Gov. Bill Lee was in Washington Thursday afternoon to share his new plan to test all Tennessee nursing home residents and employees for COVID-19 with President Donald Trump.
At a White House briefing about protecting senior citizens during the pandemic, Lee said the state needed to help elderly Tennesseans, who have been especially “hard-pressed.”
“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. And those that have a loving legacy of being our neighbors, our friends and our grandparents,” Lee said. “It’s time for us to protect them.”
Lee said people also need to protect older residents through social distancing, adding that he hadn’t hugged his own mother in eight weeks.
The governor announced his plans to help test all 70,000 of the state’s nursing home residents earlier this week. Nearly 500 residents have tested positive for the coronavirus and 44 have died.
After Lee spoke, President Trump proclaimed May will be “Older Americans Month.” The announcement comes amid polls finding that seniors — who historically have high turnout rates— have been leaning in recent weeks toward the presumed Democratic nominee, former Vice President Joe Biden.