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Gov. Lee OKs use of Tenn. National Guard in hospitals amid virus surge

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Staff Sgt. Timothy Cordeiro
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Tenn. National Guard

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee has authorized medically trained National Guard members to fill nursing roles, drive ambulances and perform coronavirus testing for overstretched hospitals.

The Republican’s executive order Friday allows the adjutant general to send hospitals reinforcements from the Tennessee National Guard.

The state is focusing on members who are actively assigned, including those who are serving in coronavirus testing roles statewide.

State health officials declined to identify which hospitals have expressed interest. But health officials said there’s need statewide.

The state reports 2,485 people are currently hospitalized with COVID-19 in Tennessee, with 14% of floor beds and 8% of ICU beds still available.

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