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TSD COVID-19 Flash!

COVID-19 numbers for April 1

Shelby County currently has 497 confirmed COVID-19 cases, including three deaths.

The Health Department’s investigation of an outbreak at Carriage Court of Memphis assisted living facility continues. The Health Department has tested 22 persons at the facility, including residents and staff.

Of that number, 20 results have been returned, and 2 are still pending. Four tests showed positive and 16 were negative.

Prior to the Health Department’s involvement, 2 residents were tested by other health providers and found to be positive for COVID-19.

To date, there are a total of 6 positive cases at the facility, including 5 residents and 1 employee.

The employee who tested positive is recovering at home in isolation.

Here is a breakdown of current cases in Shelby County by age range:

County offers free teletheraphy services to county employees in response to COVID-19

After a public health emergency update, Shelby County Mayor Lee Harris (center) and Shelby County Commission Chairman Mark Billingsley visited the Health Department Operations Center, where they talked with staff members involved in the #COVID19 response. (Photo: SCHD Twitter)

Shelby County Mayor Lee Harris has announced the expansion of employee benefits to include virtual counseling services for all Shelby County employees. The new program allows employees to receive unlimited video, phone, or in-person counseling services as they continue to provide critical services to residents in Shelby County.

Employees are not required to have health insurance through Shelby County Government to receive free counseling. In-person and urgent appointments remain available for anyone who needs them.

“We must slow the spread of COVID-19. In addition, we must protect our mental health during this harrowing time,” Harris said. “Employees may be anxious about contracting the virus, fearful about exposing their loved ones to the disease, or navigating the unique stressors that have arisen during this public health emergency.”

Access to professional teletherapy services is one way to ensure that employees have access to counseling and mental healthcare, Harris said.

“We encourage other employers to be proactive and do what they can to support the mental health of their employees.”

“Our counseling services are confidential, last about an hour, and can take place via webcam, phone, or in-person,” said Melissa Donahue, licensed therapist and program director.

“When you’re stressed or emotionally drained, your ability to perform at home or work suffers tremendously. Now is an appropriate time for organizations to take a look at what they are doing to provide a mentally healthy workplace to their employees.”

Shelby County Government, according to a media release, also has implemented its first Alternative Work Solutions program, expanded paid sick leave opportunities for employees and is reducing the jail population to reduce spread

Knox to release arrestees; Memphis canceling court dates

KNOXVILLE (AP) — Knox County’s judges have ordered the sheriff’s office to book and release all arrestees charged with misdemeanors and nonviolent felonies in an effort to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus, while Memphis has canceled all out-of custody court dates in April.

The moves come after the Tennessee Supreme Court last week ordered local judges to submit plans on how to reduce jail and prison populations.

A group led by former Davidson County public defender Dawn Deaner has petitioned the Tennessee Supreme Court to go even further and order the release of a number of prisoners from the state’s jails and prisons to prevent the spread of COVID-19. The court has not responded to the emergency petition was filed last week by Deaner’s Choosing Justice Initiative and other groups, including the Tennessee Association of Criminal Defense Attorneys….

In Memphis, District Attorney General Amy Weirich announced Monday that all April court dates for General Sessions criminal division and Criminal Court cases involving people who are currently not jailed have been canceled…. , The Commercial Appeal reports. There are also no jury trials for April, and Weirich said the county is working to ascertain whether grand jury hearings will take place. READ MORE

ArtsMemphis sets up fund to help artists cope with COVID-19

ArtsMemphis today launched its Artist Emergency Fund, a $50,000 emergency granting process to help individual artists’ recovery from lost income due to cancelled events, job layoff or furlough.

ArtsMemphis was designated as a beneficiary of $25,000 from the Mid-South COVID-19 Regional Response Fund by the Community Foundation of Greater Memphis. The Community Foundation is collectively contributing over $415,000 to community agencies across sectors to provide flexible funding to those impacted by novel coronavirus and the economic consequences of the pandemic in the region.

The ArtsMemphis staff compounded the $25,000 into $50,000 thanks to a matching gift from the Assisi Foundation.

“This is an honor that we do not take lightly, particularly as we navigate this unprecedented period,” said Elizabeth Rouse, ArtsMemphis President & CEO.

ArtsMemphis will immediately redirect funds to individual artists to support recovery from lost income due to cancelled events, job layoff, or furlough. Self-employed artists of all arts disciplines as well as individual artists employed/contracted by nonprofit arts and culture organizations in Shelby County are eligible to apply.

Full details of the grant request and review process may be found here: https://www.artsmemphis.org/artist-emergency-fund.

Applications received from musicians of all genres and types will be reviewed in conjunction with and administered by Music Export Memphis (MEM).

“We’re glad to be partnering with ArtsMemphis on this grant process, which will leverage more than $35,000 in additional funds we’ve raised through our partners specifically to support musicians,” said MEM Executive Director Elizabeth Cawein.

“Our longstanding relationship with ArtsMemphis has allowed for a process that is transparent and equitable for artists of all disciplines, at a time when the musicians we serve have seen their livelihoods disappear.”

 Learn more at artsmemphis.org.

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