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TSD COVID-19! Flash

Particulars of Mayor Strickland’s stay-at-home order

To further combat the spread of COVID-19, the City of Memphis will issue a Safer at Home Order effective 6pm on March 24, 2020 through midnight April 7, 2020 — directing all residents of Memphis to stay inside their homes, and immediately limit all movement outside of their homes beyond what is absolutely necessary to take care of essential needs.


City residents will be required to stay inside their homes unless they are engaged in certain “essential activities.” On those occasions when you are out of your home for necessary tasks, stay at least six feet away from others.


  • Go to the grocery, convenience or warehouse store
  • Go to the pharmacy to pick up medications and other healthcare necessities
  • Go to medical appointments (check with your doctor or provider first)
  • Go to a restaurant for take-out, delivery or drive-thru
  • Care for or support a friend or family member
  • Take a walk, ride your bike, hike, jog and be in nature for exercise — just keep at least six feet between you and others.
  • Walk your pets and take them to the veterinarian if necessary
  • Help someone to get necessary supplies
  • Receive deliveries from any business which delivers


  • Go to work unless you are providing essential services as defined by this Order
  • Visit friends and family if there is no urgent need
  • Maintain less than 6 feet of distance from others when you go out
  • Visit loved ones in the hospital, nursing home, skilled nursing facility or other residential care facility, except for limited exceptions as provided on the facility websites.

To view a list essential and nonessential services, view here.

If you want help those affected by making a contribution, you can contribute to the Mid-South COVID-19 Regional Response Fund at the Community Foundation. The fund will provide flexible funding to organizations working with community members who have been impacted by novel Coronavirus and the economic consequences of the outbreak in West Tennessee, eastern Arkansas, and northern Mississippi.

To learn more and donate online, visit cfgm.org/COVID

Shelby County Health Department COVID-19 Daily Update: March 23, 2020

COVID-19 Cases
Shelby County Residents 80
Out-of-County Residents 4
Tennessee Total Cases 505*
*As of 2:00 p.m. 3/22/20
Shelby County Residents Approved for Testing by State Lab 46
Persons Under Public Health Monitoring in Shelby County
Other Jurisdictions:
Tipton County, TN 5
Desoto County, MS 23
Crittenden County, AR 4 or under
Numbers current as of 10:00 a.m. 3/23/2020

Shelby County currently has 84 confirmed COVID-19 cases. The increase in case numbers is not unexpected because testing has increased, especially by commercial laboratories.

Please note: Laboratory reports of positive cases are reported to local health departments as soon as results are available. State numbers are updated at 2 p.m. CDT daily; but there is a lag in reporting of cumulative numbers at the state level, and that accounts for any discrepancy.

The Health Department is committed to providing as much information as possible to the public as the COVID-19 situation continues to develop. The Health Department’s hotline number is 833-943-1658.



Stepping up to feed the children

Tenn. Dept. of Human Services makes access move

The Tennessee Department of Human Services (TDHS) will move to appointment-only mode for in-person services beginning Monday (March 23).

Local offices will have employees available to respond to questions or applications via telephone. Shelby County’s Office can be reached at (901) 320-7200 from 8 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. CST Monday through Friday. Numbers for other local offices can be found online at https://www.tn.gov/content/tn/humanservices/for-families/supplemental-nutrition-assistance-program-snap/office-locator-family-assistance.html.

The changes will remain in effect until the COVID-19 state of emergency is reduced. No issuance of benefits will be impacted.

“The decision to close our offices to foot traffic was made with the health and safety of both our staff and customers in mind,” said TDHS Commissioner Danielle W. Barnes.

These TDHS services are always available online:

  • The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) provides nutritional assistance benefits to children and families, the elderly, the disabled, unemployed and working families. Apply for services online https://faonlineapp.dhs.tn.gov/.
  • Families First provides temporary cash assistance, transportation, child care assistance, educational supports, job training, employment activities, and other support services. Apply for services online https://faonlineapp.dhs.tn.gov/.
  • The Child Support program provides services that promote parental responsibility to meet the financial needs of children and their families. Apply for services online https://csonlineapp.dhs.tn.gov/Home/Login. Payments can be made online https://tn.smartchildsupport.com/.
  • Adult Protective Services investigates reports of abuse, neglect (including self-neglect) or financial exploitation of adults who are unable to protect themselves due to a physical or mental limitation. Call toll free 1-888-APS-TENN (1-888-277-8366) or report suspected abuse online https://reportadultabuse.dhs.tn.gov/
  • The Child Care Certificate Program provides child care financial assistance to families who are working or pursuing post-secondary education and who meet certain income eligibility requirements. Apply for Child Care Payment Assistance/Smart Steps online


(Learn more at www.tn.gov/humanservices.)   


