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Tennessee Orders Residents To Remain Home

Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee, right, answers questions concerning the state's response to the coronavirus Monday, March 16, 2020, in Nashville, Tenn.
Mark Humphrey
/
AP
Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee, right, answers questions concerning the state's response to the coronavirus Monday, March 16, 2020, in Nashville, Tenn.

Amid mounting pressure from medical professionals and local leaders, Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee has ordered residents to stay home unless it's essential.

Lee said during a coronavirus press briefing Thursday afternoon that he decided to issue a new executive order after data revealed that movement around the state has been on the rise in recent days, even after he issued a less strict "Safer at Home" order last month.

The governor said he expects April to be particularly tough for people in Tennessee. Estimates by the University of Washington suggest, if current trends continue, COVID-19 cases will peak in Tennessee on April 19, leading to a shortage of more than 7,800 hospital beds.

"We must take this seriously. We must stay at home. We must work together, and that is a critically important message that I would have for every Tennessean," Lee said. "We have made an additional effort today to require that, and that's important in an effort to save lives right here in Tennessee."

The announcement comes after multiple high-profile leaders have criticized Lee for waiting to issue a shelter-in-place order, including former U.S. Sen. Bill Frist and Gov. Andy Beshear in neighboring Kentucky.

Copyright 2020 WPLN News

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Samantha Max covers criminal justice for WPLN and joins the newroom through the Report for America program. This is her second year with Report for America: She spent her first year in Macon, Ga., covering health and inequity for The Telegraph and macon.com.