NASHVILLE, TN (WLAF) – The Governor thanked the Legislature this morning for the work they have done in the districts during this pandemic.  

State Representative Dennis Power said, “I appreciate Governor Lee keeping the Legislature informed each week of the COVID-19 pandemic and how it is affecting Tennesseans.  I also want to thank those front-line medical workers, the first responders and all those that have to put their health and life on the line each day for our safety.  We live in the greatest state in the greatest country on earth and it is an honor to serve as your state representative.  (FILE PHOTO)

State Representative Dennis Powers said, “Governor Bill Lee spoke about putting together the Unified Command Group which consists of the military, TEMA, Dept. of Health, etc., and they will meet every morning,  seven-days a week, to discuss what can be done to keep us safe.  The governor added that increased testing was a big priority and that we are ahead of most states in testing, testing supplies and PPE’s.”

Lee said, “We are expanding our testing daily, and the more we test, the more reliable our data will be.   We will continue robust testing as long as the virus is a problem.”  Power said, “He also talked about contact tracing regarding the contacts that positive Covid-19 patients have been in contact with recently.”

The state is tracking daily the number of hospital beds and the capacities across the state.  “As we begin to reopen our state, we need to make sure we have everything available to address any hot spots that may arise,” said Lee.

According to the governor, one focus for the Unified Command is to gather and use as much data as possible to make any decisions. That data shows that hospitalizations have declined and additional data shows Tennessee is ready to take the next step to reopen the state.

This morning Governor Lee talked about Social Distancing and how it is working and it is currently the only effective way to slow and stop the spread of this virus.  Lee said, “My number one priority is the safety of the Tennesseans as we reopen the state.”

Dr. Lisa Piercy, Commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Health, talked about testing and how Tennessee is Number 12 in the nation in testing.  She said, ” I am getting calls from other states wanting to know how we are doing so well in Tennessee on testing, and that we are on a downward trajectory of positive tests as a result of total tests.”

Also during the Governor’s legislative call, Commissioner Jeff McCord, Commissioner for the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development talked about unemployment insurance and that more than 250,000 people have applied for unemployment insurance.  The state has added more staff and another new upgrade to handle the number of requests as quickly as possible.

Stuart C. McWhorter is the Lead of the Unified Command and said, “We are in the process of ordering masks for all Tennesseans and are working on the distribution of those now, and we are encouraging everyone to wear one until to further notice.”

Powers pointed out that the Governor closed by talking about everyone who has suffered through this process losing their jobs or losing family members.   He also talked about the destructive tornadoes that have hit our state and his administration is working as hard as possible to make sure we can help all of those who are going through these tough times.  (WLAF NEWS PUBLISHED – 04/22/2020-NOON)