(The Center Square) – One person in Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee’s office has tested positive for COVID-19, Lee confirmed during a news conference Monday.
Lee, who does not plan on getting tested for coronavirus, said he had very limited exposure to the staff member and hasn’t had any symptoms of the respiratory disease.
The governor said he is confident about his situation and is taking serious steps to protect everyone. For example, the governor streamed his news conference online Monday, rather than having the press attend in person.
Another member of the governor’s staff tested negative for coronavirus.
Tennessee has 615 confirmed COVID-19 cases, including two deaths. The country has more than 43,000 confirmed cases, including at least 530 deaths.
COVID-19 is a respiratory disease caused by a novel coronavirus. Symptoms appear within two to 14 days after exposure and include fever, cough, runny nose and difficulty breathing.
Most people who have it develop only mild symptoms. But some people, usually the elderly and those with other medical complications, develop more severe symptoms, including pneumonia, which can be fatal.
During Monday's news conference, Lee also announced he signed Executive Order 18, which prohibits outpatient surgery centers from performing elective surgery and prevents dentists and dental clinics from providing nonemergency dental services until April 13. The executive order requests these institutions donate personal protective equipment to the nearest national guard armory to be used for coronavirus patients.
“In effect, what we’re doing is closing down outpatient surgery centers and dental clinics for a temporary time to provide personal protective equipment that is stored in those facilities or that are a part of those facilities for the greater health care use for COVID-19,” Lee said.
Lee said this order also will free up ventilators that can be adapted for use on COVID-19 patients.