Lee: ‘Encouraging signs’ for economy as COVID-19 cases rise


TENNESSEE (WJHL) In a COVID-19 press conference update, Governor Bill Lee announced Tennessee was ranked number one in the country for economic recovery, Tuesday morning.

The governor, alongside Tennessee Department of Health Commissioner, Dr. Lisa Piercey also touched on topics like helping small business owners amid the COVID-19 pandemic and acknowledging community spread.

Governor Lee said Tennessee had its largest single day increase of COVID-19 cases last week. However, Tennessee health officials said hospitalizations and deaths remain stable, even as case counts increase.

Over the last 2 weeks in Tennessee, the average daily new case count for COVID-19 is 615.

“We had our largest single day of COVID-19 cases in this past week and we are closely watching those numbers,” Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee said.

Now, Tennesse health officials are watching trends and health care capacity.

“Currently, COVID patients represent 4.9% of all hospitalized patients statewide.//Our hospital capacity, therefore remains quite stable. As of this morning, 24% of our inpatient beds were available. 25% of our ICU beds were available and 75% of our ventilators were available,” the Tennessee Department of Health commissioner Dr. Lisa Piercey said.

At the peak of the pandemic, cases were increasing as patients were infected by people they knew. Doctor Lisa Piercey said there is concern about community spread.

“Now, exactly 50% of cases are from an unknown source,” Dr. Lisa Piercey said. “That’s not suprising because as people are moving about in the community, they come in contact with people that are sick that they’re unaware of.”

Governor Lee said things are looking positive for the Tennessee economy and that citizens should continue to social distance, wear masks and stay home if they are sick.

“Tennessee is ranked number one in the country for recovery to a restaurant and hotel spending. We have the second highest recovery in apparel and general merchandise spending,” Governor Lee said.

Governor Lee wants to remind business owners that their information must be up to date to qualify for the tennessee business relief program, even if they do not plan to apply for it.

He said distributions from the $200 million stimulus package should be distributed in early July.

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