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Gov. Lee: Tenn. does not have capacity to follow CDC guidelines on school testing

Governor Bil Lee said he will not implement COVID-19 testing protocol recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for testing students as schools open across the state.
(Mark Humphrey | AP Photo/Mark Humphrey, file)
Published: Aug. 7, 2020 at 7:14 PM EDT|Updated: Aug. 7, 2020 at 7:33 PM EDT
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT/WTVF) - Governor Bill Lee said he will not implement COVID-19 testing protocol recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for testing students as schools open across the state.

Phil Williams, investigative reporter for Nashville’s WTVF NewsChannel 5, reported that Lee said Tennessee simply does not have the testing capacity to follow the guidelines outlined by the CDC.

“With the resources and the limitations that we have, we are developing the best strategy to go forward, accepting and following the CDC guidelines to the degree we can,” said Lee.

The CDC recommends students be kept in the same small groups called “cohorts” to make contact tracing easier in the event of a positive case.

“If a student, teacher or staff member tests positive for SARS-CoV-2, those in the same cohort/group should also be tested and remain at home until receiving a negative test result or quarantine,” the CDC’s reopening guidance says.

The plan proposed by the governor’s administration would require anyone who has been exposed to remember who they have been in contact with for more than 10 minutes.

NewsChannel 5 Investigates asked Lee, “If we do not have the capacity to follow CDC guidelines, how can we safely reopen schools?”

“Well, we follow the guidelines to the extent we think that’s possible,” the governor answered.

Follow Phil Williams on Facebook here.

Copyright 2020 WVLT. All rights reserved.

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