Lawmaker calls for contact tracing plan in Nashville

Posted at 5:39 PM, Apr 14, 2020

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — The state's top democrat in the house side of the legislature is calling for Governor Bill Lee to implement a plan for contact tracing to combat the spread of COVID-19.

Nashville Democratic Representative Mike Stewart is asking the governor to hire healthcare staff, or give local governments the funds to hire new workers to carefully track who has been in contact with those who have coronavirus.

"I've been hearing from medical providers who are talking to people who have been told two or three weeks after the fact that they have been exposed to people with COVID-19," said Stewart. "Two or three weeks, that's enough time for them to infect multiple other people. That's just too slow. It shows that we are not doing enough to track this disease."

Stewart, who is generally critical of TN's republican super majority, said he believes the governor's stay at home order is having a positive effect of containing the spread of the virus.

He said it would be possible to contain the spread and start to reopen parts of the economy starting in May, but only if the right system is in place to track COVID-19.

"The problem is, we don't have the personnel in place to handle a huge crisis like COVID-19," he said. "So, the state needs to hire 100s if not 1000s of people to assist with this process or provide local governments the money to do it. The point is, our current systems are just not enough to keep track of a disease of this magnitude."