Shelby County mayor declares emergency as confirmed coronavirus cases rise to 10

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- The mayor of Shelby County declared an emergency Thursday after the number of local corona virus cases in the county grew to 10.

"We are in a moment unlike any other that any of us have ever experienced," Mayor Lee Harris said. "This community has not had an epidemic of this magnitude or this serious in nearly 150 years, when yellow fever struck and devastated this community."

The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Shelby County jumped by six overnight, county health officials said Thursday morning.

There are now 10 cases, up from four the day before.

Health officials said the increase was not unexpected, because commercial laboratories have begun reporting results on tests conducted over the last several days.

"While there is still no direct evidence of community transmission of the virus, the rapid increase in cases is suggestive that community transmission may be occurring," the health department said in a release.

Health officials hope to start offering coronavirus testing in Memphis at Tiger Lane within one or two days. Testing is also available at Christ Community Health Services and some other sites.

Harris said he was meeting with leaders in the municipal Shelby County cities to prevent the spread of the virus.

The emergency declaration runs through March 26, and allows local officials to access funds and distribute aid in the county.

The department advised people to:

  • Avoid handshakes and close contact with others whenever possible.
  • Cancel or postpone gatherings of 10 or more people. Instead of visiting friends or relatives, call or video chat.
  • Stay at home whenever possible.

The state of Tennessee on Thursday confirmed 154 cases in the state, though their numbers apparently don't include the new Shelby County cases.

Daily COVID-19 count by state

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