Coronavirus COVID-19

Middle Tennessee mayors and thousands of regional medical professionals have publicly urged Gov. Bill Lee to issue a state-wide shelter in place or “stay at home” directive to combat the growing cases of COVID-19 across the region and the state.

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, also known as the Coronavirus, has shut down operations across the county and was the reasoning behind Gov. Bill Lee’s declaration of a state of emergency on March 12. 

Brentwood, Franklin and Nolensville governments all issued individual states of emergencies over the weekend, and on Sunday Gov. Bill Lee ordered the state-wide closure of all dine-in restaurants, bars and workout facilities until April 6.  

The governor’s order prohibits social gatherings of more than 10 people and prohibits nonessential visitations to nursing homes and retirement communities, but falls short of the recommendation of the medical professionals and government leaders that was issued the day before on Saturday, March 21. 

“We are proud of the selfless response of many local elected and business leaders across our State, but we must also emphasize that our ability to manage the pandemic at the local level is limited and varied. Moreover, while some businesses have taken swift and decisive action, others need more guidance in order to feel confident in making the necessary, but tough decisions about their operations,” the letter reads adding, “We feel strongly that the quickest path to recovery is a uniform response to this challenge.”

According to the letter, groups representing 6,000 physicians and medical professionals across Middle Tennessee are in support of the measure in the name of public health.

The letter is signed by Franklin Mayor Ken Moore who also serves as the Mayors Caucus Chair, which according to the Greater Nashville Regional Council, advocates for public policies beneficial to individual cities and counties, and the region as a whole.

A letter signed by various medical professionals dated March 20 was also written to Gov. Lee that urges him to institute a state-wide shelter in place order,  adding that they see little time left to “flatten the curve” of the virus. 

“We request that effective midnight Sunday, March 22 that Tennessee declare a shelter in place for 14 days with only essential personnel being deployed during this emergency. We also request a self-quarantine of 14 days for all individuals returning from international and domestic travel,” the letter reads.  

This letter was signed by the following medical professionals:

  • Aaron Milstone,MD,FCCP, Pulmonology & Critical Care
  • Tufik Assad, MD, Pulmonology & Critical Care
  • Devin Sherman, MD, FCCP Pulmonology & Critical Care
  • Laura Hunt, MD, FCCP Pulmonology & Critical Care
  • David Aronoff, MD, Division Chair Vanderbilt Infectious Disease
  • Richard Lane Past Governor of the Tennessee Chapter of the American College of Physicians
  • K Michael Smith President Elect of the Tennessee Medical Association
  • Elise Denneny, MD Governor of the Tennessee Medical Association
  • Tracey Doering, MD, President of the American College of Physicians
  • Adele Maurer Lewis, MD, Medical Examiner for the State of Tennessee
  • 600 Concerned Physicians from the State of Tennessee

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