TIMELINE: Mid-South coronavirus updates April 24

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 24, 2020:

UPDATE: (8:00 p.m.) Updated numbers from the Arkansas Department of Health show there are now 2,810 people who have tested positive for COVID-19 in the state. The death toll stands at 47, and 964 people have recovered from the virus.

UPDATE: (7:27 p.m.) A group of Millington Area Chamber of Commerce members partnered with Raceway to serve 500 meals to families Monday, April 27, 2020.

The food drive will start at 2:00 p.m. and will be held behind Raceway located at 8454 US Highway 51 in Millington.

You must bring a valid ID with a 38053 zip code.

One car per family.

ID’s will be checked through the window and food placed in the trunk.

UPDATE: (6:05 p.m.) Due to COVID-19 event cancellations and rescheduling, Memphis In May is actively seeking to replace lost acts who cannot perform in the new Fall Beale Street Music Festival dates.


UPDATE: (5:30 p.m.) As of Friday 751 inmates have tested positive at the Central Arkansas Community Correction Center. 64 staff members have tested positive.

UPDATE: (4:38 p.m.) The City of Bartlett announced that the Stay-At-Home order will extend until April 30, 2020, in an effort to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

UPDATE: (4:23 p.m.) The Shelby County Sheriff Office posted its weekly COVID-19 update with 46 positive tested employees and 8 positive tested detainees.

UPDATE: (3:50 P.M.): Agricenter International announced plans to open its Farmer’s Market on Tues. May 19.

The Farmer’s Market will be open on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. due to COVID-19 concerns and crafts and other non-food items will not be sold.

“We are making new improvements to the Farmer’s Market to address additional concerns during this pandemic. We will be asking all our customers to practice social distancing and follow all local, state, and CDC guidelines,” said John Butler, President of Agricenter International.

UPDATE: (3:08 P.M.): The City of Memphis said they will release reopening plans next week.

The mayor made the announcement during his weekly update.

Read the full announcement below:

"The last six weeks have been unlike any time in our lives. Faced with the coronavirus and based on expert medical opinions, as mayor, I had to take official action to force social distancing. I never imagined the need for such action when I was elected, but it was required in light of the public health emergency.

When faced with uncertain times, President Lincoln told Congress, “As our case is new, so we must think anew, and act anew.”

Recent data is showing a plateau, and our medical experts are of the opinion that our community can seriously plan to lift restrictions and “reopen”, but importantly, with conditions. These plans will be released early next week, and each phase will be implemented based on clear, scientific, and transparent criteria.

Even with transitioning “back to business,” we must remain vigilant with social distancing, personal hygiene, no shaking hands, and face coverings.

Better days are ahead of us! And, I strongly believe that Memphians have the strength and wisdom to endure the virus and the economic hardships. I believe when we emerge on the other side of this, we will do so with the determination and knowledge that we can overcome other obstacles we face with a renewed sense of unity and purpose."

UPDATE: (3:02 P.M.) Germantown said they are preparing to release a phased approach to start reopening the city.

"While the reopening will not happen overnight, the City continues to work diligently with the Shelby County Health Department and municipalities across the county to develop a cooperative approach to getting back to business. All involved are working to prioritize the life and safety of county residents. “We ask you to stick with us. It’s imperative that we remember that this isn’t a sprint, it’s a marathon,” said City Administrator Patrick Lawton. Measures such as social distancing, wearing masks in public spaces, and limiting the number of people who are gathered together are expected to continue for some time. “The only way we will continue to recover from this crisis is if we all do our part to help protect ourselves and our friends and family,” Lawton added.

In an effort to support individuals and families being outside and active, the City of Germantown will be reopening several park amenities beginning Saturday, April 25. “Parks are serving as an incredible source of relief during this stressful time in our City, but we need to start using them in new ways,” said Mayor Mike Palazzolo. “We ask that you keep it moving while in parks, and ensure that you are not contributing to creating a crowded or busy park. We have staff and signage out, but we are relying on the public to follow these new guidelines so that we can keep our parks open and safe,” Mayor Palazzolo added.

