NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Tennessee Governor Bill Lee addressed the state Thursday afternoon, as cases of COVID-19 continue to rise across the Tennessee.
The Governor said there are now 154 confirmed cases in the state. Tennessee Department of Health Commissioner Dr. Lisa Piercey said this is the largest day-over-day increase so far, due to an increase in available testing.
“This is an individual responsibility of all of us to follow guidelines and to help us get through this,” Governor Lee said. “We will mitigate this disease as possible and the economic impacts as possible and we as Tennesseans to find our way through very difficult days ahead of us.”
The state is also expanding medical supplies available. Around 570 medical ventilators have been ordered in the state. This is in addition to the 537 ventilators already available in the state. The Governor is also freeing up 15,000 unused licensed hospital beds for patients, however, the administration is still working to find staffing for those beds.
Governor Lee has signed Executive Order 15, which calls for loosening HIPPA restrictions so expand telemedicine and FaceTime that can be used for medical services. The Governor has submitted a request to the Small Business Administration to allow statewide relief. Small business loans will also be available for non-profits.
“Yesterday we announced Small Business Administration loans up to $2 million per small business in the state to help companies negatively impacted to help them secure loans for the period of time for transition,” Governor Lee said.
Executive Order 15 also prevents the food industry from price gouging.
This is the fourth address the Governor has made this week, briefing the public on the latest COVID-19 developments.
Stay with News 2 for continuing coverage of the COVID-19 Pandemic.