Plan emerges to feed the children
Word from Shelby County Schools via its Twitter site is that YMCAMemphis is stepping to handle meal distribution. Here is the essence of the post: @SCSK12Unified

Starting tomorrow,

will take over all SCS meal locations. The YMCA is providing the food and distributing with its own staff. We are extremely appreciative for their critical support! Learning guides will also be available Mon-Tues. More: scsk12.org/coronavirusfac

Click here to see the list of meal distribution sites.


There are now indications that person-to-person spread in the community may be taking place. The Health Department recommends strict adherence to social-distancing recommendations.

TSU student tests positive

Tennessee State University has learned that a student has tested positive for the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).

The individual, who did not live on campus, has been at home in self-isolation for a number of days while receiving the necessary care to treat their condition. No further information is being given about the individual for privacy reasons.

The University has compiled a list of individuals who were in contact with the student, and is in the process of notifying them. The University is also providing specific Centers for Disease Control guidelines on the steps they should take, depending on the nature and extent of the contact others may have had.

On Monday, the University will continue a campus wide wipe down of academic buildings and residence halls.

TSU began online instruction for all students this past Monday, almost all students have left the campus, and employees are working remotely.

For more information on campus operations and student information, visit http://www.tnstate.edu/covid19.

(Distributed by TSU Media Relations)

Tennessee sees bump in confirmed cases

NASHVILLE (AP) — The Tennessee Department of Health announced Saturday that the number of confirmed cases in Tennessee increased to more than 370.

The majority of the cases are located in Middle Tennessee, with Davidson and Williamson counties reporting the highest amount. However, Shelby County — where Memphis is located — has also seen a bump, with more than 40 cases reported as of Saturday.

On Friday, a 73-year-old man in Nashville with underlying health conditions became Tennessee’s first fatality linked to the new coronavirus. READ MORE

Tennessee lawmakers pass budget, recess amid virus outbreak

State Rep. G.A. Hardaway, D-Memphis, wears a mask during House floor proceedings in Nashville, Tenn., Thursday, March 19, 2020, amid the coronavirus pandemic. (AP Photo/Jonathan Mattise)

NASHVILLE (AP) — Working in the close quarters health officials advised against, Tennessee lawmakers cut short their 2020 session and won’t return until June 1 after passing a dramatically reduced spending plan for the upcoming year in reaction to widespread coronavirus-related disruptions.

Lawmakers had been scrambling to approve a newly designed 2020-21 fiscal year budget since the beginning of the week, maintaining that only “mission critical” proposals would be passed.

The GOP-dominated Statehouse also faced scrutiny from open government advocates and lobbyists after closing the building to the general public. Some lawmakers sat in the gallery to keep their distance. READ MORE

Shelby County Health Department COVID-19 Daily Update: March 21, 2020

COVID-19 Cases
Shelby County 42*
Tennessee 228
Shelby County Residents Approved for Testing by State Lab 46
Persons Under Public Health Monitoring in Shelby County
All numbers updated as of 10:00 a.m. 3/21/20

*Includes one out-of-state resident who tested positive in Shelby County. Listed on the Tennessee Department of Health site as “Resident of Other State/Country.”


Shelby County currently has 42 confirmed COVID-19 cases. The increase in case numbers is not unexpected because testing has increased, especially by commercial laboratories.

