Skip to Main Content

Find COVID-19 Information and Resources
Commitment to Accessibility

May 12, 2020

Thank you for joining us today to get the latest in our fight against COVID-19 as well our efforts to get Tennesseans back to work. 

Today is also the final day of Nurses Week and we saluted the heroic efforts of these frontline health care workers with a statewide, National Guard flyover. I commend our guardsmen and airmen for using training as an opportunity to recognize and honor the efforts of fellow public servants. 

Before we get started today, I’d like to acknowledge our police officers across Tennessee during this National Police Week. 

Thank you for your efforts to serve our communities with compassion and courage, particularly during this pandemic. You put your lives on the line for Tennesseans every day and we are grateful to you. 

During our time, I will be sharing more information regarding Executive Order 36, next steps for expanding COVID-19 testing, and next steps for federal stimulus dollars. 

Today, I am signing Executive Order 36 to continue our previous efforts that have helped our state as we fight a public health crisis, and now as we work to safely re-open our economy. 

This executive order continues key provisions that help Tennesseans at a time when we will continue effective social distancing practices. Through this order, I’ve maintained extended deadlines, such as motor vehicle registrations and handgun carry permits deadlines, and suspended inspection requirements to avoid unnecessary person-to-person contact. 

This order also maintains increased opportunities to work remotely where appropriate. I have continued provisions that ensure Tennesseans have expanded access to health care through telehealth services. Should our state see an increase in COVID-19 cases, we’ve also extended provisions that make it easy to grow our health care workforce quickly. 

Tennessee consumers will continue to have supply chain and price gouging protections, as well as the ability to receive 90 day supplies of certain prescriptions. As many Tennesseans navigate challenges from both a public health and economic standpoint, we have worked to minimize regulatory burdens as much as possible. 

In recent weeks, we have made announcements about our efforts to focus COVID-19 testing on vulnerable populations. 

People with intellectual and developmental disabilities often have underlying health conditions which may make them more vulnerable to complications of COVID-19

The Department of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, or DIDD, is currently working with the Department of Health to test more widely in our service delivery system to include all persons receiving services through DIDD, those who live in intermediate care facilities for people with intellectual disabilities, and the Employment and Community First CHOICES Program.

The first testing opportunity will take place this Friday in Scott County utilizing the DIDD’s mobile clinic as well as the department’s nursing staff, which specializes in care of persons with disabilities.

We estimate that more than 12,500 tests will be conducted in the coming weeks based upon provider assistance. 

We are proud to support our intellectual and developmental disability community. 

Commissioner Turner is here for any further questions about this effort to care for those with intellectual and developmental disabilities. 

Today our Financial Stimulus Accountability Group convened. It is a bipartisan effort with the legislature and We thank Lt. Gov McNally, Speaker Sexton, Sen. Watson, Sen. Akbari, Rep. Marsh, Rep. Love, and Comptroller Wilson for their service in these efforts.

As we review permitted uses for this first tranche of stimulus money from the CARES Act, we expect there to be further updates from Congress that will impact what is allowed. This includes the potential for Congress to reverse course and allow for the backfill of lost revenue to our state. 

While our state’s finances have been prudently managed, I will be advocating for holding back a contingency of funds if Congress reverses course and allows that backfill. In my view, the way to get our economy moving is to backfill lost revenue and then get money back in the hands of Tennessee business owners who have been crippled by this crisis. 

Our use of these funds will also include direct public health response uses, unemployment insurance uses and disaster relief. 

While there is still guidance pending for these funds, we will continue to make plans to responsibly steward this money in a way that best serves Tennesseans. 

Governor Bill Lee:

Thank you for joining us today to get the latest on our fight against COVID-19, and our effort to open up the economy once again, in Tennessee. Before we get started, I want to recognize a couple of groups in particular. Today's the last day of National Nurses Week, and we saluted the heroic efforts of these frontline workers with a national guard fly over today in multiple places around the state. We hope that you saw it. I want to commend our guardsman and airman for using their training routines as an opportunity to honor those who have served so courageously on the frontline.

