NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) -- Tennessee Governor Bill Lee signed an executive order issuing an emergency declaration enabling the state to better prepare for responding to the coronavirus outbreak.

At Lee’s press conference Thursday morning, he said “We know that this is serious, we know that this is especially serious for our neighbors who are elderly.”

The segment of the population who is most vulnerable to COVID-19 are older adults, and adults with underlying health issues such as diabetes, heart disease, and respiratory illness.

Lee advised residents in the vulnerable population to stay home, if possible, and make every effort to avoid large gatherings or places where they could be at risk for contracting the virus.

Thursday morning Lee signed Executive Order 14, which declares a state of emergency to facilitate the treatment and containment of COVID-19.

To achieve these goals, the order:

  • Implements the Tennessee Emergency Management Plan;
  • Permits health care professionals licensed in other states to provide health care services in Tennessee related to COVID-19;
  • Allows pharmacists to dispense an extra 30-day supply of maintenance prescriptions as needed in response to COVID-19;
  • Allows health care professionals to provide localized treatment to patients in temporary residences;
  • Expands testing sites for COVID-19;
  • Allows the construction of temporary health care structures in response to COVID-19;
  • Implements price gouging protections on medical and emergency supplies;
  • Suspends restrictions on vehicles transporting emergency supplies to areas affected by COVID-19;
  • Permits the waiver of certain regulations on childcare centers as needed to respond to the effect of COVID-19;
  • Authorizes TennCare policy changes to ensure that covered individuals receive medically necessary services without disruption; and
  • Directs coordination with health insurance plans to improve access to screening, testing, and treatment for COVID-19.

As always, residents are asked to be diligent in taking precautions. Wash hands thoroughly, avoid touching your face, put distance between yourself and others, and avoid nonessential visits to hospitals and nursing homes. is now with you on the go! Get the latest news updates and video, 4WARN weather forecast, weather radar, special investigative reports, sports headlines and much more from News4 Nashville.

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