The following park amenities will reopen on Saturday:

• Park restrooms

• Tennis courts

• Forgey Dog Park

• Disc golf course at Johnson Road Park

• Houston Levee Skate Park

• Bobby Lanier Farm Park Community Garden

UPDATE: (2:30 p.m.) Gov. Tate Reeves held his daily message for the state of Mississippi.

Gov. Reeves said he signed a Safer at Home order. This still bans social gatherings of 10 or more people. It will go into effect on April 27 and will last two weeks.

It will allow most businesses to reopen. The announcement comes after 150,000 Mississippians have applied for unemployment insurance.

“We as a government will not lock you out,” Reeves said.

Salons, Gyms, tattoo parlors, are some of the businesses that must remain closed. Entertainment places such as movie theatres will not be allowed to open.

Restaurants will still be limited to the curbside and delivery, however, bars must remain closed. Retail stores will be able to reopen at 50 percent capacity to limit crowds.

During the conference, Gov. Reeves said they are not telling people to go out and grab the whole family and go to the store.

They should still minimize the number of people going out and be smart about what they are doing-- Keep social distancing.

Reeves said they trust the people of Mississippi to make the right choices.

FOX13 is working to obtain the full executive order.

Gov. Tate Reeves said the state is flattening the curve which is why he is comfortable relaxing some of the guidelines. According to Reeves, Mississippi is much farther behind the originally projected curve. He thanked the people for helping to stop the spread of the virus.

“I just want the people of Mississippi to know that your work is making a difference,” Reeves said. “We haven’t seen the rapid spike expected.”

Gov. Tate Reeves said they must remain surgical with how they attacking the virus and not use a ‘sledgehammer.’

UPDATE: (2:00 p.m.) The COVID-19 case count for Tennessee is now 8,726 as of April 24, 2020, including 168 deaths, 808 hospitalizations, and 4,370 recovered.

There are now more than 2,000 cases in Shelby County.

UPDATE: (1:30 p.m.) The Governor of Arkansas held his daily briefing for the coronavirus pandemic. There were more than 260 new people who tested positive.

There have more than 2,800 tests that were received in the last 24 hours. One-third of the cases across the state have recovered.

There is a more than 4 percent positivity rate for the tests.

According to Gov. Hutchinson, that number is low and he came to the realization after he talked to other governors. He is continuing to push for more people in Arkansas to get tested. He needs people to call and not just show up for a test. There are certain guidelines to make sure everyone stays safes and minimizing contact. Calling early allows that to happen.

Gov. Hutchinson said dental procedures will be available on May 18. That is only a goal and things could change.

They will also be putting out guidelines so dentists can operate safely.

Dr. Smith gave a prison system update, nearly 700 inmates have tested positive for the coronavirus at the Cummins Unit. There are also 30 staff members.

At the Forrest City Federal Corrections unit, there are almost 80 inmates who are positive.

Dr. Smith said he is concerned about the three-day increase in the cases for community members. They will be working and shifting strategies to help the community areas that are hit the hardest.

UPDATE: (1:10 p.m.) Administrators of The Village at Germantown today reported to state and local public health officials that a seventh resident and fifth worker have tested positive for COVID-19.

The facility released the following Friday afternoon:

The resident lives in the retirement community’s Healthcare unit. Six others who resided in the unit have tested positive for the disease. Three are in the hospital being treated for COVID-19 and other conditions. Four have died. All had been in and out of hospitals or other healthcare facilities and have serious health conditions.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with our residents and their families,” said Michael K. Craft, chief executive officer of The Village. “No other residents are known or suspected to have been infected.”

“We began testing asymptomatic employees in the Healthcare departments earlier this month. We had our first positive test just reported,” Craft said. “This individual is a contracted employee who does not serve in a direct care role and presents a low risk of disease transmission to residents.”

“Of 42 employees tested so far, five tested positive. They are quarantined at their homes. To my knowledge, all are doing well and most are asymptomatic. Twenty-one employees have tested negative. We are still waiting on test results of 16 employees,” he said.

The Village, which has about 325 residents, has a Medical Director, a physician, on staff. In addition, healthcare executives there are in consultation with an infectious disease specialist on an on-going basis and are in ongoing communication with Tennessee and Shelby County Health Departments.

