State department, locals respond to COVID-19 data privacy concerns

JACKSON, Tenn. — Medical staff are now required to turn over your personal information if you take a test for COVID-19, even if it’s a negative result.

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WBBJ 7 Eyewitness News has received a response from the state department and reached out to local residents to see what their opinions are.

“Nothing should be handed out, whether you have HIV, corona, cancer. Any illness is your personal privacy and the physician’s,” said Mark Dalton, a Jackson resident.

Wednesday, local residents expressed their concern for what they’re calling an “invasion of privacy” if tested for COVID-19.

The Tennessee Department of Health says that the federal CARES Act requires all testing — negative or positive — to be reported with the intent to detect COVID-19.

The state defines COVID-19 as a reportable disease that is then reported to federal partners, but the U.S. Department of Health has passed a list of required fields to accompany the test results.

These include your name, address and more.

The state is working with health care providers to get the information. Those who do not follow the mandate and provide the data could be fined $500 a day.

“I just don’t think that it’s fair for the government to do that, and it’s not fair to pressure their customers into making them think that we can give out their information,” said Tracy Bond, a Jackson resident.

After speaking with some local residents, some think those who are planning to take a COVID-19 test may be more apprehensive.

“If they can get your information, other people can too. You know, it just trickles on down. Who are they giving that information to?” Dalton said.

Some local residents say positive tests could be enough information shared already.

“Even if they tested positive, they shouldn’t need the information unless the person them self gives the permission for it to be out there. That’s just an invasion of privacy,” said Kyle Maroney, a Jackson resident.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services does acknowledge the required data goes above and beyond what has been historically requested.

However, they claim they need the information in what has been the worst global pandemic in recent history.

Categories: Local News, News
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