More than 1,000 Metro public housing residents test for COVID-19

Posted at 4:32 PM, May 18, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-18 23:54:58-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Since last month, more than 1,000 people who live in Metro Development and Housing Agency (MDHA) properties have tested for COVID-19.

One of the biggest pushes happened last Thursday and Friday when close to 550 residents in 14 properties took advantage of the tests provided by the state through the help of the Tennessee National Guard.

Despite concerns from advocacy groups about transparency beforehand, MDHA said it’s pleased by the turnout.

“We’re extremely pleased with the numbers. We were targeting people who may not be able to make it to a testing site because of lack of transportation,” MDHA spokesperson Jamie Berry said.

Representatives for both the Metro Public Health Department and the Tennessee Department of Health said as of Monday, they haven’t seen or heard of the results from the event.

Berry said the department doesn’t receive the results, but welcome residents to come forward if their results come back positive so social services can help.

There are more than 5,000 units across all 21 properties.

MDHA already conducted its own testing at seven other properties that serve the elderly and disabled since early April. In partnership with Councilwoman Sharon Hurt, Jerry Maynard, Nashville General Hospital and Meharry Medical College, MDHA tested nearly 500 residents. There are about 1,200 people living in these properties.

Berry said the department is aware of only two positive COVID-19 cases after they reported to MDHA.

“In March, MDHA made a change to the tower properties where only essential people were allowed in the building. And because of that, I think that has attributed to the low number and as well as residents who have embraced this change. This wouldn’t be possible without resident support,” Berry added.