NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) - Randy Tatel’s first exposure came when he invited a friend over to watch a replay of the Nashville Predators 2017 Championship game.

The second came when that same friend returned a few days later to deliver him groceries.

So, when that friend then tested positive for COVID-19 and told investigators who’d she’d come in contact with, Tatel expected a call.

It never came.

“I never got contacted by a tracer at all,” Tatel said.

Another Nashville resident, who provided his test results with News4 Investigates, said neither he, nor his roommate who tested positive for COVID-19, have heard from a contact tracer.

In a news conference Friday, Rep. Mike Stewart, D-Nashville, said there is growing proof that the state doesn’t have enough workers to trace the sick and those they’ve come in contact with.

“Our contact tracing resources are woefully inadequate that many people who are testing positive are not being followed sufficiently,” Stewart said.

This week, the Tennessee Department of Health estimated they have roughly 700 contact tracers working across the state.

As of Friday, an analysis by News4 Investigates shows there are roughly 12,292 active cases to trace, not including the people they have come directly in contact with.

News4 Investigates requested an interview with Dr. Lisa Piercey, Commissioner of the Department of Health, but was told she was too busy with meetings.

But at Governor Bill Lee’s news conference Tuesday, Piercey said they are trying to hire a third agency to help with the work.

“Right now, we’re able to keep up but it’s something that’s on our radar,” Piercey said Tuesday.

Tatel said his experience proves that the state is moving too slow.

“It’s stunning where we are as a nation trying to combat this virus,” Tatel said.

News4 Investigates has filed requests for the totally number of contract workers in each county so we can examine how many cases they’re handling in each area and will keep everyone posted when we hear back.


Chief Investigative Reporter

Jeremy Finley is the chief investigator for News4 Investigates. His reporting has resulted in criminal convictions, legislative hearings before the U.S. Congress, and the payout of more than a million dollars to scam victims.

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