Gov. Lee’s Advisor Who Provided COVID-19 Patient Information to Police, Promoted to COO


The woman behind Tennessee providing COVID-19 patient data to first responders has been promoted.

Brandon O. Gibson, a senior advisor to Gov. Bill Lee, was promoted to the state’s chief operating officer (COO), the governor’s office announced Tuesday.

Gibson replaces Butch Eley as COO following Eley’s appointment as commissioner of Finance & Administration. Gibson had previously been serving as Senior Advisor to the Governor.

“Brandon has been a respected voice both within our administration and across our state,” said Gov. Lee. “Her ability to think creatively and bring innovative ideas to fruition will be critical as state government continues to provide services to our customers in new ways during these challenging times. We’re lucky to have a public servant like Brandon in Tennessee and I’m excited for her to get started in this new role.”

The Tennessee Department of Health is providing the names and addresses of Tennessee residents who test positive for COVID-19 to sheriffs and police daily, the Tennessee Lookout reported. The offer to share the protected health information with came at the request of Gov. Bill Lee, according to two letters obtained by the Lookout.

Thirty-two sheriff’s offices and 35 police departments have entered into agreements with the state to receive the information, the publication reported, quoting Shelley Walker, a Health Department spokeswoman.

Gibson also was involved in the decision to tell police and other first responders who has COVID-19.

WSMV reported:

“We know that first responder access to information regarding COVID-19 cases is of utmost concern,” wrote Brandon Gibson, Lee’s senior advisor, on April 3.

WSMV said the Easter Sunday tornadoes caused angst among some first responders about going into homes to help people during a pandemic, including Robertson County Sheriff Mike Van Dyke. Gibson said she would look into the issue.

The Tennessee Black Caucus of State Legislators asked Lee and the Tennessee Department of Health to stop giving out the names, The Tennessee Star reported.

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Background Photo “Tennessee Capitol” by FaceMePls. CC BY 2.0.







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3 Thoughts to “Gov. Lee’s Advisor Who Provided COVID-19 Patient Information to Police, Promoted to COO”

  1. Misty

    Yet because of the strict HIPPA laws I can’t get lab results for my 18 year old daughter , who lives with me and for whom I make doctor appointments, appointments for which I pay and provide insurance, unless she signs paperwork that states specifically the information may be shared with me alone. This is the garden in which distrust in the governmental “powers that be” grows tall and strong.

    1. 83ragtop50

      Misty, well said.

      This has gotten way out of control.

      And one gets rewarded for being a lapdog for the Governor.

  2. William Delzell

    This program of sharing covid information with police is both racially and class-motivated. The Black Caucus is right to oppose it.