Mayor Harris requests more agency access to nursing homes during emergencies

SHELBY COUNTY, Tenn. — There are new concerns about some of the most vulnerable during the pandemic.

Recently, the Shelby County mayor sent a letter to the governor requesting more access to nursing homes during an emergency.

Currently, there are 27 active COVID-19 clusters at long-term care facilities in Shelby County which has resulted in 36 deaths.

In his letter, Mayor Lee Harris asks Governor Bill Lee for public guardians, adult protective services investigators and first responders to gain access to these facilities sooner during an emergency.

Harris said public guardians and adult protective services investigators have had no-to-limited access to these facilities while they’re following up on cases and/or investigations.

Additionally, he said first responders have reported delays accessing patients while responding to an emergency because crews are going through full screenings before they enter. Harris said EMS crews are already screened when they report for duty.

In the letter, Harris asks Governor Lee to consider these three requests in the next executive order:

  • Creating a process for safe, live visits from court-order public guardians
  • Granting permission for APS investigators, in certain circumstances, to conduct site visits as part of abuse and neglect investigations
  • Permit emergency medical personnel entry without undue delay

The governor’s office told FOX13 they received Harris’ letter and they are reviewing it.

The state’s Unified Command Group said long-term care facilities must ensure that residents are afforded necessary visitation by service providers.

There are 18 COVID-19 clusters at nursing homes that have been resolved which means the facility didn’t have any new cases for 28 days straight.

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