Metro Nashville to make cold-weather plan after canceling testing back-to-back days

covid19 testing
Posted at 6:13 PM, Jan 13, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-13 19:24:56-05

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — How cold is too cold for COVID-19 testing in Metro Nashville? The city says 35 degrees. On Monday and Tuesday, the Metro Nashville COVID-19 Assessment Centers were closed due to cold weather.

To protect the workers at the testing sites, the city closes all three locations when temperatures or the wind chill drops below 35 degrees.

"Because of the PPE they have to wear, they are not able to wear the same kinds of coats, gloves and scarves, and things that regular folks can wear to stay warm in the elements," said Joseph Pleasant, the public information officer.

Because of the cold weather closure earlier in the week, Nashvillians had to wait four days to get a free test. The assessment centers are not open on weekends.

NewsChannel5's Hannah McDonald asked the city if would continue to cancel testing days for cold weather.

"Just like in the summertime, we adjusted the hours because of the heat. Now that we're getting into the colder months of the year, we're going to have to look into adjusting it again, so that we can not only provide testing, but also protect the public, as well as those healthcare professionals that are out in the elements providing the testing," Pleasant said.

Pleasant said the city is finalizing how it will handle cold days going forward.

"Because, we understand that during this pandemic people still need tests, and we want to be able to provide that," he said.

The new plan is expected to be announced Thursday at Mayor John Cooper's weekly address.

"We are planning to formalize a final cold weather plan, so that we don't have to make last-minute adjustments, and when we do have days when the weather is extremely cold we can still find a way to provide testing to people who need it," he said.

OEM sought advice from the operators of Nashville's warming shelters.