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Outdoor exercise still OK; 93 cases in Shelby County

The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) is a pandemic. Reported illnesses range from very mild to severe, including death. Agencies anticipate widespread transmission will occur in the U.S. in coming months and recommend social distancing among other measures to slow the spread. Call your doctor and stay home if you are sick. Get more information at or contact the Tennessee Department of Health coronavirus information line at Memphis News from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. CT daily.

This story was last updated on Monday, March 23, at 6:35 p.m.

By the numbers: The Shelby County Health Department has confirmed 93 cases of the novel coronavirus COVID-19 as of Monday afternoon. The first local case was reported on March 8. Statewide, there were 615 cases as of Monday, up from 505 the day before.
Outdoor exercise and visits to parks are still permitted as Memphis-area governments go into a stay-at-home order to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

Parks will remain open, Shelby County Mayor Lee Harris said Monday, though people are still encouraged to practice "social distancing" by remaining apart from each other, he said.

The city of Memphis web site spells it out: "You can ... Take a walk, ride your bike, hike, jog and be in nature for exercise — just keep at least six feet between you and others."

As schools, businesses, gyms, restaurants and other institutions close in Memphis and across the nation, parks are one of the few normal life pleasures still available. On a spring afternoon on Monday, Shelby Farms was full of people walking, biking, jogging, and in a few cases, kayaking.

Jacob Allen, 31, paddled his kayak onto the gravel shore of Patriot Lake. What does being in the park mean to him?

"It's such a relief right now," he said.

Being out on the water gave him a chance to lift his spirits a little bit, he said.

His friend and coworker Austin Barnett, 35, was paddling a different kayak.

"We're all trying to keep our distance, but we're all trying Press Release Distribution Services In Memphis to enjoy ourselves, too," Barnett said.
The two work in a Memphis liquor store and they say it's been slammed with customers looking to get drinks."It's like Christmas in March," Barnett said.
But it's not clear if liquor stores will be permitted to stay open under new "Safer at Home" orders announced in Memphis and surrounding areas on Monday.
Amid the uncertainty, Allen also said the pandemic is affecting his love life — no one wants to go out on a date.Shelby County Jail employee tests positive for coronavirus
A Shelby County Jail employee has tested positive for coronavirus, the Shelby County Sheriff's Office confirmed Monday. The employee works with detainees at the jail, according to Capt. Anthony Buckner.

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