NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Governor Bill Lee is responding to questions about the COVID-19 surge in Tennessee as hospitals are being pushed to the brink and COVID is spreading rapidly in communities. However, Lee did not introduce a new plan or strategy to combat the surge — although he says he’s hopeful that the surge will be over soon.

The COVID crisis ramped up as omicron continues to spread and send patients to emergency rooms.

“Hopeful that what happens in this surge will soon be over but it is continuing to be a great challenge, this pandemic has, for two years, continues to be a challenge,” Lee said.

Despite the challenge, the 50th governor is not delivering a specific plan to deal with the issues of record covid infections. “We’ll continue to work hard through our Department of Health to make sure that folks have access to vaccines which we want to continue to encourage people to do but we are navigating our way through this and we’ll continue to do so,” he said.

The Tennessee Department of Health decided to forgo daily COVID-19 updates, opting for weekly reports. There were 13,503 cases per day last week with a 7-day positivity average of nearly 40%.

“We’re really grateful for the frontline workers, the ER doctors, the healthcare workers that are continuing to operate under the strain — that’s why I am in contact with, as I said just yesterday, CEOs of major health systems here in this state to say how are you, where are you, what can we do, how can we work together?” Lee said.

But emergency doctors in Tennessee are asking him the same and for leadership. One doctor tweeted she blames the governor and the Tennessee GOP for not doing more to protect the state.

Governor Bill Lee says he has not tested positive amid the COVID surge and that he has received a COVID booster shot.