TIMELINE: Mid-South coronavirus updates April 3

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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 3

UPDATE: (5:25 p.m.) The Trump administration has provided new guidance for people in the United States to start wearing face coverings when out in public.

Though some people already have begun acquiring or creating face masks on their own, the administration’s new guidance would test the market’s ability to accommodate a surge in demand. It was expected to be limited to people in areas of the country hit hard by the coronavirus, not nationwide, as some health experts had urged.

The new guidelines, announced Friday, encourage people to use more rudimentary covering like T-shirts, bandannas and non-medical masks. And President Donald Trump himself suggested scarves could be an good alternative to masks.

The new recommendations were announced at a time when states are bracing for critical shortfalls like those that other parts of the world have experienced. They’re scrambling to stockpile all manners of equipment.

UPDATE: (4:16 p.m.) The VA is screening Veterans and staff who think they have been exposed to COVID-19 or show symptoms of fever, cough, and shortness of breath.

In Memphis, Tn, there 6 outpatients and 1 inpatient.

As of April 3, 2020, there are 2,184 positive veteran cases with 78 deaths nationwide.

See VA testing updates here: https://www.va.gov/coronavirus

UPDATE: (3:00 p.m.) Mayor Jim Strickland requested everyone wear a mask or a scarf when out in public. He emphasized even with a mask or a scarf on, it is important to stay at least six feet away from others. Last Friday there were 223 positive cases and 0 deaths. Today, there are at least 640 positive cases and 8 deaths. Strickland said that’s a 187 percent increase in 7 days.

UPDATE: (2:05 p.m.) The Shelby County Health Department said they have tested more 7100 and there is a 9 percent positivity rate of those who have been tested.

The Health Officer for Shelby County issued a specific order.

Dr. Randolph is emphasizing that non-essential businesses must close tonight at midnight. He said if non-essential businesses are still open they will be shut down by the Shelby County government.

He said essential businesses that are open are required to operate with the CDC guidelines and OSHA regulations. Randolph also said businesses should have workers limited to 10 people inside and be 6 feet apart.

“This is not a recommendation. This is not a simple request. This is a requirement and we intend to enforce it.”

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

There are now 3067 confirmed cases of coronavirus in the state, 37 deaths, 293 hospitalizations, and 248 recoveries.

UPDATE: (1:05 p.m.) The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation announced that it will close all 56 Tennessee state parks and natural areas starting tomorrow through April 14.

“We decided to close the parks in support of Governor Lee’s Executive Order 23,” TDEC Commissioner David Salyers said. “The health and safety of Tennessee citizens is all of our top priority right now.”

UPDATE: (12:50 p.m.) Recruiters at ManpowerGroup are matching candidates to jobs in Memphis, according to a press release.

Jobs are available in retail, call center, warehouse/manufacturing, financial services and IT, according to the press release.

Job seekers can register at WorkMyWay.com to be matched with a job opportunity.

UPDATE: (12:48 p.m.) BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee will cover all treatment costs related to COVID-19, including hospitalizations, through May 31, according to a press release.

BCBST members will not be responsible for any out-of-pocket costs due to COVID-19.

UPDATE: (10:54 a.m.) Fair Saint Louis and America’s Birthday Parade have canceled their 2020 Independence Day celebrations, which were scheduled to take place July 2-4 in downtown St. Louis, according to a press release.

The decision to cancel the free events was made by the Fair St. Louis Foundation and America’s Birthday Parade boards, the City of St. Louis, and the National Park Service, in coordination with key sponsors and stakeholders, according to the press release.

This year would have marked the 40th Fair Saint Louis and the 138th America’s Birthday Parade.

UPDATE: (10:30 a.m.) The Shelby County Health Department has confirmed another person has died due to COVID-19.

Total deaths for Shelby County is now eight.

In Shelby County, 7,157 people have been tested for the virus, according to health officials.

UPDATE: (10:10 a.m.) Tomorrow’s MLK Celebration activities have been postponed to a later date, according to a press release from the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.

The SCLC said it respects the stay-at-home order mandated by officials, according to the press release.

UPDATE: (10:01 a.m.) The Missisippi State Department of Health is reporting 181 new cases of COVID-19 in the state, with three new deaths.

There are 1,358 cases of coronavirus in the state with 29 total deaths.

UPDATE: (10 a.m.) United Way of the Mid-South is working in collaboration with The Community Foundation of Greater Memphis and other nonprofits to lift up those who have been negatively impacted by the coronavirus crisis and to support the most vulnerable in Shelby County, according to a press release.

