Memphis & Nashville Alternate Care Sites Reflect Tennessee’s Monumental Response to COVID-19

Monday, July 19, 2021 | 05:40pm

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Tennessee Emergency Management Agency has finished the process of deconstructing the COVID-19 Alternate Care Sites in Nashville and Memphis, with the sites having served their purpose of making additional hospital capacity available, if needed, for Tennessee COVID-19 patients. 

“When early predictions pointed to a worst-case scenario of every state exceeding its COVID-19 patient capacity, we took immediate action in Tennessee to address the potential shortfall,” Gov. Bill Lee said. “Tennessee’s alternate care sites provided our health care system with a margin of safety, and thankfully we did not need to open either site.”

In April 2020, Tennessee received a Major Disaster Declaration that made federal funding available for COVID-19 response measures., which included establishing alternate care sites for COVID-19 patients.

Following the federal declaration, Gov. Lee’s Unified Command Group (UCG) – Tennessee Dept. of Health, Tennessee Dept. of Military, and TEMA – worked with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (ACOE) to begin the construction and outfitting process for alternate care sites in Memphis and Nashville.

The ACOE and UCG completed Nashville’s alternate care site, located on one floor of Nashville General Hospital, 1818 Albion St., on May 31, 2020, making 67 beds available for COVID-19 patients. 

ACOE and UCG finished work at the Memphis alternate care site, 495 Union Ave., on June 9, 2020, with a complete renovation of a 125,000-square foot building to make bed space available for 402 COVID-19 patients. 

“The Memphis and Nashville sites are models of what the public and private sector can accomplish working together,” TEMA Director Patrick Sheehan said. “We’ll use this success in planning for other emergencies that may impact our health care system.”

All medical equipment and supplies from both sites have been returned to TEMA’s warehouse. TEMA staff will inventory the supplies and follow appropriate federal and state guidelines to release the supplies and equipment not remaining in inventory.

Video walk-throughs and fact sheets for both the Memphis and Nashville alternate care sites are available on TEMA’s homepage at    

About the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency: TEMA’s mission is to coordinate preparedness, response and recovery from man-made, natural and technological hazards in a professional and efficient manner in concert with our stakeholders. Follow TEMA on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter, and, at