Nashville Officials Withheld COVID Numbers for Restaurants and Bars Over HIPPA Law Concerns, Mayor’s Office Says

Nash Vegas… You Got Some Splainin’ To Do… To The Up and Coming Musicians

Newsweek BY MILI GODIO

Nashville officials were briefly reluctant to release the low number of COVID-19 cases deriving from bars and restaurants in the city, according to emails between the Metro Health Department and Mayor John Cooper’s office.

The emails between the two offices were obtained by Fox 17 News and broadcast in a segment Wednesday night. Newsweek picked up the story on Thursday morning, but that afternoon the mayor’s press secretary Chris Song released a statement saying that the tv station’s report was aired with “limited information and without context.”

“The Mayor’s office and the Metro Public Health Department remain committed as always to providing timely and transparent information that helps inform our local media and all Nashvillians in the fight against COVID-19. And we’re grateful to all the residents and businesses owners in Davidson County for their hard work and dedication to our ongoing COVID-19 response,” the statement said.

According to Song, the Mayor’s office sent an email on June 29 asking Metro Public Health staff to”share the results of its contact tracing investigations to help identify the sources and spread of COVID-19 in Davidson County to help guide an appropriate policy response. Up to that point, Metro Public Health had typically tracked infections to broader categories of sources – such as workplace, community, household, and travel – but the Mayor’s office requested more specific sourcing, including bars, large gatherings, and weddings, as examples based on national trends.”

According to emails obtained by Fox 17, on June 30, contact tracing conducted by the MHD found construction sites and nursing homes were the cause of most Nashville coronavirus cases. Both categories had over 1,000 cases tied to each of them. At that time, only 22 cases were traced back to bars and restaurants.

“This isn’t going to be publicly released, right? Just info for Mayor’s Office?” Leslie Waller from the health department wrote on June 30.

Senior Advisor Benjamin Eagles responded: “Correct, not for public consumption.”

Read More at Newsweek

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