Tennessee's long-term care facilities complete required COVID-19 testing

Updates on hospital capacity, contact tracing
Posted at 7:13 PM, Jun 18, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-18 20:13:48-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Governor Bill Lee's Unified Command Group announced Thursday that nearly all of Tennessee's 700 long-term care facilities have completed the required COVID-19 testing of residents and staff.

According to the Tennessee Department of Health (TDH), 690 facilities responded to a TDH survey in May, reporting their intent to test staff and residents. Of those facilities, 667 have completed the testing so far.

TDH rules set on May 26 required each long-term care facility in Tennessee to respond to the intent-to-test survey before June 1, and to complete the testing by June 30.

"We all know long-term care residents are the most vulnerable population to COVID-19, and protecting their health and safety is one of our top priorities in fighting this virus," said Gov. Lee. "That starts with testing all residents and staff to mitigate the spread of the disease within facilities."

In addition to the update on long-term care facilities, the Unified Command Group says they're monitoring increases in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations in certain regions of Tennessee as more businesses begin to reopen.

COVID-19 hospitalizations have gradually climbed since things began reopening. COVID-19 cases represent four percent of hospitalized patients in Tennessee, occupying around 400 hospital beds.

Contact tracing efforts by TDH also continue. 640 staff members are performing contact tracing statewide. An additional 650 contact tracers are being recruited and trained for TDH's central, local and regional health offices.

Unified Command Group asks all Tennesseans to continue to do their part to prevent COVID-19 spread by wearing a mask in public, observing social distancing, washing hands frequently and minimizing trips and contact with others in general.