Tennessee bill would outline framework for future pandemics

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Posted at 8:40 AM, Apr 26, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-26 09:40:01-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — A bill in the state House is focusing on changing how a future pandemic would be handled in Tennessee.

Right now, under current Tennessee law, the commissioner of health and health officers have a lot of power in terms of declaring a quarantine and the closure of facilities.

This bill, HB 0370, would bring more people into the fold. For example, after the governor declares a state of emergency, the department of health would have to form a committee to advise them on how and when to implement quarantine and disease tracking procedures.

It would bring in different officials to the table, like the governor and both speakers. It also would mandate reporting very specific case counts and tests done at least weekly to the department’s website – including asymptomatic and symptomatic cases, as well as the number of cases detected with each type of test.

The Department of Health says this would help build some framework. When asked if the law was practical, the department said it’s hard to say because you don’t know when the next pandemic will be but said they would be happy to do the best they can.