Governor Bill Lee:

It's also National Police Week, and we want to acknowledge our police officers all across Tennessee. You put your lives on the line to protect Tennesseans every single day, and we're deeply grateful for that. For your compassion, for your courage, especially during this pandemic, when you've been called upon in new ways. So we honor you and we celebrate you, and we thank you today.

Governor Bill Lee:

During the brief today, I want to be sharing ... I will share more information by executive order number 36. I'll explain that our next steps for expanding testing in our state once again, and our next steps for a strategy and how best to steward the federal stimulus dollars that have come to us through the Cares Act.

Governor Bill Lee:

Today I'm signing executive order 36. It really is a continuation of previous efforts to help Tennesseans in the midst of a life that includes, and should include social distancing. So this order maintains extended deadlines like motor vehicle registrations, handgun carry permit, deadlines, it suspends inspection requirements, all in an effort to avoid unnecessary person to person contact. It also maintains increased opportunities for folks to work distantly and to work from home. It continues provisions to ensure that Tennesseans have expanded access to health care through telehealth opportunities. Should our case see an increase in COVID-19, it provides for the rapid expansion of healthcare workers by extending the lifting of regulations around what healthcare workers can do in the midst of a pandemic.

Governor Bill Lee:

Tennessee consumers, because of this executive order will continue to have supply chain and price gouging protections. It also gives you the ability to get 90 day prescriptions on some ... On certain prescriptions. So as we challenge, as we're challenged with moving through life over the next period of weeks, staying socially distant but engaging more and more in work and efforts outside of our homes, we've worked to minimize the regulatory burden on Tennesseans through that process. That's what this executive order will do is continue to lift those burdens through the next several weeks.

Governor Bill Lee:

In recent weeks, where we've made several announcements about our efforts to focus our COVID-19 testing efforts on vulnerable populations. We've done that in many places across the state. And we continue to do that. This week we're talking specifically about our efforts to expand testing in a greater way to people with developmental and intellectual disabilities. They often have underlying health conditions that make them more vulnerable to the complications of COVID-19. So the department, the State Department of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, or DIDD, is partnering together with the Department of Health to test more widely in our service delivery system, to include persons that receive services through DIDD who live in intermediate care facilities for people with intellectual disabilities and the employment and communities first choices program. The first testing opportunity will be this Friday at Scott County. DIDD will be using their mobile clinics in partnership with department nurses who have a special training with persons with disabilities, and we are estimating that there will be about 12,500 tests for this population over the coming weeks, and we're proud to be supporting this section of our population and this community within Tennessee. Commissioner Turner with Department of Intellectual Disabilities, developmental disabilities is here with us today to answer questions should anyone have any.

Governor Bill Lee:

Today we had our second meeting of our financial stimulus accountability group. It's a bipartisan effort to work together, to set a framework for how it is that we spend the federal stimulus and the federal relief dollars that are coming to Tennessee, specifically through the Cares Act. It's a bipartisan group, includes ... It's co-chaired by a Lieutenant Governor Randy McNally, Speaker Sexton, Senator Akbari, Senator Watson, Representative Love and Representative Marsh. Controller Wilson is on that team as well. And that team is working together to create this framework, as we have received the first tranche or the first portion of funding from the federal government.

Governor Bill Lee:

With that money comes a guidance from the federal government and that guidance changes. It's added to every few days. So as we gain additional guidance, then we'll make additional decisions about how this money is going to be spent. Our strategy is to set aside a portion of that funding to backfill revenue losses, should Congress give us the authority to do that. We also want to set aside funds to make sure we maintain our unemployment insurance trust fund, sufficient to provide unemployment employment benefits to the many Tennesseans who have found themselves without a job. We want to use this funding to have creative and innovative ways to give relief to business owners who are employing those Tennessee ends and who have been especially hit by the closures as a result of COVID-19.

Governor Bill Lee:

This and many other ways are responsible stewardship for the dollars that we've received from the federal government. And that is what this financial stimulus accountant building group has been set up to do. We met again today, we'll be meeting and working together in the weeks and months ahead as we navigate our way through the economic challenges that we have, and the relief that has come to us through the federal government.

Governor Bill Lee:

Let's move now to General Holmes, Department of Military head, our [inaudible] general. He will talk a little bit about the extended testing efforts that we have going across the state. General Holmes.

