State to stop COVID-19 data sharing with law enforcement, Shelby County Health Department continuing for now

State to stop COVID-19 data sharing with law enforcement, Shelby County Health Department continuing

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Tennessee Governor Bill Lee’s administration now says the sharing of COVID-19 health data by the state with law enforcement will stop by the end of the month.

The practice was highly criticized by the Tennessee Black Caucus of legislators who, in a letter more than a week ago, advised those getting tested not to provide their address to testing agencies as a way to protect their privacy.

The Tennessee Department of Health had agreements with law enforcement agencies across the state to access the COVID-19 health data, which was done officials said to protect first responders and ensure adequate supplies of PPE.

In Memphis and Shelby County, there was no such agreement with the state department of health but rather Shelby County’s E-911 service had an agreement with the state’s emergency communications board, which flagged addresses. A state spokesperson said Friday that program too will terminate at month’s end.

A SCHD spokesperson wrote Friday that would continue, at least for now.

“The Shelby County Health Department is independent of Tennessee Department of Health. The data shared by the Health Department with Shelby County 9-1-1 only includes addresses of those in quarantine or isolation, not names,” said SCHD spokesperson Joan Carr, “Health Department Director Alisa Haushalter says she will explore further and make a decision regarding ongoing data sharing in the upcoming week.”

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