Cases more than double in Shelby County, now at 10

By , Daily Memphian Updated: March 19, 2020 12:12 PM CT | Published: March 19, 2020 11:50 AM CT

Editor’s note: Due to the serious public health implications associated with COVID-19, The Daily Memphian is making our coronavirus coverage accessible to all readers — no subscription needed.

With six new cases reported in Shelby County late Wednesday night, the number of COVID-19 cases in the county has doubled.

Health department officials say they are not surprised, saying the uptick is a sign that transmission is now happening in the community.

Coronavirus daily blog, March 19: Tipton County records first COVID-19 case

The cases in the county until this morning have all been related to travel, either people here returning from trips or having contact with people who had traveled here from other states.

The Shelby County Health Department also notes that the number of cases will likely increase now that commercial labs have begun reporting results on tests taken in the last few days.

Dr. Jon McCullers, infectious disease expert at Methodist Le Bonhuer Healthcare, is not aware of the specifics of the six new cases, but suspects the increase in number of local cases means local transmission is happening.

“With community spread, I’d expect cases to double every couple of days until we peak. Hopefully all the mitigation work the community is doing will make the peak earlier,” he said. 

With the uptick in cases, the health department says strict adherence to social-distancing behavior is critical.

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 Schools students and many others are out of school, keep children home and plan home-based activities.

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: 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.

Cover mouth with tissue if coughing or sneezing, then throw the tissue away and wash your hands.

Sanitize surfaces that are frequently touched by many people with anti-bacterial wipes or diluted bleach solution.

For Community/Business Leaders:

Cancel or postpone meetings and conferences of 10 or more people.

Consider conducting all conferences and meetings by phone or video chat rather than face-to-face.

Move desks and office furniture to put at least six feet of distance between employees.

Businesses that serve the public, including restaurants and retail stores, should encourage social distancing by putting space between tables and spacing check-out lines as much as possible.

Consider providing delivery or curbside pick-up options to limit interactions in stores and restaurants.

Encourage and enable employee telecommuting to limit person-to-person interactions as much as possible.

This story will be updated.

COVID-19 in Memphis & Shelby County: March


Jane Roberts

Jane Roberts

Longtime journalist Jane Roberts is a Minnesotan by birth and a Memphian by choice. She's lived and reported in the city more than two decades. She covers business news and features for The Daily Memphian.


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