Nashville has seen an uptick in the transmission rate and percentage of people testing positive for the coronavirus, and health officials say outbreaks at prisons located in Davidson County are partially to blame.
Mass testing at Tennessee prisons has recently uncovered several-hundred new cases at three facilities here in Nashville.
Coronavirus task force chair Alex Jahangir says the outbreaks have accounted for a large portion of local cases this month, including about 40% of new cases during Labor Day weekend, alone.
“So, we need to keep a close watch over the next few days to see if these numbers stabilize and start trending in the right direction,” he says.
Nashville prisons have reported far fewer coronavirus cases than correctional facilities in other parts of the state. In some prisons, more than 1,000 people have tested positive. The largest outbreak in a Nashville correctional has infected fewer than 200 prisoners.
However, some of the smaller clusters have been more deadly. Five people have died at the Lois M. DeBerry Special Needs Facility, which houses some of the state’s sickest prisoners.
Coronavirus cases started slowly building over the course of the summer, and about 130 people have tested positive in total. More than 80 have since recovered.
At the Debra K. Johnson Rehabilitation Center, which houses most of the state’s female prisoners, nearly 200 people have the virus and one has died. But just a few miles down the road at at the Riverbend Maximum Security Institution in West Nashville, no deaths have been reported, and only 73 men have tested positive since the start of the pandemic.
Samantha Max is a Report for America corps member.