COVID-19 forces early inmate transfer into new Davidson County Jail

More potential cases of inmates forces move
Nashville Jail.png
Posted at 3:17 PM, Apr 20, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-20 19:33:40-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Dozens of Davidson County inmates were moved into isolation at the new downtown Nashville jail. They were moved earlier than expected because of COVID-19, making them the first tenants of the new facility.

The new downtown jail was set to open in May, but Davidson County Sheriff Daron Hall said he was left with little choice. He needs the space to help slow the spread of the Coronavirus.

"In the wee hours last night there have been five additional inmates that have been moved to our new facility. That is where we are housing all these isolated cases," said Hall.

That makes 66 inmates who have been quietly moved downtown in the past week.

Sheriff Daron Hall says the Harding Place facility had cases in a single pod which they were able to contain. But, now he says inmates in a second pod may be infected.

"There is new group that is symptomatic," said Hall.

They all need to be separated along with anyone who may have had contact with them.

The downtown jail may not yet be processing new inmates but it can quarantine existing sick ones.

"We are using a large portion of the building and we are very fortunate to have it," said Hall.

The move came as the sheriff continues to work with local judges to get the total number of inmates down; So far, 167 inmates have been granted early release. Hall says of that group seven were re-arrested and six of the severe were "public intoxication types of cases."

Also, as of last week, all of the remaining inmates in the Davidson County jail were provided masks. And medical staff continue to monitor inmates looking for new potential cases of COVID-19.

To date, the sheriff reports eleven inmates with confirmed cases of the virus. Along with six staffers - one of whom has recovered.

On a separate issue, Sheriff Hall says his office continues to receive eviction notices for those who have not been able to pay their rent in the current economic climate.

Despite those warrants, the sheriff says his deputies will not be evicting anyone from their homes during the Coronavirus pandemic.


See all our coronavirus coverage here


What is COVID-19 (a.k.a. the new coronavirus?)

According to the World Health Organization, coronaviruses (CoV) are a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases. Examples include the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV)and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV). A novel coronavirus (nCoV) is a new strain that has not been previously identified in humans. COVID-19 stands for "Coronavirus disease 2019," which is when this strain of the coronavirus was discovered.

What are the symptoms?

The CDC says patients confirmed to have the 2019-nCoV reportedly had mild to severe respiratory illness with:

  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing

Or at least two of the following symptoms:

  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Repeated shaking with chills
  • Muscle pain
  • Headache
  • Sore throat
  • New loss of taste or smell

At this time, the CDC believes symptoms could appear as soon as two days after exposure, or as long as 14 days.


The CDC is recommending "common sense" measures such as:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a cloth face cover when around others.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.