United Way has launched a COVID-19 Economic Relief Fund to focus on the critical needs across our eight-county area.

The organization will direct funding to nonprofits on the frontlines helping our region during this unprecedented health and economic crisis, according to the press release.

UPDATE: (9:20 a.m.) Yesterday, an Arkansas State University employee learned they had tested positive for COVID-19, according to the ASU website.

ASU Chancellor Kelly Damphouse issued an email to the campus community this morning regarding the news.

Damphouse said in the email that a student who lives on campus informed University Housing they had been tested yesterday for COVID-19. That student has not received a result, but is currently self-isolated.

Not long after that, the employee learned they had tested positive.

According to Damphouse’s email, the employee has been self-quarantined at home since being tested March 19.

ASU will begin screening on-campus employees via a questionnaire each day that they are on campus for work, according to the published email.

UPDATE: (8:40 a.m.) Arkansas health officials are reporting more COVID-19 cases in the state.

There are 687 cases of COVID-19 in the state as of this morning.

According to health officials, 8,996 people have been tested for the virus in the state.

There have been 58 recoveries.

UPDATE: (8:34 a.m.) The Tanger Outlets in Southaven, Miss. announced it will comply with Gov. Tate Reeves’ shelter-in-place order, which begins today at 5 p.m.

According to a press release, the mall has asked its tenants to comply with the statewide order.

Mall officials are monitoring developments due to the coronavirus, and said changes will be communicated as they occur.

The mall will maintain basic minimum basic operations and security presence.

These changes will remain in effect through April 20.

The mall is located at 5205 Airways Blvd., Southaven, MS 38671.

UPDATE: (8:23 a.m.) The number of COVID-19 cases in Shelby County has grown, according to health officials.

There are currently 640 cases as of this morning.

There have been 7,007 people tested for COVID-19 in Shelby County.

UPDATE: (8:14 a.m.) The Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks (MDWFP) will be making the following temporary changes to its business operations effective immediately. All changes will remain in effect until further notice, according to a press release.

  • State and Regional Offices are currently closed to the public.
  • State lakes and park lakes will close to the public beginning at 5 p.m. today.
  • State parks will close to the public beginning at 5 p.m. today. The Clark Creek Natural Area is currently closed to the public.
  • The Museum of Natural Science and the North Mississippi Visitor Education Center are closed to the public.
  • MDWFP shooting facilities Turcotte, McHenry and McIvor will close to the public beginning at 5 p.m. today.
  • MDWFP Wildlife Management Areas will remain open.
  • During this time, all personnel not assigned to state and regional offices will continue to provide services statewide and remain fully operational.

UPDATE: (8:05 a.m.) Effective immediately, Memphis Light, Gas and Water will waive late fees on any bills issued today and going forward until further notice, according to a press release.

Customers are encouraged to make payments if able. To receive more COVID-19 related updates, please visit mlgw.com/covid-19.

UPDATE: (6:15 a.m.) Mt. Zion Baptist Church, located at 60 S. Pkwy., will be serving a drive-thru communion this Sunday, according to a press release.

The communion will begin at 11 a.m.

Rev. Dr. Eric L. Winston, Sr., will be serving communion to the community as they drive up in their cars.

UPDATE: (5:45 a.m.) The Mid-South Food Bank will be distributing food today through its Mobile Pantry at the following locations:

Memphis, NCC North, 785 Jackson Ave. 38107 9 a.m. Pre-register at https://www.ncclife.org

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

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

Memphis, Fairley High, 4950 Fairley Rd., 38109, 10 a.m.

Memphis, Leadership Empowerment Ctr, 3925 Overton Crossing, 38127, 10 a.m.

Fayette County, TN- New Mt. Zion, 13510 N. Main St., Somerville 10 a.m.

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

Tennessee 2,845 - 5 in Dyer County, 14 in Fayette County, 638 in Shelby County, 24 in Tipton County. 32 reported deaths.

According to health offcials, 263 people have been hospitalized in Tennessee due to the coronavirus.

Shelby County has reported 7 deaths.

Of all tests taken in Shelby County, 9.11% have been positive so far.

There are 2,845 total cases in Tennessee, according to health officials. There have been 220 recoveries in the state.

Arkansas 683 - 32 in Crittenden County. 12 reported deaths.

50 people have recovered in the state, according to health officials.

Mississippi 1,177 - 23 in Coahoma County, 103 in DeSoto County, 16 in Lafayette County, 18 in Marshall County, 8 in Panola County, 12 in Tate County, 29 in Tippah County, 14 in Tunica County. 26 reported deaths.