Hamilton and Middletown officials said they will now release information about locations of people with the COVID-19 coronavirus to the Butler County Sheriff’s office.
The issue was raised by Butler County Sheriff Richard Jones this week. He criticized the health departments of Hamilton and Middletown for not providing addresses of those quarantined to his office so first responders who are dispatched could know.
Those departments said they were following federal guidance that such information should not be shared. The Butler County General Health District said it had received a recommendation from the Butler County Prosecutor’s Office, which said home rule laws indicated the districts could release such information to first responders.
Hamilton and Middletwn officials said today they had received updated guidance from federal authorities and would provide addresses of those with positive cases.
A federal document states that the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPPA) Privacy Rule allows the information about names and other identifying information of people with some diseases to be shared.
“We will provide all locations of Hamilton residents with COVID-19 to the Butler County Sheriff’s Office to be logged into the computer-aided dispatch (CAD) system,” Saurber said. “Our local police and fire departments will benefit from access to this information through the CAD system.”
“I want to be imminently clear that the City disclosed a previous test result to first responders,” said Middletown Acting City Manager Susan Cohen. “However, the Butler County Sheriff’s Office had a reasonable concern they would not continue to get this information. We have resolved all of those concerns by communicating extensively today with each other, and with the appropriate legal counsel for each party. The City of Middletown will disclose positive test information to the Sheriff’s office. We look forward to working with the Sheriff’s office to maintain the health and safety of all members of our community.”
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