Ballad Health CEO addresses claims of overreacting to COVID-19 threat

Local Coronavirus Coverage

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (WJHL) — Ballad Health says the lack of confirmed COVID-19 coronavirus cases in our region is not because of a lack of screening and testing.

So far, the only case confirmed in our area is one in Sullivan County.

Alan Levine, president and CEO of Ballad Health, told News Channel 11’s Josh Smith that he credits the sacrifices being made by the people of this region…even though some are calling it an overreaction.

“This is serious,” Levine said. “If it wasn’t this serious people would not be asked to do all of this.”

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However, he does admit that the response to the virus is having a significant impact — devastating drops in sales for some local businesses and disrupted everyday life at all levels.

“It…well, I don’t know how else to say it. It sucks. But it is what it is,” Levine said. “And if we want to protect the people we love, we have to do what we have to do to protect the people we love.”

For a region with only one confirmed case, at the same time dealing with closed churches, shut down schools, and empty stores, some question if the response hasn’t been overblown.

“I think if we look back and say we over-reacted… then we were successful,” Levine said.

“Taking steps to stop a virus that no one has an immunity to. You can’t overreact to that,” he added. “What you don’t want to do is look back in 90 days and say look at all those people we lost – why don’t we do something about it.”

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