Free COVID-19 testing starts Thursday in low-income Nashville communities


NASHVILLE, Tenn., (WKRN) – The Governor’s Unified Command Group is working with the Metro Development and Housing Agency to offer free COVID-19 testing to 14 low-income communities.

It’s an effort to make testing more accessible for vulnerable populations.

According to State Representative Harold Love, Jr., some MDHA residents were concerned with National Guardsmen conducting the tests in their military uniforms. He reached out to the Governor’s office to get this addressed.

“They will be in PPE, they will be in their scrubs, they will be there to help residents get tested. It will be optional,” Rep. Love said. “It will be a situation where our most vulnerable population will be treated as fairly as anyone else. They deserve that population will be treated as fairly as anyone else. They deserve that.”

According to our ABC affiliate in Chattanooga, students from UTC school of nursing will conduct the COVID-19 tests at Chattanooga Housing Authority properties after testing was initially cancelled amid concerns expressed by the Tennessee Black Caucus that uniformed guardsmen would perform the tests.

“Governor Lee directed the UCG in April to expand our COVID-19 testing efforts to test more Tennesseans,” said Commissioner Lisa Piercey, MD, MBA, FAAP, Tennessee Department of Health. “Collaborating with housing authorities in Tennessee’s metropolitan areas provides the means to get COVID-19 tests to communities whose members are particularly vulnerable to the virus.”

MDHA officials said when the Governor’s office reached out about this testing two weeks ago, they were already working to get testing offered at their tower properties that house residents 62 and older.

“Our goal was to eventually offer voluntary testing at all of our more than 20 properties because we had residents requesting testing in their neighborhoods because they couldn’t get to testing sites due to a lack of transportation, but it would’ve taken quite to some time to reach all properties,” stated MDHA Director of Communications Jamie Berry.

Testing is NOT mandatory for MDHA residents.

“I think everybody should, but again, it’s optional, everybody has their own view of it,” said Bishop Marcus Campbell who also sits on the MDHA Board of Commissioners. “Just everybody be concerned about your own health, your family and others, that’s all I can really tell people to make sure they are concerned about what’s going on, we do know this COVID-19 pandemic is real.”

He said MDHA did pass out flyers and worked to notify residents of the testing being available.

MDHA testing locations on Thur., May 14, open 12 p.m. to 6 p.m., CST (except as noted)

  • Parkway Terrace
  • Edgehill Apartments
  • Vine Hill Apartments
  • Levy Place
  • Neighborhood Housing
  • Cayce Place (10 a.m. to 4 p.m.)
  • CWA Plaza Apartments (10 a.m. to 4 p.m.)

MDHA testing locations on Friday, May 15, from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m., CST (except as noted)

  • Andrew Jackson Courts
  • J. Henry Hale Apartments
  • Cheatham Place
  • Cumberland View
  • Historic Preston Taylor
  • Napier Place (10 a.m. to 4p.m.)
  • Sudekum Apartments (10 a.m. to 4 p.m.)

Tennessee Department of Human Services (TDHS) staff will be joining the MDHA testing events on Thursday and Friday to provide residents with information on how to apply for TDHS’s COVID-19 support programs, including:

  • COVID-19 Emergency Cash Assistance, provides two months of cash payments to families who’ve lost a job or are earning half of their earned income due to COVID-19.
  • COVID-19 Essential Employee Child Care Payment Assistance Program, provides payment assistance at licensed child care facilities for essential workers.
  • Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP), supplements monthly food budgets of families with low-income to buy the food they need and allow them to direct more of their available income toward essential living expenses.
  • Families First, provides temporary assistance for those seeking employment with child care, transportation, educational support, and job training. It has a primary focus on gaining self-sufficiency through employment

More information on TDHS’s COVID-19 programs is available here.

COVID-19 in Tennessee

(This reflects what the TDH is reporting each day at 2 p.m. CST )

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