There are now indications that person-to-person spread in the community may be taking place. The Health Department recommends strict adherence to social-distancing recommendations:

Messages for Individuals:

  • Avoid handshakes and close contact with others whenever possible.
  • Cancel or postpone gatherings of 10 or more people. Instead of visiting friends or relatives, call or video chat.
  • Stay at home whenever possible. While Shelby County School students and many others are out of school, keep children home and plan home-based activities.
  • Children and adults may exercise outdoors, while maintaining at least six feet of distance from others.
  • Do not go to work or go out in public if you are sick, especially with fever, cough or other respiratory symptoms.
  • Re-evaluate travel plans. It is strongly recommended to avoid any unnecessary travel.  If traveling overseas, check the CDC’s travel advisory website, which is updated daily: https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel.  If traveling within the U.S., avoid destinations where COVID-19 has been reported.
  • Avoid non-essential flights. Traveling by private vehicle limits exposure to other people.
  • Wash your hands thoroughly and often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Scrub dirt under fingernails with a brush and soap.
  • Practice respiratory etiquette by using a tissue if coughing or sneezing, then throwing the tissue away and washing your hands.
  • Sanitize surfaces that are frequently touched by many people with anti-bacterial wipes or diluted bleach solution.

Messages for Community/Business Leaders:

  • Cancel or postpone meetings and conferences of 10 or more people.
  • Consider conducting all conferences or meetings by phone or video chat rather than face-to-face.
  • Adhere to CDC travel guidelines by reviewing the CDC’s travel website (https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/index.html) and avoiding destinations with travel health notices.
  • Discourage workers from using other workers’ phones, desks, offices, or other work tools and equipment, whenever possible.
  • Encourage and enable employee telecommuting to limit person-to-person interactions as much as possible.
  • Businesses that serve the public, including restaurants and retail stores should encourage social distancing by putting space between tables and spacing out check-out lines as much as possible.
  • Consider providing delivery or curbside pick-up options to limit interactions in stores and restaurants.


Africa in April on Hold
The Africa In April Cultural Awareness Festival is postponed and will be rescheduled when authorized, according to Executive Director David L. Acey Sr. and Associate Director Yvonne B. Acey.
The decision, they said, was made “in compliance with emergency closings and restrictions declaring a civil emergency in Memphis and Shelby.”

TSU postponing Spring Commencement to Aug. 1 

(NASHVILLE) – Tennessee State University students will have a commencement ceremony, but at a later date because of the coronavirus pandemic. The University will hold the 2020 Spring Commencement on Saturday, August 1.

The undergraduate and graduate ceremonies were scheduled for May 1 and May 2, but TSU President Glenda Glover announced Friday that the University is postponing them, “rather than cancelling the ceremonies altogether.”

 The University will share more details as they become available and will continue to assess the outbreak to determine if the new date will need to be changed.

Students are encouraged to check their email periodically for updates regarding commencement, or visit the University’s website at www.tnstate.edu/update.

Confirmed cases reaches 30; SCS food service worker among new cases

Those testing positive for the novel coronavirus totaled 30 at the time of Friday’s daily briefing from the Shelby County Health Department.

Pending results are expected to increase that number through the weekend.

One of those with COVID-19 is a Shelby County Schools food service worker. Schools Supt. Dr. Joris Ray immediately shut down preparation for daily food distribution for county students, who are on extended break until April 6.
“We are calling on businesses to help us feed our children,” he said. “If you are willing to help, please send an email to: partnersupport@scsk12.org.
— by Dr. Sybil C. Mitchell

‘State of civil emergency’

A “state of civil emergency” has been declared for Memphis, bringing with it restrictions that will affect a range of businesses.

In a COVID-19 update from his office, Mayor Jim Strickland said, “By declaration, I am requiring all restaurants to perform only take-out or delivery services and bars, gyms and other workout facilities to close.”

Strickland’s action reflects, according to the release, that, “For the first time in Memphis, we are now experiencing community transmission of the virus meaning it is no longer only being transmitted from someone who has traveled outside the city.”

The state of civil emergency is effective at midnight (March 19). The announcement about the order also conveyed Strickland’s request that all worship services either be streamed online or postponed until further notice.

To see the executive order, click here

The Strickland administration is encouraging people to continue to-go orders and support local restaurants and their staffs. On-street parking relief is being provided exclusively for food delivery vehicles at various restaurant locations Downtown and Midtown where parking meters are installed.

“My heart goes out to all that are affected, and our office will do everything within our power to work with you to get the resources you need as quickly as we can get them,” Strickland said.

For a Downtown restaurant pick-up, take-out and delivery, go here.

Drive thru testing update

The City of Memphis is now taking action with the UT Health Science Center and the Shelby County Health Dept. to get ready for drive thru testing at Tiger Lane when test kits become more widely available.

