider what type of products you will be to safely operate with new guidelines in place.

Dr. Smith also broke down the number of infections that have been reported in the Arkansas Prison system.

  • Correctional Facility Forrest City - 57 total inmates, 9 Staff
  • Little Rock Community Corrections- 89 cases, which includes inmates and staff.
  • Cummins Unit- 129 cases at the facility

UPDATE: (12 p.m.) The Shelby County COVID-19 Joint Task Force gave its daily update on the coronavirus.

Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland said people who feel ill and have symptoms should get tested.

Strickland said testing is not being done currently unless a person has symptoms.

Strickland said there are not enough tests to test people who do not have symptoms.

More testing is being added today in Frayser and Hickory Hill.

The Mayor has launched the Mayor’s Meal Challenge in order to support both local restaurants and the Mid-South Food Bank.

The Mayor will pay $25 from leftover campaign funds to the Mid-South Food Bank for photos showing take-out purchases from local restaurants.

The photos must be posted to Mayor Strickland’s social media page or the City of Memphis social media page.

Strickland said he would like 100 photos this weekend

Photo submissions must tag either Mayor Strickland or the City of Memphis and use the hashtags #mayorsmealchallenge and #saferathome.

Strickland encouraged citizens to support local businesses.

Strickland said people could donate directly to the Mid-South Food Bank at www.midsouthfoodbank.org.

Tomorrow, the Links at Whitehaven golf course will open under strict social distancing guidelines approved by the health department as a test run.

Alisa Haushalter, director of the Shelby County Health Department, said there are 1,616 cases in Shelby County, an increase of 108 from yesterday.

Haushalter said the number of positive cases is still growing but not at the initial rate.

There have been 35 total deaths due to COVID-19 in Shelby County.

So far 15,437 people have been tested in Shelby County.

Haushalter said testing turnaround time is currently 24-48 hours.

Haushalter said local hospitals are not at full capacity yet.

People who work in hospital settings are at increased risk of COVID-19 exposure.

Almost 3,000 contacts have been identified, and 1,247 contact cases have been closed.

There are currently more than 1,000 contacts in quarantine.

Haushalter said two employees of the Shelby County Health Department have tested positive for COVID-19.

Anyone who had close contact with those people is in quarantine.

UPDATE: (10:41 a.m.) The Salvation Army of Memphis & the Mid-South is expanding its Canteen Ministry restaurant partnership to include serving meals to first responders, according to a press release.

Seven days a week through at least the end of May, employees at various locally-owned Panera Bread restaurants will prepare 250 meals a day to be served to first responders.

UPDATE: (10 a.m.) Shelby County health officials are reporting 1,616 cases of COVID-19.

35 people have died in Shelby County as a result of the virus.

UPDATE: (9:05 a.m.) Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves gave an update on the state’s shelter-in-place order this morning via Facebook.

Reeves said he has extended the order for seven more days.

Reeves thanked Mississippians for their strength and courage during this time.

“We are heading towards reopening,” Reeves said.

UPDATE: (6:04 a.m.) The Shelby County Animal Welfare Coalition, in support of the Memphis/Shelby County COVID-19 Joint Task Force, will launch a temporary pet food pantry to assist pet owners during the coronavirus pandemic, according to a press release.

The Coalition is asking for donations for the pet food pantry.

The primary pet food physical donation dropoff point is Memphis Animal Services, located at 2350 Appling City Cove, Memphis TN 38133. This is the preferred drop-off site, as this is where recipients will pick up their items.

Donors can leave food items at the shelter under the blue awning outside of the gate on the bench marked with a sign reading: “DONATIONS.”

Additional contactless dropoff locations include:

• Humane Society of Memphis & Shelby County, 935 Farm Road (at ADOPTIONS door)

• Germantown Animal Shelter, 7700 Southern Avenue (bench in front of building)

• Any Memphis-area Hollywood Feed store

Supporters can also order pet food online to be shipped to MAS, according to the press release. You can order fromt www.hollywoodfeed.com, where same-day delivery is free through the month of April with no minimum purchase required.

You can also order from the Amazon wish list, or order from any online retailer to be shipped directly to MAS.

UPDATE: (4:54 a.m.) The Mid-South Food Bank will be distributing food today through its Mobile Pantry at the following locations:

Memphis, Dwelling Place 3034 Austin Peay Hwy 10 a.m.

Memphis, The Healing Center 3885 Tchulahoma Rd. 38118, 10 a.m.

Memphis, Inglesia Nueva Direccion 3097 Knight Rd. 10 a.m.

Memphis, Shady Grove Pres. Church 5530 Shady Grove 10 a.m.

Memphis, Neighborhood Christian, 4738 Walnut Grove, 38117 9 a.m. Pre-register https://www.ncclife.org/

Memphis, Our Hands to Yours, 2818 Midland Ave. 10 a.m.

Marshall Cty, MS- 3877 Cayce Rd. in Byhalia 38611, 10 a.m.

Alcorn Cty, MS- 313 Pinecrest in Corinth 10 a.m.

DeSoto Cty, MS- New Hope 1407 Church Rd. in Southaven 10 a.m.

Crittenden Cty, AR- 111 S. 13th St. in West Memphis 10 a.m.

UPDATE: (4:30 a.m.) Below are the latest number of cases by state for our area:

Tennessee 6,262 - 141 deaths.

24 cases in Dyer County. 1,508 cases in Shelby County. 54 cases in Tipton County. 42 cases in Fayette County.

32 deaths in Shelby County.

Mississippi 3,624 - 129 deaths.

45 cases in Coahoma County. 211 cases in DeSoto County. 39 cases in Lafayette County. 37 cases in Marshall County. 27 cases in Panola County. 26 cases in Tate County. 45 cases in Tippah County. 26 cases in Tunica County.

Arkansas 1,620 - 37 deaths.

122 cases in Crittenden County. 4 people have died in Crittenden County.