COVID-19 Update from Mayor Strickland (4/2)

From the national news down to our local outlets, everyone is talking about “the surge”. But, what does it mean? 

My friend and fellow COVID-19 Task Force member, Dr. Jeff Warren (also Councilman Warren) uses a good analogy to describe the way the virus spreads and why social distancing is so important. It goes like this:

If you place one lily pad in a pond and that lily pad doubles every day for 30 days, what day is the pond fully covered by the lily pads? You may think day 15. It’s half way through the 30-day time period—wrong. Day 29 is when the pond is half full, and day 30 it’s completely covered.

That’s a very good way to look at the surge of those who may become ill. That analogy helps to demonstrate why I chose to institute the Safer at Home Executive Order and everything that goes along with it. Unlike lily pads growing on a pond, through social distancing we can drastically slow down the spread of the virus and reduce the number of us who get sick. We believe our social distancing will help slow the spread, but in the event it doesn’t, we have been working daily to make sure we are prepared as best we can.

The graph below shows the steady increase in cases as we approach our potential surge of people in need of a hospital in Memphis and Shelby County.

I mentioned the task force earlier. The Memphis/Shelby County COVID-19 Joint Task force is made up of both Memphis and Shelby County Government with participation from other Municipal Governments, Nonprofits and local hospitals.

The task force is currently looking at all available options (adding additional hospital beds, staffing, ventilators, and PPE) to be as prepared as we can be for the potential surge. Phase 1 of this was just announced by Governor Lee as he selected Gateway Shopping Center on Jackson Avenue as an alternative care buildout in Shelby County. We are continuing to work on Phases 2 and 3 should we need them. Speaking of the Governor, he also just announced that his Safer at Home order is now mandatory for Tennessee residents.

Shelby County Health Department COVID-19 Daily Update: April 2, 2020

COVID-19 Cases
Shelby County Cases638
Total Tested in Shelby County7007
Tennessee Total Cases2,845*
*As of 2:00 p.m. 4/2/20
Other Jurisdictions:
Tipton County, TN22
Desoto County, MS94
Crittenden County, AR32
Numbers current as of 10:00 a.m. 4/2/2020

Shelby County currently has 638 confirmed COVID-19 cases. Two additional deaths attributed to COVID-19 were reported to the Shelby County Health Department overnight, bringing the total number of deaths in Shelby County attributed to COVID-19 to 7.

Map of COVID-19 cases in Shelby County as of 04/01/2020

The Health Department’s investigation of an outbreak at Carriage Court of Memphis assisted living facility continues.

  • The Health Department has tested 22 persons at the facility, including residents and staff.
  • Of that number, 20 results have been returned, and 2 are still pending.
  • Of the 20 results, 4 were positive and 16 were negative.
  • Prior to the Health Department’s involvement, 2 residents were tested by other health providers and found to be positive for COVID-19.
  • To date, there are a total of 6 positive cases at the facility, including 5 residents and 1 employee.

Carriage Court of Memphis is taking appropriate actions to contain the virus. The employee who tested positive is recovering at home in isolation.

Here is a breakdown of current cases in Shelby County by age range:

Shelby County Health Department has added a data page to its COVID-19 webpage:  It includes information about the geographic distribution of COVID-19 cases in Shelby County.

The Health Department is committed to providing as much information as possible to the public as the COVID-19 situation continues to develop. The Health Department’s hotline number (833-943-1658).