Gov. Lee preparing Chattanooga for the Covid-19 Surge


CHATTANOOGA (WDEF) – Governor Bill Lee is in Chattanooga on Friday to talk to local leaders about Covid-19 testing and building for the surge of cases coming in three weeks.

The Governor said Tennessee is one of the leaders in the southeast for testing per capita.

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But he acknowledged that Hamilton County needs more.

“We talked specifically about that today on how we can better coordinate testing.”

Gov. Lee says we have a limited supply of tests and not everyone who wants one can get one right now.

But he expects Tennessee and and Hamilton County to do better in the coming days.

The state is now trying to create 7000 new hospital beds to deal with the Covid-19 surge.

And that will include putting 350 beds in the Chattanooga Convention Center.

They have signed a contract to do the necessary work, but the beds will not be made available until they are needed.

The Convention Center will be used for Covid-19 patients who require minimal care.  They would be transferred there from local hospitals.

Another challenge is finding the healthcare workers to staff the facility.

Governor Lee has taken several actions to recruit new workers.

The state is easing license restrictions, to allow workers to do more procedures than they were permitted before.

And the Department of Health is aggressively recruiting people who have medical backgrounds, either in Tennessee or outside.

“We need healthcare workers.”