WASHINGTON, DC (NEXSTAR) — Tennessee Governor Bill Lee was the only state elected official to join President Trump, administration officials, and advocates for seniors at the White House Thursday to announce new measures to keep this vulnerable population safe during the coronavirus crisis.
“It’s time for us to protect them,” Lee said during the briefing.
Thousands of COVID-19 deaths have been reported at long-term care facilities across the U.S.
According to Lee’s website, there have been hundreds of cases and dozens of deaths at nursing homes in Tennessee. Because of that, Lee has committed to testing every resident and staff member in every one of the state’s 700-plus facilities.
“It’ll be a great undertaking, but it honors the value of these lives in those facilities, lives that have protected our country in the hardest of times, the greatest generation,” Lee said.
Lee’s efforts will help track coronavirus cases across the country more accurately. They go hand in hand with the Trump administration’s new requirements that all long-term care facilities report their cases to the CDC every week, which will be posted for the public.
“This rule also requires nursing homes to report cases to residents and their family members,” President Trump said.
President Trump had an announcement of his own Thursday: a coronavirus commission, including doctors, patient advocates, and state and local authorities, that will issue further safety recommendations for the facilities next month.
“To ensure that our nursing homes are prepared for any future outbreaks,” he said.
President Trump said his administration will also send more personal protective equipment to the facilities and ramp up inspections as states like Tennessee continue to reopen.
“While as a country we may be hard-pressed on many sides, we are not crushed,” Lee said.