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COVID-19 Bulletin #20 - April 17, 2020

Friday, April 17, 2020 | 03:37pm

Gov. Lee’s daily press conferences will resume next Monday through Thursday at 3 p.m. CDT and can be viewed here. Gov. Lee has also established a website specific to COVID-19 updates which can be found here.

Key Updates

Executive Order 28

Today, Gov. Lee signed Executive Order 28 to amend Executive Order 15 and remove additional regulatory barriers to facilitate the treatment and containment of COVID-19.

The order’s provisions include, among others:

  • Extending until October 1 the July 1 deadline for firefighters to obtain a medical examination making them eligible for certain employment-related cancer benefits;
  • Suspending the collaborating physician requirement for nurse practitioners and physician assistants to provide increased flexibility regarding where these professionals can provide health care services to facilitate the COVID-19 response;
  • Allowing nursing school graduates waiting to take the national nursing exam to go to work during the emergency under the supervision of a licensed nurse to boost health care resources;
  • Allowing nurse practitioners and physician assistants to write orders for home health services to address the increased need for such services;
  • Expanding the facilities in which autopsies may be performed to address the potential need for increased autopsies;
  • Allows medical laboratory personnel to work from home in reviewing data and reporting results;
  • Protects HIPAA information sent by the Department of Health to first responders and law enforcement personnel by making disclosure agreements the equivalent of an emergency order
  • Extends the price gouging law for another 15-day period (the maximum allowed under law).

The full text of the order can be found here.

Administration Actions

Childcare for Essential Employees

The Tennessee Department of Human Services (TDHS) is announcing new child care assistance to support families that are serving the state in essential workforce positions.

Applications for payment assistance will be accepted online throughout the state of emergency here. After an essential employee is approved for the program, TDHS will make arrangements to pay for child care at the TDHS licensed program where the child is currently served.

TDHS is also partnering with the YMCA and the Boys & Girls Clubs in Tennessee to establish free child care for school aged children of essential workers. Essential employees with school aged children who need care will be able to register at these locations and access care at no charge during the COVID-19 state of emergency.

For more information view the TDHS release here.

Expanded Testing Begins This Weekend

The expanded testing effort launches this weekend, April 18-19 with the Tennessee National Guard establishing 15 drive-through testing sites across the state. Drive-through testing sites will also be available during the weekends of April 25-26 and May 2-3. A full list of sites is available here, and additional information is available here.

Tennessee Department of Health nurses and Tennessee National Guard medics will perform tests at these drive-through sites and results are projected to be delivered to participants within 72 hours of testing. In addition to drive-through testing sites, Tennesseans can get a test free of charge, five days a week at every rural county health department in the state.

Current Department of Health Testing Results (as of 2 p.m. 4/16)

Confirmed Cases

Hospitalizations

Fatalities

  Recovered

Total Tests

6,589

711

142

  3,017

87,273

For more information on COVID-19 in Tennessee, please visit the Tennessee Department of Health’s website here.