The Metro Public Health Department in Nashville will still provide COVID-19 patient information to first responders and law enforcement.
Metro Public Health Director Michael Caldwell said the practice is “temporary,” but that it’s working, WPLN reported Thursday.
“This is an emergency,” he says. “This is critical, timely, life-saving information that has reduced and contained the spread of this disease within our medical institutions and within our jails. I’m puzzled by why the state reversed course.”
The state said it would stop the controversial practice earlier effective Sunday.
The state said its memorandum of understanding to share protected health information came during the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic over a lack of PPE for first responders, NewsChannel 5 reported. State officials told first responders the MOU is not needed now because PPE is available.
WSMV quoted two Metro Council members as opposing the health department’s sharing of data.
“Absolutely, Metro Health Department should stop sharing this information and should’ve stopped sharing it weeks ago. Really never should have started,” says council member Colby Sledge.
The District 17 council member going on to say he’s filing a resolution to call for MHPD to follow the state’s example.
Both he and council member Freddie O’Connell (District 19) are both concerned about the immigrant and refugee populations as they point out they live in areas hardest hit by the virus.
The City of Knoxville said earlier this month it would opt-out of sharing the names and addresses of COVID-19 patients with law enforcement, The Tennessee Star reported. Gov. Bill Lee had sent letters to Tennessee police agencies offering to provide personal information to their departments once they entered into a Memorandum of Understanding with the state.
A total of 32 county sheriff’s offices and 35 police departments entered into agreements with the state to receive the information, the Tennessee Health Department told the Chattanooga Times Free Press.
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Photo “Metro Police Car” by The Metro Nashville Police Department.