Coronavirus live blog, April 9: State reports 4,634 cases, 94 deaths

By , Daily Memphian Updated: May 08, 2020 8:42 AM CT | Published: April 09, 2020 4:00 AM CT

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April 09, 2020

Tennessee at 4,634 cases, including 94 deaths

2:16 PM CT, April 9

Tennessee Department of Health reports there are 4,634 confirmed coronavirus cases in Tennessee, resulting in 94 deaths.

Yesterday the agency reported 4,623 cases and 79 deaths.

According to its 2 p.m. update, Shelby County has 1,006 cases.

There have been 505 hospitalizations; 921 people have recovered from the disease.

At 10 a.m. the Shelby County Health Department reported 949 cases in Shelby County, resulting in 23 deaths. 

At 9:30 a.m. Nasvhille’s Metro Public Health Department reported 1,231 cases in Davidson County, resulting in 13 deaths.


Vaco partners with city, local agencies on call center

2:51 PM CT, April 9

Hiring and consulting firm Vaco is partnering with the City of Memphis to provide vital testing and outreach information during the coronavirus pandemic.

The remote COVID-19 response call center is staffed by individuals displaced from work due to the virus and targets the city’s underserved and unemployed populations.

The initiative is funded through a grant from the Community Foundation of Greater Memphis, according to a release, and helps educate residents on preventative measures, symptoms and free resources that are available.

The partnership between the City of Memphis, Memphis Tourism, Metropolitan Hotel & Lodging Association, Memphis Housing Authority and the Memphis Restaurant Association has hired 53 unemployed workers from the restaurant and tourism industries.

“Vaco is excited to partner with Mayor Jim Strickland and the Memphis Housing Authority to reach out to underserved areas and make them aware of all of the resources available to them around COVID-19,” said Kirk Johnson, managing partner of Vaco in Memphis. “The city has done a great job of partnering with local organizations to set up mobile testing centers and other resources that are so necessary right now given these unprecedented circumstances.”


New Vandy model predicts June surge

1:40 PM CT, April 9

A new computer model developed by Vanderbilt University predicts that the surge in coronavirus cases won’t peak statewide until mid-June, if it continues to spread at its current rate.

That would require the state to prepare to hospitalize as many as 5,000 patients at once. The state has roughly about 12,500 hospital beds. The Memphis area has about 3,500.

If social distancing continues to lower the spread of the disease, the surge will peak sometime next month and require hospital beds for 2,000 to 3,000 people statewide.

If state and local officials lift social distancing policies too soon, the virus will overwhelm the state’s hospitals by mid-May, Vanderbilt said.

The three forecasts were delivered Thursday by Dr. John Graves, a Vanderbilt professor of health policy. He plans to provide more details Friday. Those details could include Shelby County projections.

The Vanderbilt model shows the curve is “starting to remove itself from the initial trajectory,” Graves said during the Nashville mayor’s daily press briefing.

He said the battling the virus is a “multi-stage relay race” involving social distancing, reliable speedy testing, and contact tracing.

“We’re currently modeling three scenarios because we can’t know exactly what that trajectory will look like over the coming weeks and months,” Graves said at the press briefing.

Shelby County’s social distancing grade improved from a D- to a B this week, according to new cell phone data from Unacast.

The new data shows that non-essential visits by Shelby County residents declined 70% last week. That was worth a A grade.

Average mobility, based on the average distance every cell phone user traveled, declined 40-55%. That was worth a C grade.

Overall, the county’s grade improved to a B. Tennessee’s overall grade was a C.

Gov. Bill Lee and other state officials are using Unacast’s cell phone tracking data, along with other measures, to make decisions about social distancing policies.

Lee has ordered all Tennesseans to stay home at least through April 14. Schools are closed until at least April 24


Haushalter: Shelby County has 2% death rate

12:15 PM CT, April 9

City chief operating officer Doug McGowen starts today’s COVID-19 briefing by renewing the call for no Easter and Passover services at least with groups more than 10.

He said better than planned forecast for the peak in Memphis.

McGowen says the expansion of testing should begin late next week with a deliberate plan for expansion. Also with the homeless, the city has a plan for quarantine of those without shelter.

McGowen says there’s no change in plans for an alternative care facility or field hospital despite what they’re hearing from other cities. No contract on those two local sites yet.

McGowen said there might be changes in other city services. Solid waste or garbage is asking people to not put household garbage in bags outside of the cart: Put it in the cart.

Shelby County Health Department Director Alisa Haushalter said there is a 9.1% positivity rate and 2% death rate. She said that 70% of cases are from the 21 to 60 age range.

Haushalter said some may have mild symptoms who are not being tested and the local effort wants these folks to get tested so they can isolate.

Predictions of the surge those should be more precise next week, she said.

Haushalter said labs do have a backlog. If someone is tested they should stay in isolation until they get results.

Haushalter said the low growth rate (in positive cases from yesterday to today) may mean social distancing is working but stresses continued caution and distancing across 60 to 90 days.

Haushalter said calling for testing of those with mild testing is an “evolution” in advice from earlier in pandemic. Some of that is Centers for Disease Control guidance, and earlier that guidance was around severe symptoms. Now they have a better idea and categories of symptoms have expanded.

