NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) – After being exposed to COVID-19, Gov. Bill Lee signed an executive order declaring October 15 as a day of prayer, humility and fasting in order to “acknowledge the pain and suffering of Tennesseans during this unprecedented time.”

This comes after many Tennesseans have lost loved ones, employment and businesses at the hands of the virus. Many people have also run out of unemployment insurance, isolated inside nursing homes and health care facilities, preventing them from seeing family and friends.

"It's a serious problem and it may get worse if we don't do anything," said Joerg Rieger of the Vanderbilt School of Divinity. 

Nashville's 14-day average is at nearly 132 cases, up from 105 since last Thursday; 178 people are hospitalized in the county, up from 125 last week. 

"We have been asking the governor to use his emergency powers to do things like help with paid sick leave, provide more immediate unemployment, put in place a workplace standard," Vonda McDaniel, president of Central Labor Council. 

Organizers say they are coming together to pray for action.

The governor's office did not immediately reply to our request for comment. 

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A New York City native and a graduate of the Mizzou School of Journalism, Ethan joined the WSMV Digital Team in June 2019. Send him story ideas, food recommendations and sports topics to Ethan.Illers@wsmv.com and follow him on Twitter @EthanIllers_TV!

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