NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Governor Bill Lee’s fight to stop the spread of COVID-19 is not without criticism.
Some come from legislative Democrats, but another voice is from doctors on the front lines who say a “stay at home” order is “desperately needed.”
“Governor Lee’s failure to issue a stay at home order is essentially allowing the pandemic to spread through communities nearly unchecked,” said Williamson County critical care doctor Aaron Milestone Thursday afternoon during a teleconference.
The number of doctors, nurses and every day Tennesseans signing a petition wanting a stay at home order grows by the moment with over 22,000 signatures early Thursday afternoon.
Another doctor on the teleconference hopes social distancing in her home helps a loved one.
“My husband is an anesthesiologist at Vanderbilt. We are aware there is a very high likelihood he will be COVID-19– so much so he lives in a separate room in our home,” said Brentwood, Tn internist Dr. Sonal Gupta.
Those signing the petition plead with Governor Lee to take bolder action on a stay at home order except for getting essential services like food and medicine or work in jobs deemed essential.
“If we are going to have any chance at defeating this with the least loss of life possible, then we need a stay at home order done yesterday,” added Dr. Gupta as she aimed her words at the governor. “Every day we delay on this, Governor Lee is additional lives lost.”
The two doctors were joined on the teleconference by the physician who stared the position earlier this month.
“Until we can get a stay at home order statewide, people are still out mingling and mixing and not everyone realizes that this is a silent deadly killer that we are already two weeks behind,” said Dr. Jennifer Martin who is a Nashville dermatologist.
The pleas from the doctors come after the governor received a three-page letter from Tennessee legislative Democrats this week outlining their call for action and saying “while we appreciate many of the steps that have been announced this week, it is unclear how these steps constitute a coherent, comprehensive strategy to contain the pandemic.”
On a positive note, the three doctors from the teleconference say they have seen a combined 138-patients this week via telemedicine.
“It’s worked well,” said Dr. Milstone.