First coronavirus case confirmed in Shelby County

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Officials in Memphis and Shelby County on Sunday morning confirmed the area’s first case of novel coronavirus.

Official said the adult patient was being treated at Baptist Hospital and was in good condition. The patient had traveled outside the state, but not outside the country.

Dr. Alisa Haushalter, director of the Shelby County Health Department, said the tests came back positive from the state’s lab Saturday and the results will be forwarded to the CDC.

People who came in contact with the patient are being identified and will be quarantined and monitored daily for 14 days, she said.

Haushalter said the health department did not think there was a major risk to the public at large.

“It doesn’t take much time,” Haushalter said. “10 minutes or more to be listed as a contact. So we want to make sure that we’re being very diligent and get a very thorough history and have an extensive list based on that history.”

Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland said he had been in touch with Gov. Bill Lee about the case, and that city facilities had been sanitized.

“We’re taking this situation very seriously,” Strickland said.

Shelby County Mayor Lee Harris said county government had adjusted its policies to allow any workers who might have symptoms of illness to stay home, and he encouraged private employers to do the same.

“We don’t believe there is a need to panic,” Harris said.

WREG spoke with one man who says his employer is implementing similar policies.

“They’ve encouraged us to do our due diligence like washing your hands and all that and making sure you’re taking care of yourself,” Darrion Johnson said. “And if you’re sick, stay home.”

This is the third confirmed case of novel coronavirus in Tennessee, So far, in addition to Shelby County, cases have been confirmed in Williamson County and Davidson County.

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