Coronavirus daily blog, March 28: Cases top 1,300 statewide; 2 deaths in Memphis metro area

By , Daily Memphian Updated: March 30, 2020 10:35 AM CT | Published: March 28, 2020 4:00 AM CT

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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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Confirmed cases
Shelby County
Metro area

March 28, 2020

Businesses can apply for both available relief loans

4:45 PM CT, March 28

New information released late afternoon Friday indicates that small businesses will be eligible for both disaster loans through the $2.2 trillion Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act approved Friday, March 27, and Small Business Association (SBA) loans.

Though the CARES Act’s Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans will not be available until possibly late April, small businesses can apply for an Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) through the SBA immediately to cover current expenses, such as payroll.

Once the PPP loans are online, small businesses will be able to refinance and convert EIDL loans into a PPP loan.

The best advice from local experts is to begin gathering information and filling out paperwork now. 


Two COVID-19 deaths confirmed in Memphis metro area

10:32 AM CT, March 28

Two deaths related to COVID-19 have been confirmed in the Memphis metro area, one in Shelby County and one in DeSoto County.

The Shelby County Health Department confirmed a death, and the Mississippi Department of Health reported one.

As of 10 a.m. Saturday, the Shelby County Health Department has confirmed 275 cases of COVID-19 in the county, with 2,773 individuals tested.

“As many of you saw earlier today, we have had our first confirmed death in Shelby County from the virus,” Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland said in an announcement released Saturday afternoon. “My thoughts and prayers are with the family and loved ones.

“This serves as a constant reminder that the COVID-19 pandemic must be taken seriously, and we must be vigilant in our efforts to stop the spread.”

Health officials say an apparent continued spread of the novel coronavirus is the source of rising numbers of confirmed cases.

“There are indications that person-to-person spread in the workplace and the community is taking place,” SCHD public information officer Joan Carr wrote in a Saturday morning release.

The Mississippi Department of Health reported 84 new cases in the state as of Saturday.

DeSoto County now has 65 cases – an increase of two since Friday – according to MSDH. DeSoto County has more cases than any other county in the state.

Marshall County, Miss., now has 11 cases, two more than reported Friday.

The state is reporting an additional twelve deaths, one in each of the following counties: Hancock, Harrison, Holmes, Lee, Perry, Rankin, Sunflower, Tunica Webster and Wilkinson.

Tippah County is the first reporting two deaths.


Germantown lays off all part-time city employees

1:25 PM CT, March 28

All part-time city employees in Germantown have been laid off in light of the coronavirus.

A letter from City Administrator Patrick Lawton dated March 27 thanked the employees for their service.

It also notified them of the city’s decision.

“The purpose of this letter is to notify you as a a part-time employee of the City, your employment with the City is being ended effective immediately,” the letter said. “It is likely some part-time positions will be eliminated permanently.”

He said some positions may be available at a future date, but due to the circumstances of COVID-19, the timeline is uncertain. They will also have to reapply for jobs.

Lawton said the determination was made as the city is facing difficult “financial and personnel decisions.”

Employees with city-owned laptops, iPads or any city property needing to be returned will be contacted by department heads to return equipment by Monday.

Lawton also offered well wishes for city employees and their families to stay healthy during this time.

“These are unprecedented times in which difficult decisions will need to be made,” Lawton said by text message. “We will never give up hope.”

Efforts to reach Mayor Mike Palazzolo were unsuccessful.


All public jail visitations halted

10:53 AM CT, March 28

The Shelby County Sheriff’s Office said it will no longer allow public visitation at its jail facilities until further notice in an effort to protect inmates from COVID-19.

Video visitation are the only type of visits allowed at the men’s jail at 201 Poplar and the women’s jail at Jail East. In-person visitation is allowed at the Shelby County Juvenile detention Center, but as of Friday, March 27, all public visitation was stopped at all the facilities.

Attorney visitation will be allowed by video at 201 Poplar and Juvenile Court. Non-contact attorney visits will be allowed for attorneys at Jail East, SCSO said.

The public will be notified when visitation resumes at the facilities, officials said.

With visitation suspended, GlobalTel, the phone provider for the jails and the detention center, is offering two free 5-minute phone calls to inmates each week, SCSO said.


Coronavirus confirmed cases continue to rise Saturday morning

9:26 AM CT, March 28

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Shelby County continues to rise, the county Health Department’s figures reaching 275, according to the department’s website Saturday morning.

The 275 cases is up from 223 on Friday. The state numbers on the county health department website has surpassed 1,000 – with 1,203 cases reported by the state.


March 27, 2020

MATA makes changes to help workers at essential businesses

5:26 PM CT, March 27


Beale Street Music Fest rescheduled for October

4:22 PM CT, March 27

Memphis in May International Festival has released new dates for this year’s events.

Beale Street Music Festival is now scheduled for October 16-18, in Tom Lee Park. The World Championship Cooking Contest is now scheduled for Sept. 30-Oct. 3. New dates for the Great American River Run are to be announced.

Festival organizations said the Memphis in May board of directors made the decision to to move forward with festival events, after a two and a half hour online meeting yesterday, despite a projected $2 million loss for fiscal year 2020.

“For 44 years, Memphis in May has been a revenue generator for the City of Memphis, particularly through the business it brings to our tourism industry’s key segments of lodging and hospitality,” said Memphis in May President and CEO James L. Holt, in a statement. “With the difficult times those businesses are facing now, we felt it was more important than ever that we do our part to help revitalize the local economy. The Memphis in May events are a source of civic pride and unity for Memphis and the MidSouth and this fall will certainly be the time for our community to come together.”

Festival organizers say that most of the original lineup (42 of 65) will be present for the new Music Fest date. 


Information on refunds can be found here


City closes athletic fields, basketball courts, dog and skateboard parks

3:05 PM CT, March 27

In a video update Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland said that due to the social nature of athletic activities and certain park activities, the city is closing city-owned baseball, softball and soccer fields; basketball courts; dog parks and skateboard parks, effective immediately. 

And parks themselves could be closed, he said, if social distancing is not maintained. 

“Right now, city parks are open,” he said. “But if we continue to see what we saw yesterday at Tom Lee Park, we will have to close parks, as we did last evening when we shut down Tom Lee Park.” 

He urged sick people to stay home, that people who have been tested for the novel coronavirus isolate themselves until they get results and for those people to write down the names of people that they have made contact with, in case they do test positive, for contact tracing. 

Strickland asked employers of essential businesses to send sick employees home. 

“I cannot tell you enough how important social distancing is,” he said. “Stay six feet away, continue to wash your hands, and stay home to slow the spread of COVID-19. Please take some personal responsibility and help us.”

He also mentioned the drive-thru testing, which started for the public today, at Tiger Lane.





coronavirus COVID-19


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