NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WJHL) — Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee is asking community institutions across the state to set up temporary childcare facilities to ensure that children are being taken care of amid the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic. He also announced support for existing childcare facilities.
Gov. Lee on Wednesday encouraged churches, gyms, non-profits, and similar community organizations to open up emergency childcare facilities. Organizations wanting to offer childcare services must submit a request with the Tennessee Department of Human Services.
The governor’s request comes as some existing childcare facilities are having trouble staying open because of a lack of access to cleaning supplies and other issues.
And with schools closed across the state, there is a greater demand for childcare services.
Lee said the state’s Department of Human Services has deployed $10 million in emergency grants to assist childcare facilities. The department is also reaching out to each facility in the state to help them secure needed cleaning supplies. Facilities struggling to obtain supplies are encouraged to contact the Department of Human Services.
The governor also announced measures to help uninsured Tennesseans. He has asked the director of TennCare, the state’s Medicaid program, to submit a request to the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to allow Medicare dollars to be used for helping those without health insurance.
The Department of Human Services also announced Wednesday that it is making financial resources available to families that have been impacted by the coronavirus. Emergency cash assistance applications will be accepted starting Thursday morning.
Lee said the Centers for Disease Control has pledged $10 million to states for costs associated with battling the coronavirus. The governor said it will spend its portion of the funds on expanding COVID-19 testing in the state.
At Wednesday’s briefing, Maj. Gen. Jeffrey Holmes with the Tennessee National Guard said about 250 soldiers have been mobilized and will be deployed to areas of responsibility. The governor announced Tuesday that soldiers will be deployed to assist at coronavirus assessment sites in rural areas.
Holmes reiterated that the National Guard’s deployment is a humanitarian mission, not a law enforcement mission.