There are no positive tests among residents and employees of The Village’s Memory Care, Assisted-Living or Independent Living areas.

UPDATE: (12:14 p.m.) The Shelby County COVID-19 Joint Task Force gave an update today on the battle against COVID-19.

Shelby County Mayor Lee Harris said recovery data will now be added to the county's updates.

Harris reminded the community that visits to nursing homes are barred.

Harris said nursing homes are required to implement extensive sanitization protocols.

Employees at nursing homes will have their temperatures checked, and will be sent home if they have a fever.

Harris said the county is expanding its efforts to protect prisoners during the pandemic.

There are currently no cases of COVID-19 at the penal farm at Shelby Farms.

There is no in-person visitation at the penal farm; however, inmates can have free virtual visitations once a week for 25 minutes.

Harris said 201 Poplar will soon give 400 tests administered by the Health Department.

Shelby County has been on a downward trajectory as far as number of cases.

Today, there are 50 new cases in the county.

Harris said we are entering the next phase of the war against COVID-19.

Harris renewed Shelby County’s shelter-in-place order through April 30.

A Health Department representative said the county is averaging 35-50 new cases daily.

There have been 43 total deaths in the county.

More than 21,000 people have been tested.

Shelby County is continuing to expand testing efforts.

63 percent of COVID-19 deaths are among males.

70 percent of COVID-19 deaths are African-Americans; 30 percent are Caucasians.

42 percent of deaths had no documented exposure to the virus.

7 percent of deaths were travel-related.

The four main risk factors associated with the disease are obesity, diabetes, respiratory conditions and heart disease.

UPDATE: (10:56 a.m.) Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee released his plan this morning to allow many businesses to reopen across the state beginning next week.

Lee announced Tennessee restaurants in 89 counties will be able to reopen Monday at 50 percent occupancy.

Additionally, Tennessee retailers in those 89 counties will be able to reopen on Wednesday at 50 percent occupancy.

Read the full story here.

UPDATE: (10:54 a.m.) Mississippi health officials are reporting 281 new cases of COVID-19 this morning.

There have been eight more deaths due to COVID-19 since yesterday.

The total number of cases in the state since March 11 is now 5,434 with 209 deaths.

UPDATE: (10:18 a.m.) Shelby County health officials are reporting a total of 1,981 cases of COVID-19 and 43 deaths.

The number of deaths since yesterday increased by two people.

UPDATE: (9:52 a.m.) Arkansas health officials are reporting seven more cases in the state this morning, for a total of 2,606 cases.

UPDATE: (6:48 a.m.) MedPost Urgent Care centers in Greater Memphis are now offering COVID-19 evaluations and testing seven days a week, according to a press release.

The testing is available from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Patients can call ahead, make an appointment online or walk in at the following locations:

MedPost Urgent Care of Bartlett, 3025 Kirby Whitten Rd., Suites 4&5, (901) 562-0933

MedPost Urgent Care of Collierville, 853 W Poplar Ave., (901) 850-8351

MedPost Urgent Care of Cordova, 1520 Bonnie Lane, (901) 791-9060

MedPost Urgent Care of East Memphis, 4562 Poplar Avenue, Suite 109, (901) 329-8990

MedPost Urgent Care of Germantown, 1941 S Germantown Rd., Suite 103, (901) 624-6055

MedPost Urgent Care of Olive Branch, 5142 Goodman Rd., Suite 107, (662) 874-5755

UPDATE: (6:02 a.m.) Most of Tennessee’s state parks will reopen today for day use only.

Parks will be open from 7 a.m. until sunset.

The public will have access to most trails, boat ramps, marinas, golf courses and other outdoor recreation, according to the Tennessee State Parks through the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation.

Restrooms and overnight camping accommodations will remain closed.

Playgrounds and other gathering places will also remain closed.

The following parks will remain closed: Cummins Falls State Park, Seven Islands State Birding Park and Lamar Alexander Rocky Fork State Park.

UPDATE: (5:52 a.m.) ServiceMaster will be decontaminating Shelby County Sheriff’s vehicles today as a donated service.

