Tennessee reports 2,845 COVID-19 cases and 32 deaths; 7 deaths in Shelby County, according to health dept.

Governor announces temporary care facility in Memphis for COVID-19 patients
Updated: Apr. 2, 2020 at 5:56 PM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - The Tennessee Department of Health reported 2,845 confirmed cases of coronavirus Thursday afternoon, an increase of 162 since Wednesday.

According to the Tennessee Department of Health, there have been 32 coronavirus-related deaths across the state.

Speaking at a news conference Thursday afternoon, Shelby County Health Department director Alisa Haushalter announced two more deaths since their morning news release, bringing the county’s death toll to seven.

Haushalter said one of the deaths was a person younger than 40.

Governor Bill Lee announced a new executive order Thursday afternoon requiring all Tennesseans stay home unless conducting essential business.

“Over the last two or three days, we’ve seen some troubling data points that tell us some in our state are not staying at home as much as we’d hope,” said Lee.

Executive Order 23 takes his earlier “safer-at-home” order a step further.

“Tennesseans must remain at home unless they’re engaging in essential activity,” said Lee.

The governor also announced a Memphis location -- Gateway Shopping Center on Jackson Avenue -- as an alternative care site for COVID-19 patients.

It’s not immediately clear when the site will be up and running, but agencies across the Mid-South are preparing for a surge of critically ill people at Memphis hospitals.

“The ultimate goal that we have is save as many lives as we can and maintain confidence that you can get what you need when you need it,” said Doug McGowen, Memphis chief operating officer.

McGowen spoke during a meeting of the Memphis and Shelby County COVID-19 Task Force Thursday. City officials say the area’s hospitals are not at critical capacity yet but they could be within weeks.

“What we do today will be impacted two weeks from now,” said Dr. Manoj Jain, City of Memphis infectious disease consultant. “The infections happening today turn into an ICU admission.”

The Army Corps of Engineers along with state and other agencies believe there’s a need for 1,000 additional hospital beds in Memphis. Hospital admissions have already reached the trigger point for construction of additional medical facility space.

There are 638 confirmed cases in Shelby County as of Thursday, according to the Shelby County Health Department.

Health officials say upwards of 60 beds in Memphis hospitals are already occupied by COVID-19 patients, and there are even more whose cases have not yet been confirmed.

Jain estimates a statewide need of nearly 16,000 hospital beds, but only about 7,800 beds are currently available.

As testing capacity increases, officials expect to begin targeting those on the front lines.

“Those who are sick get tested, those who are the first responders get tested,” said Jain. “And we build the capacity based on that data. We have a better idea of who else we need to test.”

On Thursday, the health department released a map of Shelby County’s cases by zip code. The highest concentrations of cases are in the 38109, 38119, 38120, 38016 and 38125 areas.

Shelby County coronavirus cases by zip code as of April 1
Shelby County coronavirus cases by zip code as of April 1(WMC)

Data from both state and local health departments shows people 21 to 30 years old account for the highest percentage of cases. This is the breakdown by age, according to the Tennessee Department of Health as of Wednesday:

  • 0 to 10 -- 36
  • 11 to 20 -- 138
  • 21 to 30 -- 665
  • 31 to 40 -- 456
  • 41 to 50 -- 437
  • 51 to 60 -- 484
  • 61 to 70 -- 331
  • 71 to 80 -- 184
  • 80+ -- 97
  • Pending -- 17

Other counties in the Mid-South with confirmed cases include:

  • Crittenden (Arkansas) -- 32
  • Cross (Arkansas) -- 1 to 4
  • Lee (Arkansas) -- 1 to 4
  • Poinsett (Arkansas) -- 5
  • St. Francis (Arkansas) -- 1 to 4
  • Alcorn (Mississippi) -- 3
  • Benton (Mississippi) -- 5
  • Coahoma (Mississippi) -- 23
  • DeSoto (Mississippi) -- 103; 1 death
  • Lafayette (Mississippi) -- 16; 1 death
  • Marshall (Mississippi) -- 18; 1 death
  • Panola (Mississippi) -- 8; 1 death
  • Quitman (Mississippi) -- 4
  • Tate (Mississippi) -- 12
  • Tippah (Mississippi) -- 29; 2 deaths
  • Tunica (Mississippi) -- 14; 1 death
  • Dyer (Tennessee) -- 5
  • Fayette (Tennessee) -- 14
  • Hardeman (Tennessee) -- 4
  • Haywood (Tennessee) -- 2
  • McNairy (Tennessee) -- 3
  • Tipton (Tennessee) -- 24

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