Lee to require COVID-19 testing at long-term care facilities

Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee speaks about protecting seniors, in the East Room of the White House, Thursday, April 30, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - Gov. Bill Lee's administration announced Friday that long-term care facilities will soon be required to test all of their residents and staff for COVID-19 after initially just urging nursing homes to do so.

According to Lee's office, the Healthcare Facilities Board unanimously approved new rules from the Department of Health that require testing of all long-term care facilities to be completed by June 30.

After June, nursing homes must conduct testing on staff at least once a week. Staff members will be exempted if they have a positive FDA-approved COVID-19 antibody test.

Earlier this month, Lee requested that all of the state's approximately 700 nursing homes conduct coronavirus testing by May 31. By Friday, 60% of those facilities had done so, while another 20% were awaiting various tools to complete the testing.