After dozens of outbreaks around the state, Tennessee nursing homes will soon have access to widespread testing.
Gov. Bill Lee says in the coming weeks the state plans to have testing for all 70,000 residents in Tennessee’s long-term care facilities, as well as staff.
“We’re always concerned,” he says. “We’re most concerned in fact about our most vulnerable population, and that is the elderly, which is why we have announced even today this strategy to do testing in every single of our 700 long term care facilities across the state.”
The state will provide testing materials, including swabs, protective gear and extra support staff as needed.
Lee says so far, they’ve only partnered with Murfreesboro-based National Healthcare Corporation, which has 38 facilities in the state. Four of those are expected to have completed testing by the end of this week.
Health Commissioner Lisa Piercey said the state hopes to work with more care providers in the coming weeks.
“We realize that this is a huge undertaking with significant implications for our long-term care partners,” she said.
Meanwhile, another major residential system won’t be seeing the same widespread testing. Tennessee’s prisons will continue to be tested in what Piercey calls a tiered approach. That means the amount of testing scales up with the amount of spread or instances of community transmission.