NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — The Metro Nashville Board of Health approved a limited, interim process Thursday evening allowing the Metro Public Health Department to share the addresses and names of confirmed COVID-19 cases with first responders.
The Metro Public Health Department said Friday the process will be in place until a long-term solution can be “configured, tested and implemented.” The long-term solution is expected to be in place in about six weeks.
According to the health department, the new process will allow Emergency Communication Center dispatchers to let first responders know if there is a case living at the address without providing a name. The department added first responders will only be provided the name of a confirmed case if the person needs to be transported to a hospital or to a Davidson County Sheriff’s Office facility.
The decision comes after the Board voted at its June meeting to stop the Metro Public Health Department from sharing data regarding COVID-19 cases with Metro police and the Department of Emergency Communications.
The interim process is detailed below:
Process of Providing Address: The Health Department provides daily a database of Covid-19 positive patients and associated addresses to the IT Division of the Metro Nashville Police Department. The MNPD IT Division scrubs this data to remove duplicate names and addresses from previous reports and correct any misspelled addresses to align with the address database within the Computer Aided Dispatch System managed by the Metro Nashville Department of Emergency Communications (DEC). The MNPD IT Division provides the cleaned data to the DEC, then deletes that clean data from its system without retaining the data or entering any portion of the data within any MNPD software applications. The DEC enters the addresses into the Computer Aided Dispatch system as alerts on individual addresses, slated to expire and automatically delete after 30 days assuming no reinfection at that address occurs. This information is communicated to all responders, law enforcement, fire and EMS only when an incident requires responders to be dispatched to a location where a Covid-19 positive patient resides. No identifying patient information will be included or relayed to responders as part of this solution.
Process of Providing Name: Upon receipt of this daily cleaned database from MNPD IT Division, the Department of Emergency Communications will make available to law enforcement radio dispatchers the list of individuals who have actively tested positive for Covid-19. Officers, at the time they are prepared to transport an individual from a scene, will inquire of the radio dispatcher whether the name of the person they are transporting appears on the latest Covid-19 positive persons list, provided by the Health Department daily. Radio dispatchers will attempt to confirm the identity of the individual being transported identifying information so law enforcement may make the most appropriate transport decision. This solution assumes a small amount of risk, as the accuracy of the name provided relies solely on the information provided to law enforcement by the individual, which could result in a failure to identify a Covid-19 positive patient if the identity provided does not exactly match the name listed in the database.
The intention of the data-sharing arrangement is to protect the health of those transporting Covid-19 cases as well as the health of the staff members at the receiving agency, whether a hospital, an incarceration facility, a mental health facility or any other.
Stay with News 2 for continuing coverage of the COVID-19 Pandemic.
COVID-19 in Tennessee
(This reflects what the TDH is reporting each day at 2 p.m. CST )