Metro Public Health Department will officially resume an updated version of the controversial COVID-19 patient database for the benefit of first responders. This follows Metro Department of Communications (DEC) weeks-long interim testing for the database.
The Metro Board of Health discontinued the first version of the system in June due to privacy concerns. About two months later, the board decided to resume the database. The members discussed an interim database that would take six weeks to develop. This following database will serve as the more permanent solution.
According to the board, the new program will improve how the Metro Public Health Department will relay testing information to a law enforcement database that ensures addresses match GPS information. After, the DEC receives the information and provides first responders with case positivity information for the address associated with a call.
DEC Director Steve Martini helped construct the details for this new database. It operates using a Motorola Solutions system for dispatch communications.
Under the newer database, the DEC will have the ability to inform first responders if the address on a call is associated with any positive COVID-19 cases. Although names associated with the addresses aren’t available initially, first responders may receive names to transport individuals to hospitals or law enforcement facilities.
“There is essentially no way there can be any kind of fishing for individual information on the part of law enforcement like a traffic stop or trying to find out something about somebody personally,” stated board member “The only way law enforcement has access to that data is if they are specifically calling about transporting an individual.”
Positive case information will remain in the DEC database for 30 days. Otherwise, all information will be available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for first responders.
Earlier this week, Nashville Metro Council granted Mayor John Cooper the power to deputize employees to enforce COVID-19 mandates.
Metro Department of Health spokespersons couldn’t be reached by press time.
Training for the database could begin as early as next week.
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