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A southern Maine town wants the state to disclose the addresses of people who have tested positive for COVID-19 so its emergency service providers can serve them better and protect themselves against it.
The Portland Press Herald reports that the town of Kittery sought the disclosure because the information is “vital to protect our public safety-first responders and our communities,” Town Manager Kendra Amaral wrote in a letter sent Monday to Gov. Janet Mills and Dr. Nirav Shah, director of the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
“The benefit of the policy is totally unclear; the impact is not,” Amaral wrote. “The policy effectively withholds vital information from the first responders (EMS, Police, Fire) about the risk of exposure when responding to a call for public safety service.”
State law says such public health information may not contain potentially identifying information about the patient when released to the public or government agencies. Mirroring federal policy, the Maine Center for Disease Control identifies virus cases only by gender, age range and county, according to the Press Herald.
But Amaral said such addresses are shared with local public safety officials “on a regular basis” in New Hampshire and Massachusetts.
A spokesman for the Maine CDC did not immediately respond Tuesday to questions about the letter, and whether the state might provide additional information. It also was not immediately clear if other Maine communities also are demanding more information, the article states.
Watch: Why the Maine CDC breaks down coronavirus cases by county, not town