The decontamination efforts will take place from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the SCSO located at 11670 Memphis-Arlington Road, Arlington, TN 38002.

Around 50 vehicles will be decontaminated.

UPDATE: (5:34 a.m.) Kroger stores will begin accepting SNAP benefits for pick-up orders beginning today, according to Kroger Delta Division spokesperson Teresa Dickerson.

UPDATE: (5:22 a.m.) Sweet Cheeks Diaper Ministry will be hosting a diaper distribution drive-thru tomorrow and is asking for donations, according to a press release.

The organization gave out 11,000 diapers and 2,650 period packs at its last distribution.

The distribution will take place tomorrow from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m at 3292 Winbrook Dr., Memphis, TN 38116 (BSU Roofing and Construction) in Whitehaven.

You can donate at https://bit.ly/diaperrelieffund.

UPDATE: (5:15 a.m.) Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland added some new guidelines for several major grocery and retail stores that begin this morning.

Beginning at 6 a.m., all “big-box retailers” of grocery and hardware items, such as Target, Kroger, Walmart and Walgreens, are required to implement COVID-19 protocols, such as:

Limiting the number of people who can enter the facility at any given time, such that people can easily maintain a 6-foot distance from each other

Establishing waiting lines (inside and outside the store) by marking six-foot increments to allow for social distancing

Providing hand sanitizer at the entrances

Requiring employees to wear facial coverings when in spaces accessible to the public

Providing at least one hour of controlled access every day to customers over 55, pregnant, or have serious underlying conditions

Strickland said members of the public are strongly encouraged to wear facial coverings when engaging with others or going to places of business.

UPDATE: (4:51 a.m.) Walgreens is opening a drive-thru COVID-19 testing site in Memphis today, according to a press release.

Testing will be available at the Walgreens store at 3502 Summer Ave., Memphis.

Testing will be conducted outdoors on the store’s property.

Walgreens pharmacists will oversee patients’ self-administration of the test using Abbott’s new ID NOW COVID-19 test, according to the press release.

This testing is available by appointment only, and only to patients who meet eligibility criteria.

In order to get tested, you must first complete an online health assessment at Walgreens.com/coronavirus.

UPDATE: (4:50 a.m.) Tristate Community Health Center is offering free testing for COVID-19 beginning today, according to a press release.

The testing is by appointment only.

Testing is from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

The testing site is 1725 Pinebrook Dr., Memphis, TN 38116.

To make an appointment text COV2019 to 91999 or call 901.572.1573.

UPDATE: (4:48 a.m.) The Mid-South Food Bank will be distributing food today through its Mobile Pantries at the following locations:

Memphis, Inglesia Nueva Direccion 3097 Knight Rd. 38118, 10 a.m.

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

Memphis, Inglesia Nueva Vida 1348 National 38122, 10 a.m.

Union Cty, MS- 112 Fairground Circle 38652 in New Albany 10 a.m.

Lauderdale Cty, TN- 155 College in Ripley 38063, 10 a.m.

Panola Cty, MS- 433 Fondren in Sardis 38666, 10 a.m.

UPDATE: (4:40 a.m.) Here are the lastest number of cases by state for our area:

Tennessee 8,266 - 170 deaths.

30 cases in Dyer County. 48 cases in Fayette County. 1,953 cases in Shelby County. 87 cases in Tipton County.

41 deaths in Shelby County.

878 people have recovered in Shelby County.

4,193 have recovered in Tennessee.

Mississippi 5,153- 201 deaths.

53 cases in Coahoma County. 252 cases in DeSoto County. 81 cases in Lafayette County. 40 cases in Marshall County. 38 cases in Panola County. 35 cases in Tate County. 49 cases in Tippah County. 34 cases in Tunica County.

4 deaths in DeSoto County.

Arkansas 2,599 - 45 deaths.

156 cases in Crittenden County. 5 deaths in Crittenden County.

922 people have recovered in Arkansas.

A total of 34,551 people have been tested in Arkansas.

Have questions about the spread of coronavirus? We have an entire section dedicated to coverage of the outbreak. CLICK HERE for more.