“We are currently working through logistics to make sure once we have tests the process is smooth and efficient,” Mayor Jim Strickland said in release announcing a state of civil emergency in Memphis.

“No tests are being administered today. As we have more concrete information, we will share times of operation, traffic flow, and when you can expect to get the test results.”

Memphis in May to delay

It’s a no-can-do decision on holding Memphis in May as scheduled in May, with a push underway to shift to a fall rollout.

Robert Griffin, Memphis in May’s vice president for marketing, said, “After closely monitoring guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and local health officials, in response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, we have been instructed by authorities with the City of Memphis that our 2020 festival events cannot be held as originally scheduled in May.”

Griffin’s announcement came via a released statement, which also included this:

With the health and safety of our patrons, performers, volunteers, teams, judges, runners and staff as our top priorities, we are working on a fall postponement of the Beale Street Music Festival, International Salute to Ghana, the World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest and the Great American River Run.

“As we are in the process of rescheduling each of these events, we plan to announce details next Friday, March 27, with more specifics, including new event dates.  Should ticket buyers, teams or runners find themselves unable to attend on the rescheduled dates, we will also provide the information for receiving a refund of their purchases or fees.”


There are 10 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Shelby County. There are a total of 98 confirmed cases in Tennessee.
(For more information, visit: http://bit.ly/2TYclYS)

Shelby County Mayor Harris declares State of Emergency

Shelby County Mayor Lee Harris signed a declaration of Local State of Emergency to help contain and mitigate COVID-19 from spreading in Shelby County.

The move followed the Shelby County Health Department’s report that 10 positive cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in Shelby County.

From Harris: “We are taking this public event seriously and every day, taking steps to mitigate the negative public health consequences. This emergency declaration is part of those preparatory efforts. This declaration will put our county in a posture to receive vital aid to mitigate the effects of the novel coronavirus, if and when such aid becomes available.”

TSU to cease normal operations on March 23, most employees to work remotely 

Tennessee State University will cease normal operations on Monday, March 23, and most of the University’s employees will work remotely as a precaution to the spreading coronavirus (COVID-19).

“The safety and health of our campus community remain our paramount concern,” TSU President Glenda Glover said in a correspondence to the campus.

Some employees will continue to report to work on campus on a periodic basis, depending on the nature of their duties and position. Meanwhile, campus police, emergency management, facilities maintenance, and IT will maintain normal working hours.

President Glover has also assembled a TSU Pandemic Task Force that provides daily reports on operations and the latest on the spread of COVID-19.  The University is continuing to evaluate information provided by state and federal officials, and act in accordance with guidance provided by these authorities.

On Monday, TSU started online instruction for all classes; canceled international travel, and restricted domestic travel through April 30; canceled all campus events through the end of April; and will close residence facilities, effective March 21.  In addition to these measures, campus buildings and residence halls will undergo enhanced cleaning during the remote operations period.

Students will continue their classes online through the summer. The university has increased online technical support and virtual student services have been added to assist students and faculty with online learning

TSU students, parents, faculty and staff are encouraged to visit http://www.tnstate.edu/covid19/ for the latest information on campus operations, academic delivery and the coronavirus.

SCS details adjustments for March work session

The Shelby County Board of Education will hold its regularly scheduled Work Session on Tuesday, March 24th, at 5:30 p.m. in the Board Auditorium, 160 S. Hollywood St.

Due to guidance from the CDC and local health officials to avoid large events and gatherings of more than 10 people, the general public is encouraged to tune into the live SCS broadcast of these meetings in lieu of attending in person. The meetings will be available on the following District channels:

·      Facebook: Shelby County Schools & Voice of SCS

·     Twitter: @scsk12unified & @voiceofscs

·     88.5FM

·     C19TV (via Comcast Cable)

·      www.VoiceofSCS.com

Limited seating will be available to allow recommended social distancing of six (6) feet between individuals.

Lee unveils scaled-back budget

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee on Wednesday proposed funneling money into relief for tornado and health crises, scaling back planned teacher raises, and socking more cash away into reserves, as the state reacted to the global impact of the coronavirus on everyday life.

The Republican’s administration unveiled the scaled-back budget to lawmakers, who are scrambling to pass the spending plan for the 2020-21 fiscal year and other items they said are “mission critical” before they recess this week and head back to work as soon as June 1.

