TN Health Dept. releases statement after Coronavirus briefing with Gov. Lee


NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — The Tennessee Department of Health has released a statement after Governor Bill Lee and cabinet members were briefed Friday about Tennessee’s response to and preparedness for COVID-19, otherwise known as Coronavirus.

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Good afternoon.

On Friday, Feb. 28, Governor Bill Lee and members of his cabinet were briefed by Tennessee Department of Health Commissioner Lisa Piercey, MD, MBA, FAAP on the current status of the COVID-19 outbreak and Tennessee’s response and preparedness activities. Agencies with individuals in attendance at the meeting included the Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security, Tennessee Department of Transportation, Tennessee Department of Agriculture, Tennessee Emergency Management Agency, Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance, Tennessee Department of Correction, Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, Tennessee Department of Finance and Administration, Tennessee Department of Financial Institutions, Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services, Tennessee Higher Education Commission, the Division of TennCare and the Tennessee National Guard.

The discussion included an update on the situation globally and in the United States. Tennessee does not have any cases of COVID-19 at this time. Dr. Piercey described what is currently known about symptoms and mode of transmission of the disease and groups at higher risk of complications, including the elderly and those with compromised immune systems.

Leaders in the TDH Communicable and Environmental Disease and Emergency Preparedness Division described global and domestic response activities and priorities, which include screening of inbound airport travelers at 11 U.S. airports and 20 ports of entry. TDH remains in close communication with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as well as other federal, state and local partners to share the latest guidance and will continue a high level of collaboration throughout this response.

TDH has been closely monitoring the COVID-19 outbreak around the world and activated its State Health Operations Center in early January to maximize capacity and available resources across the state. TDH has issued multiple messages to Tennessee health care providers and hospitals and holds weekly conference calls with local and regional public health professionals across the state to ensure they have the most up-to-date guidance and information. The Tennessee State Public Health Laboratory has now established testing capacity for COVID-19, although testing supplies are currently limited.

TDH has an established Novel Virus/Pandemic Influenza Response Plan to help guide actions and recommendations to protect public health in Tennessee. Current efforts remain focused on containment of any confirmed cases; however, TDH is planning in the event more broad mitigation measures need to be implemented.

TDH is working with other Tennessee State Government agencies to increase awareness about preparedness and specific actions communities and individuals can take to keep themselves and their families healthy, and is committed to providing the most up-to-date and accurate information to Tennesseans about this evolving outbreak. Tennessee-specific information on our response and preparedness efforts can be found on our website at

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