COVID-19 Update from Mayor Strickland (4/27)

Last week, I told you we would be bringing forth a plan to safely and methodically begin the reopening process for our community. While, we’re not ready to start that process just yet, we wanted to give you the guidelines and framework for what it will look like when we do get to that point.

Since the beginning, our approach has been one that is based on expert medical advice and data. This is no different. Reopening our city and getting our economy moving again is vitally important, but we must get back to business the right way.

As we look to reopen, we will base our decisions largely on three areas.

  1. The numbers of new cases are stable or declining for 14 days.
  2. Our hospitalizations are stable or declining for 14 days and our hospitals have capacity to treat all patients.
  3. Our testing and tracing capabilities are sufficient to contain the virus.

From that framework, our Memphis and Shelby County Back-to-Business plan was crafted. Many hours of hard work went into this plan, and the spirit of collaboration from all the municipalities across the county has been truly amazing to witness.

As I said, this was a tremendous undertaking with many moving parts, and I want to quickly thank the subgroup of the COVID-19 Joint Task Force that developed the framework for getting us back-to-business:

  • Kyle Veazey, Deputy Chief Operating Officer, City of Memphis and group coordinator
  • Amber Floyd, Deputy City Attorney
  • Jennifer Sink, Chief Legal Officer, City of Memphis
  • Doug McGowen, Chief Operating Officer, City of Memphis
  • Marlinee Iverson, Shelby County Attorney
  • Dwan Gilliom, Shelby County Chief Administrative Officer
  • Andre Gibson, Special Assistant to Shelby County Chief Administrative Officer
  • Dr. Alisa Haushalter, Shelby County Health Department
  • Dr. Jon McCullers, University of Tennessee Health Science Center
  • Dr. Manoj Jain, City of Memphis
  • Reid Dulberger, Economic Development Growth Engine

While we must remain vigilant about adhering to social distancing guidelines and hygiene practices, we felt it was time to safely start introducing measures that alleviate some burdens on the economy — while also balancing the need to protect our citizens. A phased approach, informed by data and constantly monitored and adjusted, will be used to get us safely back-to-business. The Safer at Home Order is still in effect, and this phased-in approach is simply a part of it.

Now, I’ll quickly go through some Phase 1 examples of the Back-to-Business Framework. This is not an exhaustive list.

  1. Healthcare—elective surgeries will be allowed.
  2. Restaurants— must maintain only 50% capacity with social distance seating between tables. No communal items. They must have paper menus, and employees must wear masks.
  3. Non-essential retail stores—must maintain only 50% capacity, and employees must wear masks.
  4. Libraries—must maintain 25% capacity while also adhering to social distancing guidelines, and employees must wear masks.

To see in detail more information on the phases and which business are included in each phase, visit our page. We have the full framework laid out with all the key indicators and information used to make our decisions. If you have questions about where your Memphis organization fits in this framework, please email

As we move forward, I want to stress that our approach will be data-driven and not date driven. And, we will not advance from one phase to the next until all the data points are telling us it is safe to do so.

Breaking down the numbers

As you look at the data in the chart below, you’ll notice there was an uptick in the number of confirmed cases over the weekend. There are a couple things to keep in mind, one is that a single data point doesn’t make a trend.

Over the last couple days, the number of tests given has exponentially increased, as well as, an increase in more targeted testing in areas where the virus seems to have created a cluster. The medical experts are closely monitoring this, but it is too early to tell how this weekend’s numbers affect the downward trend beginning seven to ten days ago.

Shelby County Health Department COVID-19 Daily Update: April 27, 2020

COVID-19 Cases
Shelby County Cases2320
Total Tested in Shelby County25,299
Tennessee Total Cases9,918*
*As of 2:00 p.m. 4/27/20
Other Jurisdictions:
Tipton County, TN94
Desoto County, MS261
Crittenden County, AR171
Numbers current as of 10:00 a.m. 4/27/2020

Shelby County currently has 2320 confirmed COVID-19 cases. The total number of deaths in Shelby County attributed to COVID-19 to 45.

Total COVID-19 Cases Recovered in Shelby County as of 04-26-2020

Data Source: National Electronic Disease Surveillance System (NEDSS)

Note: “Recovered“ is defined as (1) people who are living and have been confirmed to be asymptomatic by the health department and have completed their required isolation period

or (2) are at least 21 days beyond the first test confirming their illness

The Shelby County Health Department is investigating clusters of infection in a number of facilities that serve vulnerable populations.

Map of COVID-19 testing in Shelby County as of 04/26/2020

Data Source: National Electronic Disease Surveillance System (NEDSS)

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

COVID-19 Cases in Shelby County by Age as of 04/26/2020

Data Source: National Electronic Disease Surveillance System (NEDSS)

COVID-19 Cases in Shelby County by Age as of 04/26/2020

Data Source: National Electronic Disease Surveillance System (NEDSS)

Shelby County COVID-29 Cases by Race and Ethnicity as of 4/26/20

Data Source: National Electronic Disease Surveillance System (NEDSS)

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.

All of Shelby County, including the municipalities and the unincorporated areas are under Safer at Home orders. Only essential businesses as spelled out in Shelby County Mayor Lee Harris’s executive order of March 24, 2020, may remain open to the public. All assemblies and gatherings of more than 10 people outside of a private residence are prohibited. The list of essential and non-essential businesses can be viewed here.

For more information about the Safer at Home order or to register concerns, the public may contact:

· The Shelby County Mayor’s Action Line: 901-222-2300

· The Shelby County Health Department’s COVID-19 Hotline: 833-943-1658

· Email