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Governor Bill Lee has authorized a limited state of emergency to continue through April 28 with his signing of Executive Orders 77, 78 and 79.

“Our state’s COVID-19 numbers continue to improve thanks to efficient vaccine distribution and efforts to protect our most vulnerable citizens,” said Gov. Lee. “I have authorized continuation of a limited state of emergency through April 28th in order to keep critical healthcare deregulation in place and ensure continued federal funding compliance, and to lift state visitation restrictions on nursing home and long-term care facilities. To be very clear, my orders do not include any restriction on business. We will continue to focus on delivering vaccines to every corner of the state, ensuring kids get back in the classroom and building on our strong economic recovery.”

Gov. Lee also signed Executive Order Nos. 78 and 79, which extend through April 28, provisions that allow for remote government meetings and shareholder meetings and permit remote notarization and witnessing of documents, all while implementing transparency safeguards.

Lee, in his press conference with the Tennessee Press Association attended by the Tullahoma News Monday, said the ability to somewhat relax the state’s stance comes as COVID-19 cases continue to drop. “We are at one-tenth of the cases we saw at its highest,” the governor noted, adding that hospitalizations from the virus are one-fourth of what they were around the holidays. Coffee County’s positive cases were at 106 Monday. The virus is being blamed for 114 deaths in Coffee County since August when the first COVID fatality was reported.

The governor believes a vigorous vaccination campaign has helped bring the numbers down as 1.3 million Tennesseans have been vaccinated, over 60,000 on a single day last week. The approval of the Johnson & Johnson one-dose vaccine will only serve the drop the numbers even lower it is believed.