Gov. Lee announces limited visitation for nursing homes

JACKSON, Tenn. — Gov. Bill Lee provided an update on the novel coronavirus in Tennessee and announced a reopening.

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“It’s created a tremendous hardship for those residents and for their family members because they’ve been unable to visit,” Gov. Lee said. ” I signed an executive order that will allow these facilities to again open their doors to visitors starting on Monday, June 15.”

Wednesday, Gov. Lee announced the upcoming reopening of nursing homes and long term care facilities for limited visitation.

Each facility that wants to reopen must meet certain requirements.

“They will be located in counties with lower disease burdens. They have to agree to meet the prerequisites that are defined by our guidance and agree to the restrictions and screening protocols of those that come to visit,” Health Commissioner Dr. Lisa Piercey said.

Also, starting no later than July 1, these facilities must test their staff weekly moving forward.

Before you go visit your parents or grandparents, you’ll have to schedule it, go through a screening and wear a mask. There are three ways to visit.

You can visit outdoors, indoor and outdoor with a visitation booth or protective barrier, or in the resident’s room if you produce a negative test for COVID-19 72 hours before the visit.

“While we want to provide the opportunity for visitation and for families to once again reconnect with their loved ones in long term care facilities, we can’t ignore the fact that these are our most vulnerable citizens,” Gov. Lee said.

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He also discussed the importance of conversation and informed decision making in response to George Floyd’s death and the following protests.

“It’s really important that we have more dialogue, and not less,” Gov Lee said. “And often we’re so quick to draw lines and choose sides. Dialogue stops when that happens.”

Gov. Lee also added to the debate about removing a bust of Nathan Bedford Forrest from the Capitol building.

“I would sit down with those who advocate keeping it. I would sit down with those who advocate getting rid of it. I would consider my own experiences and opinion about it that should be formed and shaped by that dialogue going forward,” Gov. Lee said.

Dr. Kimberly Lamar with the Tennessee Department of Health also discussed the pandemic’s impacts on minority communities across the state.

Categories: COVID-19 Updates, Local News, News