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

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.


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.