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 Tuesday, March 31
UPDATE: (1:30 p.m.) The Tennessee Department of Heath reports that there are now 2239 confirmed cases of coronavirus in the state.
The new tally includes 23 total deaths and 175 hospitalizations.
There are now more than 3600 cases across the Mid-South.
UPDATE: (1:30 p.m.) The Arkansas Governor confirms there are 523 cases of COVID-19 with 64 hospitalized and one new death
The biggest issue the governor said was the out of state travelers coming into the state to visit the state parks. These travelers are coming from coronavirus hot spots.
There are 17 children, 158 adults older than 65 and 348 adults ages 18 to 64 that have COVID-19.
Out of all the cases, there are 79 that are healthcare providers.
The governor has signed a disaster declaration for the coronavirus.
He has asked for National Guard members to be implemented in a humanitarian effort.
The state has had over 30,000 unemployment claims.
An executive order was signed to suspend notary actions in person, these can be down in audio and visual means that include lawyers, banks, wills, etc.
UPDATE: (12:10 p.m.) A Memphis based healthcare facility has been approved to process COVID-19 tests.
Poplar Healthcare, a leading anatomic and molecular pathology laboratory announced they will process the tests in its 113,000-square-foot, high-complexity CLIA-certified and CAP-accredited laboratory.
They are also working to be approved to provide initial testing to those who think they have COVID-19.
“As coronavirus spreads across the nation at an alarming rate, Poplar Healthcare is well situated to help control the outbreak by providing patients and providers access to COVID-19 testing,” said Poplar Healthcare Medical Director, Shawn Kinsey, MD. “Our proximity to FedEx allows our laboratory to not only service the city of Memphis and surrounding communities, but anywhere FedEx flies. We are routinely providing results in 24 to 48 hours from receipt of the specimen.”
Poplar Healthcare’s Vice President of Genomic Operations and Development, Anami Patel, PhD said: “Providing testing on different platforms allows the laboratory flexibility to adapt to challenges in the supply chain and provides additional capacity to serve patients and healthcare workers who need the testing the most.”
Poplar Healthcare is one of the largest physician-owned pathology group practices in the United States, offering a wide variety of DNA- and RNA-based molecular tests.
It receives thousands of samples each day and is supported by a team of over 25 board-certified and fellowship-trained pathologists.
Healthcare providers and institutions interested in obtaining access to the test can contact Poplar Healthcare at 901-526-1912 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
UPDATE: (12 p.m.) The First Horizon Foundation announced today it is donating $2.5 million in support of COVID-19 emergency relief efforts to nonprofit organizations throughout the community.
The funding will be distributed to select organizations that provide food, education and emergency assistance relief in Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina, Florida, and Texas.
The Foundation will collaborate with First Horizon Bank market presidents to identify and coordinate with the organizations that will receive expedited grants.
UPDATE: (11 a.m.) St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital has created a blog to share heartwarming acts of kindness during these challenging times.
The “Inspired by Your Kindness” blog shares positive stories of hope and encouragement with the community amid the coronavirus outbreak.
UPDATE: (10:15 a.m.) The Mississippi Department of Health announced 90 news cases of COVID-19 within the state.
The total number of cases is 937 in the state and 20 deaths.
UPDATE: (10:05 a.m.) The Shelby County Health Department announced there have been two additional deaths in the county.
This makes three total deaths.
UPDATE: (9:45 a.m.) FOX13 has confirmed a pastor at Second Presbyterian Church in Memphis has died due to complications of the coronavirus.
Tim Russell died yesterday at Baptist Hospital.
The church is located at 4055 Poplar Ave., Memphis TN 38111.
UPDATE (9:30 a.m.) Regional One Health and the Red Cross have teamed up to launch blood drive opportunities beginning today in the Mid-South.
The blood drives will be held every Tuesday through May 19 at the American Red Cross at 1399 Madison Ave., Memphis TN 38104 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Employees of Regional One Health, including members of the executive staff, will be donating blood during the launch event today, beginning at 11:30 a.m.
Blood banks continue to experience severe blood shortages due to an unprecedented number of blood drive cancelations during the coronavirus outbreak.
UPDATE: (9 a.m.) There are now 405 cases of COVID-19 in Shelby County, according to health officials.
There have been 13 coronavirus-related deaths in Tennessee, including 1 in Shelby County.
UPDATE: (8:45 a.m.) A forgivable loan program has been created for businesses in Downtown Memphis that are in jeopardy of permanent closure to the coronavirus outbreak.
