New Davidson County jail temporarily repurposed as inmate COVID-19 isolation ward
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Mike Osborne) -- Davidson County Sheriff Daron Hall said Wednesday that Metro's new jail is being used as a coronavirus isolation ward, even though the facility wasn't scheduled to open until next month.
Hall told reporters during the city's daily COVID-19 press briefing, that 119 of the jail’s 1003 prisoners are in isolation. Eleven have tested virus positive. The rest have either been exposed or are awaiting test results.
The Sheriff said inmates and staff members are checked daily for fever and everyone has been given a mask.
Sheriff Hall moved early in the pandemic to reduce the jail’s population by releasing some non-violent offenders. He noted Wednesday he now has more space to isolate inmates thanks to that early effort.
The Tennessee Supreme Court in March ordered the state's judges to submit written plans for reducing local jail populations to enhance social distancing efforts. But last week a number of Sheriff's pushed back against that directive.
In an undated statement under the letterhead of the Tennessee Sheriffs Association, several leading Sheriffs wrote "The safety of our citizens is our number one priority and we will not be releasing any inmate unless time is served, it’s court ordered, or bond is made.”