“We are now likely embarking on a recession caused by this rare health pandemic,” state Finance Commissioner Stuart McWhorter told lawmakers.

Some of Lee’s proposals are directly related to budgeting, the recent deadly tornadoes and the growing coronavirus pandemic. Others veered off into unrelated territory, including election law changes.

Lawmakers kept working in close quarters despite federal guidance for people to keep their distance. The legislative building remained closed to the general public, which was encouraged to watch proceedings online.

Lee’s latest budget — which has a suggested 0% economic growth rate — creates a $150 million fund “to help us be responsive to health and safety issues resulting from COVID-19,” and sets aside $575 million to increase the state’s rainy day fund to $1.45 billion by 2021.

Lee also is planning an additional $30 million this budget year for the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency’s disaster relief fund.

At the same time, Lee is now slashing his original proposed teacher pay increases from 4% to 2% and eliminated a proposed $250 million K-12 mental health trust fund. READ MORE

Methodist Health Care’s new policies in response to COVID-19


Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare is limiting visitors effective Thursday, March 19. All visiting is being suspended until the transmission of COVID-19 is no longer a threat to our patients, staff, and community. No visitors will be allowed in rooms of patients with pending or positive COVID-19 tests.

Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare recognizes there are times when having a visitor or family member present is crucial, and we have identified those specific situations here.


We will begin canceling elective procedures effective Monday, March 23. This allows time to notify patients. We will also cancel routine screenings and diagnostics, including screening mammography.


We will implement employee and physician screening on Thursday, March 19, beginning with all six MLH hospitals. Screenings questions will cover symptoms, exposure and travel history as well as a temperature check. We will expand to other MLH facilities by Monday, March 23, to more than 100 MLH locations across our ambulatory and corporate locations.

For more information, visit Your Health by MLH Blog.

NOTE: If anyone you know is concerned about exposure and/or has mild respiratory symptoms, encourage them to contact their primary care physician by phone. Of course, if symptoms are severe or they are experiencing shortness of breath, the Emergency Department is the appropriate site of care, but they should call first to let the staff know they are on the way.

Because pediatric needs are different from adult patients the Le Bonheur policies will be slightly different. Please refer to Lebonheur.org for more information.

For more information, visit trusted sites like Your Health by MLH Blog, Lebonheur.org or uthsc.edu/coronavirus.

Limited testing by Christ Community Health

Starting Saturday, Christ Community Health Services will open an appointment-only COVID-19 drive-thru testing site on the parking lot of its location on Third Street.

Fifty free tests will be administered to individuals who have symptoms – fever over 100 degrees, shortness of breath or dry cough. Appointments will be scheduled based on completion of an online form.

“We know that there is a great demand for COVID-19 testing and we have been testing patients as needed in our clinics; however, we realize that people who are not our patients need access to testing, so we are opening the Third Street parking lot to serve as a drive-thru location” Shantelle Leatherwood, Chief Executive Officer said in announcement Tuesday evening.

The testing will be from 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Word of the testing came a few hours after the Shelby County Health Department detailed that a third case of the coronavirus (COVID-19) had been confirmed in Shelby County and after Mayor Jim Strickland declared a state of emergency.

Christ Community serves individuals who have great need, Leatherwood said.

“We focused on the Third Street location because of the elderly population in that area and we want to ensure the individuals with a need have access to care.”

Individuals with symptoms seeking to be tested, should text “test2020” to 91999 and follow the texting prompts.

Lance Luttrell, chief operating officer, said offering an online option for scheduling an appoint allows Christ Community to increase efficienty.

“We will evaluate each individual that completes the online registration and call them to discuss the appointment,” he said.

The location of the COVID-19 testing will be 3360 Third St..

“We are glad to be a medical home to over 57,000 individuals in West Tennessee that need us,” Leatherwood said in a media release. “We are hopeful that this drive-thru testing site allows us to continue to limit patient exposure and serve the community in a greater way.”

(For more information about Christ Community Health Services, contact Cris Stovall at cris.stovall@christchs.org.)

Information for the aging and disabled

In an effort to help provide older adults with helpful information regarding the virus, the Tennessee Commission on Aging and Disability has compiled the following frequently asked questions in order to provide older adults and their families with guidance during this time. READ MORE

For more TSD COVID-19 coverage: click here.

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