The Downtown Business Continuity Forgivable Loan Program will give money to eligible businesses that are in serious jeopardy of permanent closure due solely to the recent COVID-19 pandemic and associated economic impacts.
The program will provide direct financial assistance to existing, locally-owned, eligible businesses, with a preference for businesses operating continuously within the Central Business Improvement District (CBID) for a minimum of 12 months preceding the application submittal date.
The loan can be used for fixed assets (leasehold improvements or equipment), operational expenses, rent and restructuring debt.
Loan applications will be accepted beginning April 2, and end when the approved funding is depleted.
A business may be eligible for a forgivable loan of up to $20,000.
Contact Brett Roler, Vice President of Planning & Development Downtown Memphis Commission, at email@example.com or at (901) 575-0574 for more information and an application packet.
UPDATE: (8:25 a.m.) Wal-Mart announced it now be conducting temperature checks and general health screenings on employees as they report to work each day.
In a post on the company’s website, John Furner, the company’s President and CEO, said any associate with a temperature of 100.0 degrees will be paid for reporting to work and asked to return home and seek medical treatment if necessary.
The associate will not be able to return to work until they are fever-free for at least three days.
Additionally, face masks and gloves will be available for employees who wish to wear them.
Furner said the masks would arrive within 1-2 weeks.
Furner said the company is implementing a “6-20-100 framework” for employees to remember:
6 feet is the amount of space people should keep from others to maintain social distancing.
20 seconds is the amount of time people should take to wash their hands with soap and water.
100 is the temperature that someone should stay home with.
UPDATE: (8:20 a.m.) Regions Bank announced it is donating advertising to the Mid-South Food Bank in order to encourage financial gifts to the organization during the coronavirus outbreak.
In addition, Regions is launching general advertising to encourage viewers to support all local food banks.
UPDATE: (7:45 a.m.) Dollar General is giving a 10% discount to all medical personnel, first responders and active National Guardsmen.
Individuals can present their employment badge or ID at more than 16,300 stores, including every Dollar General in the Mid-South, to receive the discount.
DG CEO Todd Vasos said the company wishes to show gratitude to these individuals for their service to their communities.
The discount is being offered through April 30, although the offer could be extended, according to a press release.
UPDATE: (7 a.m.) In order to ensure there are enough hospital sites in the Mid-South during the coronavirus outbreak, several local hotels have opened up rooms to any medical facility that needs overflow space.
The Days Inn Graceland, 3838 Elvis Presley Blvd., Memphis 38116; Jackson Heights Inn and Suites, 2889 Austin Peay Hwy., Memphis 38128 and Econo Lodge, 9822 Huff n Puff Rd., Lakeland, TN 38002, have opened up rooms for medical care.
The Memphis City Council is asking any other places of lodging who can make space available to contact them.
UPDATE: (6:05 a.m.) A first-grade teacher has made a document for other parents with tips and activities for keeping students busy and engaged while they are at home.
The document breaks down activities by subject, and includes links to websites students can use.
UPDATE: (6 a.m.) Beginning today, Riverside Drive between W. Georgia Avenue and Union Avenue will be totally closed to through traffic to enforce the city’s “Safer at Home” directive.
This section of Riverside Dr. will remain closed for an indefinite period of time.
UPDATE: (5:05 a.m.) The Mid-South Food Bank is distributing food today through its Mobile Pantry at the following locations:
Memphis, Downtown/Life Church, 430 Vance Rd. 9 a.m.
Memphis, St. Paul Church, 2124 Holmes Rd. 38116 10 a.m.
Memphis (kid friendly), Hillcrest High, 4184 Graceland Drive 38116 10 a.m.
Memphis, MAM-Leawood, 3638 Macon Rd. 10 a.m.
Lake County, TN- 552 Bishop Ridgely, 38080 10 a.m.
McNairy County, TN- 877 W. Cherry in Selmer 38375 10 a.m.
UPDATE: (4:45 a.m.) Below are the current number of coronavirus cases by state for our area:
Tennessee 1834 – 3 in Dyer County, 10 in Fayette County, 396 in Shelby County, 16 in Tipton County. 13 reported deaths.
Arkansas 508 – 17 in Crittenden County. 7 reported deaths.
Mississippi 847 – 20 in Coahoma County, 77 in DeSoto County, 14 in Lafayette County, 13 in Marshall County, 6 in Panola County, 11 in Tate County, 23 in Tippah County, 12 in Tunica County. 16 reported deaths.
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