General Holmes:

Thank you, Governor. So as part of the Governor's strategic objective through the unified command group to provide testing for every Tennessean, free and voluntary testing for every Tennessean, we're working with the cities of Nashville, Memphis, Knoxville, and Chattanooga. Specifically with the housing authority and the local health department officials. And we're going to be working in each one of the cities, multiple locations, and we're providing basically support for local health departments in order to provide this testing stations. There'll be anywhere from five to 14 individual sites within each of the cities, and we'll be staffing that and supporting that with approximately six to eight national guardsmen.

General Holmes:

Additionally, the department of human services will be providing assistance with emergency cash assistance, childcare for essential workforce and supplemental nutrition assistance program and temporary assistance for needy families. So there'll be a number of stations set up alongside our facilities and the opportunities to gain information and apply for various programs. And I'll stand by for questions. Thank you.

Governor Bill Lee:

Thank you General Holmes. Dr Piercey, will come up and give a health report, please?

Dr. Piercey:

Thank you, sir. Good afternoon. Case count today is 16,111. While overall that's a 3.6% increase from yesterday, I do want to make note that both today's numbers and yesterday's numbers, both included ... About a half of the total were inmates. Was I think 270 yesterday and 267 today. And when you remove those contained populations, the community growth rate day over day was 1.9%, which is entirely consistent with previous trends.

Dr. Piercey:

Speaking of testing in prisons, we have completed most of that. I believe the last one is finishing up sample collection today. And as I just referenced, you're starting to see some of those results come in. We expect those results to come in through the rest of this week, and so it wouldn't surprise us, in fact, we will expect increased numbers from that. And so I don't want you to be taken aback by that. In addition to the larger outbreaks at Bledsoe and Trousdale that we've known about for a couple of weeks now, the two other facilities that have had higher numbers of cases are the Hardeman County Correctional facility with 151 inmates, and the Northwest Correctional facility at 333 inmates. That does not include staff. Those are inmate numbers only.

Dr. Piercey:

Shifting a little bit to contact tracing. I just want to remind everybody that that is one of our best public health prevention strategies. I realize that words like "surveillance", and "investigation", and "monitoring" are frightening words, but that's not what we're talking about. We're talking about identification, and then tracking to see who else is at risk. Like I said, this is something that we do all the time in public health. If you've ever been to a restaurant, or bought food off the grocery store shelf that may have been contaminated, contact tracing is part of that.

Dr. Piercey:

Same kind of thing if you find yourself in contact with somebody with a highly contagious disease like measles, you will be contacted by a contact tracer. This is just another public health prevention strategy that goes along with social distancing and hand hygiene. This is another way to prevent cases by identifying those that have been infected as well as those who may have been at risk.

Dr. Piercey:

Finally, I want to conclude with just an overview of our vulnerable population testing that we've talked about. Really focusing a lot of the month of May on that. We've just talked about prison testing, you know that we're doing a lot of nursing home testing. That's going on in the month of May, and will extend past that. But that's our expectation, is that long-term care facilities will be tested in May.

Dr. Piercey:

As the governor mentioned, the developmental and intellectual disabilities population, mental health population, and General Holmes talked about the urban housing population. But in all of the talk of vulnerable populations, I don't want people to lose sight of the fact that if you're an individual and don't fall in any of those categories, if you think you need a test, get a test. We offer testing at all health departments five days a week, free of charge.

Dr. Piercey:

I want to plant one other seed with you that you may not have thought about. It is highly possible that a lot of people might need to be retested at some time. I would encourage you to think about this more like a strep screen instead of an annual checkup. This is not a one and done. As we continue to deal with this virus you may find yourself, even if you tested positive or negative early in this course, several weeks or months down the road, if you're ill, or if you've come in contact with someone, it is perfectly acceptable and encouraged for you to be retested. So don't think it's a one and done. Make sure you go back and get tested if you have symptoms. I'll stand by for questions.

Governor Bill Lee:

Thank you, Dr. Piercey. We appreciate your comments on testing, and I just want to add to that. I think one of the reasons that we are in the position that we're in, there are a few reasons for that. One is that Tennesseans have done what they needed to do, and social distanced, and followed guidelines, and they continue to do that. By the way, I was out in rural counties, I'm beginning to get out just a little bit more as I said I would last week. Went out to Humphreys County, Perry County, Hickman County.

Governor Bill Lee:

Went and visited a couple of restaurants that had taken the Tennessee Pledge, and that were very proud that they had done so. They were serving Tennesseans in a way that was allowing the local economy to begin to reboot, but at the same time, taking care of their local citizens as well. I visited a manufacturing plant that has got to be a leader because of the way that they are taking care of their employees. They've actually been hiring through this process because they're a part of the food supply chain. It made me proud because I saw what I knew to be true, which is that Tennesseans are doing what they have to do.

Governor Bill Lee:

That is the reason we find ourselves in this situation, with a mitigation of the spread to the degree that we can begin to reboot our economy and move forward. We want to take those next steps. But part of that is also our understanding of where we are as a state. We have tested heavily in this state, and that is also part of the reason that we understand where we are, and we continue to take steps forward. We will only continue to test heavily in this state if folks will go out and get a test. So when in doubt, get a test, do your part, stay apart, and happy to answer questions.

Speaker 1:

Thank you, Governor. First, we'll go to Kim Crucey with the Associated Press. Kim, your line is open.

Kim Crucey:

Thank you. Hi governor.

Governor Bill Lee:

Hi Kim.

Kim Crucey:

Today, the state elections coordinator told us that just the fear of contracting the coronavirus doesn't meet the state's criteria to vote by mail due to illness in the state. I was curious if you agreed with that interpretation.

Governor Bill Lee:

I do agree with that. I think that what we want to do in this state is remove a reason to have fear about going to the polling booths. We have worked really, really hard to set up businesses in a way that people can feel safe to go into them, and we're going to do the same thing with our elections. I talked with the secretary of state. They have outlined a framework for that. They will be working over the coming months to make sure that we expand the places, the numbers and the places with which people can early vote, which will allow for less and less folks at a particular polling place at the same time. Personal protective equipment available, social distancing appropriately, so we want to make it safe for people to get out there and vote.

Kim Crucey:

Thank you.

Speaker 1:

Next, we'll go to Joel Ebert with The Tennessean. Joel, your line is open.

Joel Ebert:

Yeah. Governor, I just wanted to get your thoughts on the revenue collections today. Then secondly, what have you known about projections for the revenue shortfall for the upcoming fiscal year? I know last month you were on a phone call with Dr. Fox. There was a number mentioned of $1.5 billion shortfall. Have you heard any updated projections on that, and do you agree with that projection?

Governor Bill Lee:

Commissioner, would you like to speak to that just a bit? I'm going to have Butch Eley speak. I'll say generally, we saw the April collections today and the shortfall associated with that. So now we have a little more data that begins to paint a picture of what we think is going to happen in the future. That is changing. Every time we get a little more information or a little more data, we have a little more understanding of what we think the future holds.

Governor Bill Lee:

It's going to be very difficult. There's no doubt about that. The April numbers showed that. The budget shortfalls at this point, I mean the revenue shortfalls at this point, will be merely projections about what they will be. But I think, Joel, as you saw, April's numbers were disheartening, and we have a very difficult financial period ahead of us with which to make real hard decisions. Do you have anything you want to add to that?

Butch Eley:

Thank you, governor, and thanks, Joel, for that question. Certainly we are definitely beginning to see the impact of the COVID virus in Tennessee's revenues, as it was reported today in our April numbers. It's important to note that the April numbers that we are now getting in May were actually activity from March. As everyone knows, March is when we really began to see the impacts of what we were doing in state to try to contain this virus, and so it is not even a full month of what we have now seen as we continue to look at how we can contain by distancing and shutting down businesses as little as we can, but trying to be safe.

Butch Eley:

One of the important things to recognize, as you saw today, Joel, over the course of this month of April reporting, sales tax were down about 6%. Fortunately, up until that point, up until March, we were up 6% year-to-date before that, so that helps to offset the condition that we're in for this budget year we're in now. But certainly we have to keep in mind also, these numbers that were reported also have some extensions of collections that were due that we pushed off a month or two, and will show up in July. So some of that funding that we saw in collections that were so disheartening today, as the governor said, we hope to see coming back in July. I will, to put it in context, I think it's important to remember that only a little more than two months ago, the legislature was here and we were looking at passing a 40 point, $8 billion budget that was able to do a lot of things that the people of Tennessee wanted to do. And we worked very closely with the legislature in partnership before they went home to reduce that about 2% during that session around $800 million. And so we're in better shape now than we would have been. And we are certainly committed to ending this year, closing this year with a balanced budget.

Butch Eley:

And as we look forward to your question about forecast, now that the economist have the numbers that we reported today, they'll be working with us and looking at how that is going to move into next year. And we're certainly committed to making whatever changes we need to make, working with the legislature, and then looking in the year to come as to how we make those necessary changes. So we'll continue to be looking at that and we'll have more certainly before the legislature comes back June the first to be able to expound on this more. Thank you.

Joel Ebert:

Thank you.

Speaker 1:

Next we'll go to Sergio Martinez Beltran with WPLN. Sergio, your line is open.

Sergio Martinez Beltran:

Thank you. And good afternoon, [inaudible]. I have a few questions for you. The first one, has the state uncovered any evidence or any negligence around [inaudible] that allowed for so many people in prisons to test [inaudible]?

Governor Bill Lee:

Could you repeat that, Sergio? Has the state uncovered what?

Sergio Martinez Beltran:

Any evidence of negligence or wrongdoing that allowed for so many people in prison to test positive?

Governor Bill Lee:

Not that I'm aware of. I'm not aware of any evidence of wrongdoing.

Sergio Martinez Beltran:

And my second question is, does the state plan to investigate pandemic preparation and response of the Department of Correction and its private contractors?

Governor Bill Lee:

Could you repeat that again?

Sergio Martinez Beltran:

Yes. Can you hear me, Governor?

Governor Bill Lee:

I can, but it's kind of garbled and that's why you have to keep repeating. I'm sorry, Sergio.

Sergio Martinez Beltran:

No, don't worry about it. Sorry. I was wondering if the state is planning to investigate the pandemic preparation and response of the Department of Correction and its private contractors?

Governor Bill Lee:

Are we going to investigate the response? I think we... Dr. Piercey, you want to make a comment? There are protocols that were clearly in place. Our understanding is that those protocols have been followed in every one of our prisons. We had a strategy. We actually sped that process up. And as you know, we're mass testing every prisoner, probably maybe the first state in the country to do so because of our concern for those that were incarcerated. But as far as those protocols, we know they're in place. As far as additional investigation of that, I'm not aware of anything, but Dr. Piercey may have a comment.

Dr. Piercey:

Yeah. I don't have a whole lot more to add, Sergio, other than we began working with Commissioner Parker and the Department of Corrections very, very early in this response. Perhaps, even as far back as January. To every letter of the law, they have followed CDC guidelines as well as Department of Health Guidelines. And they have transitioned their protocols over time, just as we all have. I will remind you that, like in several settings, we've talked about this in nursing homes before, oftentimes it's the staff coming in and out. And oftentimes they don't know that they're ill.

Dr. Piercey:

And the line that I've used with nursing homes applies to Corrections too. You can do everything right and still have this virus get into the facility. The good news is a couple of points here that as we've talked, a large percentage of the inmates are asymptomatic and they're well, which is a good thing. And remarkably, there has been a very low hospitalization rate. Out of about 2,500 inmates, I believe only seven are currently hospitalized or have been hospitalized. We have had a couple of deaths, unfortunately, in older individuals with preexisting conditions, but we have not uncovered anything that was nefarious or negligent. And it's just one of the things that we're doing to not only go from a response to more proactivity in testing all, as the governor mentioned.

Sergio Martinez Beltran:

Thank you. [inaudible] just quickly before you go. I have a question about reporting. The state knows the number, for example, of the types of employees who had tested positive for Coronavirus. There was a news report from his local paper that said that the state study only tried to keep us by County, but not [inaudible]. I'm wondering how are you monitoring outbreaks [inaudible] work activities around the state? And will you start releasing numbers as people start going back to work?

Dr. Piercey:

Yeah, that's a fair question. I think we talked about it a few minutes ago in contact tracing. We are in touch with every positive case in Tennessee, whether that is in a home or in a school or a workplace or a community center or prison, nursing home, every single case we do contact tracing on. And so when we get outside of these contained populations that we've talked about into private business, we leave it up to the business or the person themselves if they want to disclose that. Again, we are staunch advocates for patients and we want them to be able to disclose that if they want to do that. So I want to reassure you that we're in touch with those folks in the Tyson facility, but that outside of contained populations we leave that up to the individual contact tracers.

Sergio Martinez Beltran:

Thank you.

Speaker 1:

Next, we'll go to Andy Sher with the Times Free Press. Andy, your line is open.

Andy Sher:

Thank you. Governor, there were reports, news accounts that Georgia is already seeing a surge in patients from its reopening and is approaching hospital capacity. My questions are you worried that, that will happen in Tennessee since we followed them? And what exactly would it take for you to reimpose measures, such as, closing retail and restaurant dining and those types of activities? This is the trigger point.

Governor Bill Lee:

Yeah. Thank you, Andy. I think decisions about what's going to happen going forward will be made much in the same way that decisions were made to this point. And that is to follow information and data. There are a lot of things that we will watch in the days ahead. Not only number of cases, but positivity rates, numbers recovered. One of the most important metrics are the number of beds available and the number of ventilators used, the number of ICU beds. And those may even diminish in part because of the increase of elective procedures, which can quickly be dialed back as well to provide additional capacity.

Governor Bill Lee:

This next week, I will be attending the opening of, and the handing over of the alternative care facility that we have in Memphis that provides 400 new beds there. And we're looking at those types of facilities across the state. So there are a number of things that we will follow as the weeks unfold ahead that will give us information about what steps to take. You might have an increase in cases in one county. It might come across a multitude of counties and the decisions you might make according as a result of that information would be vastly different. So we'll just follow the information to make decisions accordingly.

Andy Sher:

Thank you.

Governor Bill Lee:

Yes, sir.

Speaker 1:

Next, we'll go to Sam Stockard with The Daily Memphian. Sam, your line is open.

Sam Stockard:

Yes, Governor, on the policy allowing the state health department to share information about COVID positive patients with law enforcement, you have a mixture of conservative legislators, the Black Caucus, and ACLU calling for a change in this policy. Is this causing you to rethink the policy?

Governor Bill Lee:

Well, all along the policy was a temporary one. So we know that. The only decision we have is when to suspend it. In the midst of imminent danger, as was part of the unknown of COVID four or five, six weeks ago, the unknown allowed for, and required for, decisions to be made that we knew would be temporary. For example, our border, or the lifting of regulations around healthcare workers, or the information of who's COVID to protect our first responders. But as this changes, and we knew it would change, we certainly hoped it would, and it has, personal protective equipment that has become more readily available to provide for the protection of first responders allows us to consider that temporary decision being changed, and we will do so, and we'll be making date decisions about that in the coming days.

Sam Stockard:

And why did you not alert the public to this ID policy? You've made quite a few announcements. Why not make an announcement on that?

Governor Bill Lee:

We actually sent a letter to the legislature telling them about the release of information for the 911 responders, because they in fact were dispatchers for many of those first responders. That was the first notification, and there was some expansion of that to accommodate first responders that weren't dispatched by 911, but that's how that developed.

Sam Stockard:

When was that? When did you release that to the legislators?

Governor Bill Lee:

I think that was a month ago, five weeks ago, something like that.

Sam Stockard:

Okay. And considering the rate of asymptomatic people, though, and the small percentage of Tennesseans who've been tested, I mean, is this policy working?

Governor Bill Lee:

What's most important is the safety of those first responders, and so we want to have a policy in place that works. Where we need to go is to protect the information, but replace the safety for those first responders with PPE, which we now have much greater access to, supply chain is much more robust, and we're developing the strategy to make sure that our first responders have access to that protection. That's the ultimate goal here, protect Tennesseans, whether it be a first responder, and we also want to protect the privacy of folks, and so we're moving that direction.

Sam Stockard:

Thank you.

Speaker 1:

Next we'll go to Chris Davis with News Channel 5. Chris, your line is open.

Chris Davis:

Good afternoon. General Holmes, you mentioned the National Guard mobile testing in Nashville and other big cities. I just want to be clear, is this supplemental to the community assessment centers already in Davidson County, and could you describe how those mobile testing centers will work and how soon they would go into place?

Speaker 1:

General Holmes?

General Holmes:

Yes, sir. So these are supplemental. So these sites are self-sustaining. They're usually set up under a portico or tentage or things like that. It's actually a fairly small footprint. They're very similar to our drive-up testing sites. Obviously we don't need the space that we would for a drive-up testing site.

General Holmes:

So there's been a number of tents. Department of Human Services will have tents and chairs and tables there to fill out paperwork and things of that nature. So that's the plan. It's a very coordinated. Each of the sites are unique, into the either condensed housing or separate individual housing units and things of that nature.

General Holmes:

So our goal is to set up in a common area, typically easy access for the residents, and then promote that. Obviously we want all the residents to feel free to come out and get tested. So we want to make it as convenient as possible, and the weather, inclement weather, we'll have inclement weather plans, so we possibly could move indoors to either a community room or some structure like that to protect from the weather. Thank you.

Chris Davis:

Thank you, sir.

Speaker 1:

Next we'll go to Chris Bundgaard with WKRN. Chris, your line is open.

Chris Bundgaard:

Hello, Governor. There's been a lot of talk as Tennessee opens up, a lot of talk and pictures on various media platforms that some or a lot, depending who you're talking to, listening to, are not practicing social distancing and don't want to. Is this concerning to you, and do you have any data on it as to how people are doing with social distancing?

Governor Bill Lee:

Yeah, anytime you hear about a violator or a bad actor, it's certainly concerning, and we know that by and far, for the most part, Tennesseans are responding. They have been for months now. That's why we're in the position that we're in. We've seen that continue for the most part. But as we've said before, there are those who decided not to, and as you know, oftentimes that corrects itself with public recognition of those who don't respond.

Governor Bill Lee:

There's a pretty strong desire in the general public for safety in this society, and there's a pretty clear awareness of Tennesseans that their pretty clear awareness of what unsafe behavior is. As you may have seen, for example, on social media, you'll also see really the reaching out of people to make sure that those businesses who are bad actors are pointed out.

Governor Bill Lee:

I think that we're very encouraged with the direction that businesses are taking, the numbers of businesses that are taking the Tennessee Pledge, the way Tennesseans are complying. We're very encouraged by that. We continue to watch it, and we'll certainly make corrections if need be, but as of now, we're pretty pleased.

Chris Bundgaard:

And what about any data on it? Before, there's been the cell phone data that's been talked about at some levels, people moving around, any updates on that?

Governor Bill Lee:

Well, we clearly know people are moving around more, but we expect them to. Businesses are open again, in a different way, they're open in a new way. It's not business as usual and it can't be, but there is a movement of folks. There is an opening of business. There is an expansion of opportunity for people to be about the things that they need to be about, and so we see that. We see that in data, and we would expect to see it.

Governor Bill Lee:

What's most important for us-

Chris Bundgaard:

Thank you, Governor.

Governor Bill Lee:

What's most important for us, Chris, is, as we see that movement, and as we watch all of that change, what happens to the critical data points that we talked about earlier, hospitalizations, positivity rates. The types of things that are going to be most important for us in fighting COVID-19 going forward, those are the things that we want to track as well.

Chris Bundgaard:

Thank you, Governor.

Speaker 1:

That's all the time we have today, Governor, for questions, if you'd like to make a closing statement.

Governor Bill Lee:

I just want to thank Tennesseans again, as I do at the end of most of these, for doing what you're doing. We actually talked today about those of you who are following the Tennessee Pledge. If you don't know what it is, look it up. If you walk into a business, you ought to ask them if they've looked up and responded to the Tennessee Pledge. It's an individual responsibility that Tennesseans are taking, and I'm proud of the way they're doing it.

Governor Bill Lee:

It gives me great hope. It should give you great hope that we can, in fact, protect one another, and protect our citizens, and provide for the health and safety of Tennesseans, while at the same time we begin to move this state's economy forward in a way that will help those that are struggling, that are unemployed, that are in particular need right now, economically.

Governor Bill Lee:

So I believe we can do that. I have a great deal of hope for it, and I hope that you do as well. Do your part and stay apart.