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Gov. Lee signs executive order to help hospitals, health care workers respond to COVID resurgence

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Posted at 4:49 PM, Aug 06, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-06 17:58:57-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Governor Bill Lee signed an executive order reinstating regulatory flexibilities for Tennessee hospitals that are responding to the recent surge in COVID-19 cases.

Executive order No. 83 eases several regulations and/or restrictions on hospitals and medical professionals, in order to make it easier for them to treat COVID-19 patients.

It outlines 21 actions that can be taken including the following:

  • Out-of-state health care providers to practice in Tennessee
  • Retired medical professionals can easily reenter the health care workforce
  • Practical nursing graduates may practice under supervision without examination
  • Medical professional staffing flexibility is permitted pursuant to an approved plan to relieve capacity strain
  • Discretion to utilize National Guard and State Guard members in connection with certain health care and emergency services

See the full order here.

COVID-19 SURGES IN TENNESSEE

In recent weeks, Tennessee has started to see a sharp uptick of new cases, the vast majority of which are among the unvaccinated. Tennessee Dept. of Health Commissioner Lisa Piercey said more than 93% of all active cases, 95% of new deaths and 90% of current hospitalizations are unvaccinated individuals.

Just in the last week, Tennessee saw a 204% increase in new cases. The seven-day average of daily new cases is 1,871 and the state is seeing a 13% positivity rate of COVID-19 tests. Piercey said similar to the rest of the United States, Tennessee's new cases are mostly the delta variant, at more than 80%.

The vaccine uptake statewide is up 22% from the week prior and 94 out of the state's 95 counties recorded an increase in new vaccinations.

At VUMC, more than 90% of the COVID-19 patients in the medical intensive care unit are unvaccinated. Williamson Medical Center (WMC) reported a significant increase of COVID-19 patients with a 633% increase over the past three weeks.