Tennessee Governor Bill Lee has signed an executive order aimed at expanding COVID-19 health care resources and capacity in hospitals.
On Friday, Governor Lee signed Executive Order 68, which will allow National Guard members to enter Tennessee hospitals to assist with COVID-19 response.
The order states in part: “Medical professional staffing flexibility is permitted pursuant to an approved plan to relieve the capacity strain on certain staffing functions. In order to relieve the capacity strain on bedside care and support resulting from staffing shortages (nurses, respiratory therapists, etc.), additional temporary regulatory flexibility measures are necessary to cope with the emergency.”
This comes as hospitals across the state report growing numbers of COVID-19 patients, some of whom are presenting more severe symptoms than doctors have seen in the past. This strain is especially being felt in rural hospitals.
Specifically, the order states guard members will be able to perform COVID-19 tests, authorized nursing functions, and operate ambulances.
According to the Tennessee Department of Health only 11% of ICU beds are available in the state.
Currently there are 34,261 are probable cases of COVID-19 in Tennessee. We have had 4,943 total deaths and currently 2,504 people are in hospital with the virus.
The latest COVID-19 active cases/deaths from area counties: