Tennessee COVID-19 location omission sparks questions

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UPDATE: After negative reactions across the state, the Department of Health reversed their decision this evening:

TDH ANNOUNCES UPDATE TO COVID-19 CASE MANAGEMENT POLICIES

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Tennessee Department of Health has announced updated case management protocol regarding confirmed cases of COVID-19 in a continued effort to keep communities informed while also maintaining patient privacy.

“TDH will release counties of residence for all confirmed cases, but will not include further identifying factors like age or gender as we balance transparency with our obligation to lawfully protect patient privacy,“ said Tennessee Health Commissioner Lisa Piercey, MD, MBA, FAAP. “While the department’s standard protocol for outbreaks is to announce information by region, we understand COVID-19 is an evolving situation presenting unique concerns for our communities.“

There are currently seven confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Tennessee affecting Davidson, Shelby, Sullivan and Williamson counties.

 

County Case Count
Davidson 1
Shelby 1
Sullivan 1
Williamson 4

 

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By KIMBERLEE KRUESI
Associated Press

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – Tennessee is limiting what information it releases about confirmed coronavirus cases, becoming an outlier compared to most states and sparking alarm among some officials worried the move will aggravate public mistrust.

The debate comes as Tennessee’s Department of Health announced this week it will no longer identify the county of where a new COVID-19 case is confirmed.

Critics say the move puts the public in the dark at what areas they may want to avoid.

However, the Tennessee Department of Health says the goal is to protect patient privacy. As of Tuesday, Tennessee had a total of six COVID-19 cases.

(Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.)