Tennessee’s COVID state of emergency ends FridayNovember 22, 2021
After spending 20 months in a COVID-19 state of emergency, Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee announced the emergency declaration that expires Friday will not continue.
“I am not renewing the COVID-19 state of emergency that expires tonight,” Lee said Friday in a news release. “For almost 20 months, this tool has provided deregulation and operational flexibility for hospitals and industries most affected by COVID’s challenges.
“Should our state face any future surges, we will consider temporarily reinstating this tool, but in the meantime, we are evaluating opportunities for permanent deregulation,” Lee said.
The state of emergency allowed for 21 different stipulations to help medical providers through the COVID-19 pandemic, including allowing out-of-state health care providers to practice in Tennessee, retired medical providers to re-enter the workforce and practical nursing graduates to practice under supervision without taking an exam.
The emergency order allowed for National Guard and State Guard members to conduct some health care and emergency services operations. It also suspended certain certificate of need (CON) regulations, such as restrictions on hospital beds available to treat COVID-19 patients.
COVID-19 testing was allowed to be conducted at more medical facilities; medical laboratory staff was able to work remotely; inspections of health care, mental health and substance abuse facilities were suspended and quarantine/isolation facilities were allowed to be constructed.
“Appreciate [Lee’s] steady leadership [and] agree it’s time to end the state of emergency,” House Speaker Cameron Sexton tweeted. “[Tennessee] was one of the first to successfully reopen, [and] we remain a national economic leader. Look forward to working [with] the [governor], @[Lt. Gov. Randy McNally], [and the] General Assembly, so [Tennessee] continues to lead!”
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