Southwest Nebraska Public Health Department Will Not Disclose COVID-19 Patient Information

June 24, 2020 - 2:34pm

A local health department in Nebraska has decided not to share information about individuals with COVID-19 with first responders.


The Southwest Nebraska Public Health Department, which serves 9 counties around McCook, will not be sharing the names and addresses of COVID-19-positive individuals with first responders in order to respect the privacy of the patients.

Health Director Myra Stoney said some individuals with positive cases who have disclosed their status have been treated differently on a professional level. She said it is up to the individual to disclose their case status, not health department staff.

“Public health will not breach that trust in following up on communicable diseases with our public that we’re serving,” Stoney said.

Stoney said the patient information could have given first responders a false sense of security because COVID-19 can be asymptomatic. She said the department has recommended first responders treat all calls as if the patient is COVID-19-positive by wearing PPE to protect themselves.

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