Governor Lee talks about facemasks, dentists and when we go back to school
NASHVILLE (WDEF) – Tennessee Governor Bill Lee issued a new executive order today and reorganized how his administration will process Cornonovirus actions.
He is creating the COVID 19 Unified Command.
The new organization combines leaders from state emergency management, military and health departments.
He is asking them to find innovative and quicker decisions on testing, quarantine, personnel and medical supplies.
One thing you may have noticed in the state response so far is that shutdown policies aren’t the same in Bledsoe and Polk counties as they are in Chattanooga.
Governor Lee says he is resisiting blanket rules.
“This virus does not act the same in high density areas as it does in other areas.. It’s not a one size fits all solution.”
Reporters asked him why he isn’t calling for a uniform stay at home order like other state’s have.
He says every city is different. For instance, Memphis and Nashville have seen far more cases so far than Chattanooga or Knoxville.
“I do think the way we’re doing it in this state.. for the uniqueness in our state.. is the best approach, and I evaluate it every single day.”
His executive order 18 today prohibits elective surgery and non-emergency dental procedures.
But the point isn’t just protecting patients.
It will free up protective gear and ventilators that can be used for COVID-19 cases.
The Governor was also asked about when or if students will return to schools.
A reporter asked if other states are cancelling the remainder of the year, why hasn’t he done the same?
Governor Lee said he isn’t ready to go that far yet.
His current school closure order will run out soon.
The Governor says his administration will have an announcement on extending the closure in the next few days.
The Governor also confirmed that one of his staffers has tested positive for COVID-19 and another staffer’s test came back negative. He says he had limited contact with the person who is positive, has no symptoms so he is not taking a test.
The Governor concluded with a call for Tennesseans to act like Tennesseans. (see video)
“Every single Tennessean should wake up and take personal responsibility for saving the lives of the people around them and for saving the livelihoods of their neighbors.”