A Nashville official on Saturday denied that she and her colleagues are forcing residents of the city’s housing projects to test for COVID-19, even though some people on social media say that’s what’s happening.
On Friday a Nashville resident named Hatuey Hiawhatha shared a photo of what looked like Nashville Police officers and National Guard troops outside a housing project.
Hiawhatha warned residents to stay safe.
Hiawhatha did not say if he took the photo.
A Facebook user named Shovann Staton-Backus shared the same photo.
On her Facebook page, Staton-Backus, whose city is unlisted, refers to herself as a “Celebrity Chef/Philanthropist/Human Rights Activist/LGBTQ Advocate/Brown Bruja Tarot Card Playa.”
Staton-Backus said the following:
“Metro Nashville Police and the National Guard are in Cayce Place doing mandatory COVID-19 testing. Other public housing residents will be tested as well.”
Exactly 329 other Facebook users shared Staton-Backus’ post.
On Friday night former Vanderbilt University professor and Nashville mayor candidate Carol Swain shared a screenshot of Staton-Backus’ post on her personal Facebook page.
Nashville Metropolitan Development and Housing Agency spokeswoman Jamie Berry said the Facebook posts are incorrect.
Berry, in an email to The Tennessee Star Saturday, said the testing is not mandatory.
“The testing being mentioned on social media is being set up by the state and hasn’t happened yet,” Berry said.
Berry did not answer The Star’s other questions about the matter.
Representatives from the Nashville Police Department, the Metro Public Health Department, and Mayor John Cooper’s office did not return requests for comment Saturday.
As reported Saturday, authorities are out in force and using the long arm of the law to enforce Cooper’s COVID-19 guidelines.
Nashville business owners who are gearing up to reopen Monday better comply with all of Mayor John Cooper’s safety rules for COVID-19, or else police might pay them a visit. As reported Friday, after more than 50 days in quarantine, Nashville will move to Phase One of Cooper’s plan to reopen the city’s economy, at least partially, on Monday.
Metro Public Health Director Michael Caldwell said at a press conference Friday that for the first offense county officials will tell managers how to comply — and come back later to make sure they are doing just that. For a second infraction county officials will deliver a warning.
Metro Health spokesman Brian Todd told The Star in an email Friday that county officials have already responded to more than 500 complaints since Cooper announced his Safer at Home Order.
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