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Memphis mayor extends safer-at-home order, says COVID-19 task force must increase testing to contain virus

"We need to starve the virus. Now is the time for all of us to double down on our actions," said Strickland.




Strickland extended the city’s safer-at-home order until April 21st. City employees will be stationed at parks to ensure adequate social distancing is being followed.
The mayor said code enforcement has taken 140 reports of businesses not in compliance and spoken to most of those businesses about why they should close.

Strickland said the city did take action with a car wash on Park Avenue that they had to forcibly close, summoning the owners to court. MPD responded on Sunday to more than three dozen large gatherings, urging people to disperse.
Strickland said the task force is working on adding sites for testing, including mobile/portable testing and testing of the city’s homeless population.

“It’s my opinion that the number one thing our task force can do is increase the number of individuals tested, isolate those who test positive, and then quarantine their contacts,” he said.
The task force plans to house homeless women and families at two hotels and they are working to locate space for homeless men.

“We need a truer picture of exactly what we are dealing with as it relates to this virus,” said Dr. Bruce Randolph, Shelby County Health Officer, on expanded testing.

The task force said Monday it is monitoring the supply of PPE at area hospitals, and there’s a subcommittee charged with acquiring PPE.
NBC News reported a new internal government survey found serious shortages of medical equipment and expired items from the national stockpile in a survey of more than 300 hospitals nationwide at the end of March.
Strickland said the task force is trying to acquire PPE not only for hospitals but also for first-responders like police and firefighters.
“The challenge you see nationwide is true here. The hospitals have the room, the personnel, the equipment as of today,” said Strickland. “We have enough for today and tomorrow and some days ahead of us.”

Shelby County Health Department Director Alisa Haushalter told Shelby County Commissioners Monday afternoon that 17 deaths have been reported due to COVID-19.

The department has been investigating an outbreak of the virus at Carriage Court of Memphis, an assisted living facility on Massey Road where 5 residents and 1 employee have confirmed cases.
WMC Action News 5 asked the facility Monday morning about any deaths attributed to COVID-19.
The executive director by email confirmed a death and referenced the outbreak, but in a later email would not confirm if the death was COVID-19 related.
WMC Action News 5 asked the Shelby County Health Department if they could confirm a death resulting from cases at the facility.
“The health department does not release personal information about any specific cases,” wrote a spokesperson in an email.

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