Haushalter said there is some discussion about testing juveniles in custody which is not typically done unless there are symptoms. She said there will probably be more details on this tomorrow.

Haushalter said those symptomatic are always eligible for testing. What has happened now with expansion is there is a wider range of symptoms.

Haushalter says the early symptoms advised to go get a test now include low grade fever, a mild cough and a headache. For seniors they are early confusion, an agitated state and diarrhea.

Haushalter said there have been confirmed cases at other assisted living centers -- other than Carriage Court -- but didn’t know if they could be called outbreaks. They’re with one other assisted living center to determine if there is an outbreak there.

Some deaths are also at other assisted living centers, she said. No numbers at this point.

McGowen says if people want to help, donate to the city fund at the Community Foundation of Greater Memphis.

”This pandemic has unified this community in ways that I quite frankly haven’t seen in some time,” McGowen said.


April 08, 2020

The latest coronavirus cases, by the numbers

10:03 AM CT, April 8



April 09, 2020

Coronavirus cases at 949 in Shelby County, 23 deaths; 10,642 tested

10:06 AM CT, April 9

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Shelby County has risen to 949 as of Thursday, April 9.

The death toll from the coronavirus is now 23, according to the Shelby County Health Department.

In Shelby County, there have been 10,642 tests for coronavirus with 8.9% of those tests being positive.

Statewide, there are 4,634 cases with 94 deaths as of Thursday, April 9, according to the latest figures from the city of Memphis.

In Tennessee, the total of tests taken is 56,618 with an 7.7% positive rate.


Watch today’s joint COVID-19 Task Force/Health Department briefing live

12:00 PM CT, April 9

Today’s joint COVID-19 Task Force/Shelby County Health Department press conference is set to feature Shelby County Mayor Lee Harris, City of Memphis Chief Operating Officer Doug McGowen and officials from the health department.

Watch below:


Mississippi reports 257 new cases Thursday

10:14 AM CT, April 9

Mississippi Department of Health reported 257 new COVID-19 cases Thursday.

MSDH is reporting six new cases in DeSoto County for a total of 150. The county remains at one death.

Marshall County also remains at one death, according to MSDH. The county was reporting two additional cases increase Thursday for a total of 26.

MSDH is reporting nine new deaths for a total of 76. The department is also tracking outbreaks at 44 long-term care facilities.


New and expanded COVID-19 testing sites

9:11 AM CT, April 9

The COVID-19 Task Force has released a list of new or expanded coronavirus testing sites. The task force has a goal to test 1,000 people per day, in addition to testing already being done at local hospitals.

The testing sites are as follows:

Church Health

Location: 1350 Concourse Ave.

By appointment only, call (901) 272-0003

Memphis Health Center

Location: 360 E. H. Crump Blvd.

By appointment only, call (901) 261-2042

Tri State Community Health Center

Location: 1725 Pinebrook

By appointment only, call (901) 572-1573

Case Management Inc.

Location: 3171 Directors Row

By appointment only, call (901) 821-5880 or email

Christ Community Health Services

Location: 3362 S. Third St.

By appointment only, text “Test2020” to 91999

UTHSC drive-thru testing at Tiger Lane

Location: Midsouth Fairgrounds

By appointment only, text “covid” to (901) 203-5526


SCS to distribute comprehensive learning guides

9:34 AM CT, April 9

Beginning Monday, April 13, Shelby County Schools will distribute a comprehensive learning packet that includes several weeks of lessons and activities at all meal sites on Monday and Tuesday. It will also be posted on the district’s instructional resources website.

According to the district, the distribution streamlines efforts and creates a safer pick up and distribution process.

It does not, the district said, signal an extended closure of schools or end to the school year.

Since March 17, the district has distributed more than 31,000 learning guides..


State reports 15,452 new jobless claims in Memphis area

7:35 AM CT, April 9

Tennessee on Thursday, April 9, reported 15,452 new jobless claims in the Greater Memphis area, among 112,438 new claims in the state for the week ending April 4.

The total for Shelby and two adjoining counties was up from 12,548 the previous week and rose to 32,355 over the past three weeks.

Nationally, 6.6 million people filed for the second straight week, boosting the three-week total to more than 16 million.

The new number reflected a continuation of mass layoffs including hotels, restaurants and other businesses slammed by lack of traffic under stay-at-home orders for all but essential businesses.

The Memphis area numbers are for Shelby, Fayette, Tipton and Lauderdale counties in southwest Tennessee, and do not include the Mississippi and Arkansas portions of the Memphis metropolitan area.


April 08, 2020

FedEx logs first pilot’s death from COVID-19

8:28 PM CT, April 8

The COVID-19 pandemic has claimed the life of a FedEx pilot.

The MD-11 pilot, who lived in the Tampa, Florida, area, was one of 16 FedEx pilots diagnosed with the deadly virus as of Tuesday, April 7.

He was identified as Captain Paul Fox by the FedEx unit of the Air Line Pilots Association.

The FedEx family is deeply saddened by the loss of our team member, and our thoughts and condolences are with our colleague’s family, friends and co-workers at this difficult time,” FedEx spokeswoman Jenny Robertson said.

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