COVID-19 Update from Mayor Strickland (5-20)

As I told you yesterday, I presented to City Council my vision for spending the roughly $113 million the City of Memphis received from the federal CARES Act. Within my presentation along with many other items, I requested a total of $12 million for enhanced testing and another $8.7 million that would go to the Shelby County Health Department for contact tracing.

To get the ball rolling on increased contact tracing, we presented a resolution for $2.7 million (which is a portion of the overall $8.7 million) that will go to the health department right now.

I want to publicly thank the members of the Memphis City Council for their unanimous approval of that resolution. I would also like to thank the roughly 40 City of Memphis employees we reassigned who for the last six weeks now have been doing contact tracing for the health department.

This new funding will go a long way towards hiring much needed workers and will help us box in the virus to stop the spread.

As you all know, we moved into Phase II of our Back-to-Business plan on Monday. We were able to move into this next phase largely because of you—Memphians have been doing your part—washing your hands, covering your face in public, and adhering to social distancing.

But, I want to strongly remind everyone—this is a marathon and not a sprint.

Simply because we’ve seen progress and we’re starting to open back up, it doesn’t mean that all those great practices are no longer necessary. It’s actually quite the opposite. Since more people are out and about, doing all those things are even more crucial.

I’m going to use a sports analogy. Longtime Lipscomb Basketball Coach, Don Meyer, used to say, “You don’t win championships unless you make layups and free throws”. Think about it—the best basketball players in the world play in the NBA, and they shoot layups before every game.

In The Last Dance, the greatest player of all time, Michael Jordan, practiced in the gym more than anyone else—shot after shot, including free throws.

We are in a battle with COVID-19. We have done well for the first two months, but it’s not over. If we want to win the championship, we must make our layups and free throws—which are cleaning our hands for a full 20 seconds, using hand sanitizer, covering our faces when in public, and practicing social distancing.

Testing update from Memphis Housing Authority

I told you last week that Memphis Housing Authority (MHA) would be partnering with the state to offer testing to any one of their residents who wanted it. So far, it has been a great success, and the state complemented us saying it was the most organized and well attended event they’ve participated in so far. Below is quick rundown of those numbers.

Total tested 485

  • Montgomery Plaza=165
  • Bishop G.E. Patterson Point=65
  • Legends Park North=44
  • Jefferson Square=178
  • Kefauver=33

Across all sites, there are roughly 890 total residents at MHA properties. So, almost 50% of residents chose to get tested.

Shelby County Health Department COVID-19 Daily Update: May 20, 2020

COVID-19 Cases
Shelby County Cases4005
Total Tested in Shelby County56,543
Tennessee Total Cases18,532
*As of 2:00 p.m. 5/19/20
Other Jurisdictions:
Tipton County, TN407
Desoto County, MS404
Crittenden County, AR241
Numbers current as of 10:00 a.m. 5/20/2020

Total COVID-19 Cases Recovered in Shelby County as of 05/19/2020

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

The testing positivity rate is the percentage of all tests conducted that are found to be positive. The chart below shows Shelby County’s testing positivity rates over time, as of May 18, 2020.

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. Some non-essential businesses may reopen under the guidance of Shelby County Health Directive #4, issued on May 18, 2020, which 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