Coronavirus live blog, May 29: Shelby County confirms 90 new cases as testing drops

By , Daily Memphian Updated: May 29, 2020 7:31 PM CT | Published: May 29, 2020 10:14 AM CT

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You can protect yourself and help prevent the spread of coronavirus by:

  • Wash your hands regularly for 20 seconds, with soap and water or alcohol-based hand rub
  • Wear a mask when you are out in public
  • Cover your nose and mouth with a disposable tissue or flexed elbow when you cough or sneeze
  • Avoid close contact (within 6 feet) with people
  • Stay home and self-isolate from others in the household if you feel unwell
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth if your hands are not clean

Here’s the latest from Memphis and Shelby County, below, when it comes to dealing with the novel coronavirus. To view our full coverage, check out The Daily Memphian’s coronavirus landing page.

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May 29, 2020

Shelby County confirms 90 new cases as testing drops

10:09 AM CT, May 29

The Shelby County Health Department confirmed 90 new COVID-19 cases Friday, May 29, as testing numbers dropped off, according to the latest data.

A total of 1,019 new test results were reported Friday, 400 less than Thursday. The daily positive rate of 8.8% means the daily rate has increased for five consecutive days, even though the overall rate of 6.8% remains stabilized.

Shelby County confirmed 4,793 coronavirus cases, 108 deaths and 3,378 recoveries as of Friday, according to the health department. The total number of tests reported in Shelby County is 70,227 with a positive rate of 6.8%.

Another three deaths were reported due to the virus Friday. This follows three fatalities confirmed Thursday and eight on Wednesday.

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Sheriff’s Office: No active COVID-19 cases among detainees

4:48 PM CT, May 29

The Shelby County Sheriff’s Office reported Friday, May 29, that there are currently no active cases of the coronavirus among detainees at the Shelby County Jail at 201 Poplar.

The weekly COVID-19 update from SCSO was posted on Twitter and spokesman John Morris said that all 160 detainees who tested positive have recovered. No detainees are currently hospitalized.

Morris said that currently there are no known COVID-19 cases among pre-trial detainees at the county’s three correctional facilities: 201 Poplar, Jail East and Juvenile Detention.

He said that there was one SCSO employee who tested positive this week, bringing the total to 69 employees who tested positive for the virus. Of those 69, 48 have recovered and one is in the hospital.

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How cases are growing in Shelby County and Tennessee

9:29 AM CT, May 29


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Local and state coronavirus cases, tests and recoveries

8:50 AM CT, May 29



UTHSC pharmacy students make masks for under-served communities

1:57 PM CT, May 29

The UTHSC College of Pharmacy chapter of the Student National Pharmaceutical Association (SNPhA) is making face coverings to help underserved communities in Tennessee during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Chapter president Amelia Thompson said the group wanted to donate the masks to underserved African American communities because they have been disproportionately affected by COVID-19.

“Many African Americans work in high risk/essential jobs and aren’t able to work from home,” she said. “It was important for us to make face coverings for this community so that they can protect themselves as best as they can.”

The chapter has donated 40 face coverings to Parkway Health and Rehabilitation, a nursing home in Memphis affected by an outbreak. It also donated 31 face coverings to Pruitt Discount Pharmacy, an independent African American-owned pharmacy in East Nashville.

“I am proud of our SNPhA chapter for their efforts to serve those most in need during this time,” said College of Pharmacy Dean Marie Chisholm-Burns.

More than 100 face coverings have been donated to Memphis Health Center, a medical center that provides care to underserved African-American communities.

“Our patients here in North Memphis have expressed difficulties finding face coverings or even finding supplies to make them,” said Sheila Liddell, a graduate of the College of Pharmacy and employee at the health center.

Patients at the clinic often fall into high-risk categories for COVID-19 due to underlying conditions, including high blood pressure, diabetes and respiratory disorders.

 “Thanks to the SNPhA chapter, we have been able to assist in lowering the fear of the virus and providing those without masks an option,” she said.


Metal Museum announces phased reopening

9:39 AM CT, May 29

The National Ornamental Metal Museum announced Thursday, May 28, a phased reopening plan designed to keep visitors safe.

The grounds will open to members on Thursday, June 4, and to all visitors on Thursday, June 11.

New visitor hours will be 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday to Saturday.

“The Metal Museum staff has been busy during the closure, creating an array of digital content to bring the Metal Museum experience into the home,” Carissa Hussong, the museum’s executive director, said in a release. “But we have also been looking forward to reopening and enhancing the visitor experience onsite, starting with an audio tour of the sculpture on the grounds.

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May 28, 2020

State issues guidelines for non-contact sports, summer camps, higher ed

1:00 PM CT, May 28

Gov. Bill Lee’s Economic Recovery Group issued new guidelines Thursday for non-contact sports, camps and higher education under the Tennessee Pledge in most of the state.

Six counties – Shelby, Madison, Davidson, Hamilton, Knox and Sullivan – may continue to follow individual reopening plans created in consultation with state and local health departments.

“We’re able to continue reopening our state thanks to the sustained efforts by Tennesseans to social distance and mitigate the spread of COVID-19,” Lee said. “It’s important we continue to take personal responsibility for our health and the health of our neighbors, while recognizing and honoring the need for Tennesseans to get back to work and support their families.”

Under Executive Order No. 38 issued May 22, non-contact sports may resume under certain precautions, including efforts to maintain social distancing, wearing masks when feasible and adding sanitization measures. Sports that may return under the current guidelines include but are not limited to baseball, softball, volleyball, golf, disc golf, tennis and racket sports, cycling, track and field and other running events, and equestrian. Contact sports such as football, wrestling and hockey are not permitted, except for practicing in a manner that does not involve close physical contact with other persons. 

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Shelby County Sheriff’s Office announces court reopening plan

2:39 PM CT, May 28

The Shelby County Sheriff’s Office Thursday, May 28, announced new rules, including wearing a mask, for anyone coming to court at the three county courthouses. 

The courthouses are expected to open next week if reopening plans are approved by the Tennessee Supreme Court.

Lawsuit seeks release of medically vulnerable from Shelby County Jail

In addition to wearing masks, everyone entering will have to enter and exit through designated areas, SCSO spokesman John Morris announced in a video Thursday.

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State hits 400,000 coronavirus tests

3:09 PM CT, May 28

Gov. Bill Lee said Thursday the state hit a “benchmark” by administering its 400,000th COVID-19 test across the state..

”That means 6% of our population has stepped forward and asked for a test and received one,” Lee said during his press briefing.

In addition, the state has shipped 1.4 million pieces of personal protective equipment to first responders and healthcare workers in all 95 counties, the governor said.

The governor announced the return of live sports to Tennessee with plans for non-contact sports to be revived. Bristol Motor Speedway will hold the Food City 500 this weekend.

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