Release Information on the Whereabouts of COVID-Positive Patients in Shasta County!

Release Information on the Whereabouts of COVID-Positive Patients in Shasta County!

0 have signed. Let’s get to 100!
At 100 signatures, this petition is more likely to be featured in recommendations!
Nikki Ray started this petition to Shasta County Health and Human Services

With SARS CoV-2 rapidly spreading within our small, rural community, we must demand that our local communicable disease team do BETTER. We must demand they release a list of which businesses these confirmed cases have been in the week or so leading up to their diagnosis. California Connected, our state's contact tracing team, already gathers this information as per their case investigation protocol. We are simply asking for this information to be released to the public.

CONFIDENTIAL INFORMATION PROTECTED BY HIPAA PRIVACY LAWS:

- Patient Names

- Date of Birth

- Ages

- Places of employment

Any medically identifiable information such as:

- Underlying health conditions/comorbidities

- Places where the patient receives medical treatment

- Medical supply agencies or pharmacies

PUBLIC INFORMATION NOT PROTECTED BY HIPAA PRIVACY LAWS:

- Businesses or grocery stores frequented by the positive patient

- Recreational establishments such as bars, clubs, movie theaters, or gyms visited by the positive patient

-Approximate time frames the positive patient visited these places

It is irresponsible for Shasta County to refuse to release this information to the general public. It is counterintuitive to the mission statement of a public health organization (protect the public from harm).

Shasta County's communicable disease team readily released the information about the measles patients in 2019. We knew where they went, on which days, and the time of day they visited. We deserve this level of complexity with SARS CoV-2 patients especially in a GLOBAL PANDEMIC.

It is NOT ENOUGH to contact only the patient's close contacts. A close contact is defined as any person who was "within 6 feet of a person with COVID-19 for at least 15 minutes". With that in mind, consider this example: With physical distancing going on, many businesses do not allow more than a certain amount of people into their store. Therefore, customers are asked to wait in line outside the business. These lines may be longer than 15 minutes on a busy day. If the person in front of you was positive and asymptomatic, how would the communicable disease team contact YOU? How about this example: Your positive asymptomatic taxi driver doesn't believe in masks, and so they aren't wearing one. They don't mind that you have a mask on, but they're not going to wear one. You are about to run late for your commitment, and you have no choice but to be escorted by them. Now how would our communicable disease team contact you? Do you see the flaw in this reasoning?

Regarding the spread of measles: When rubeola (measles) is aerosolized, it can live in the air for up to two hours. However, SARS CoV-2 can live in the air for *three* hours. I have provided peer-reviewed references for this information below, for anyone who would like to learn more.

And while I understand that measles is highly contagious, there is a vaccine for it—which makes the risk of infection relatively low to most of the vaccinated public. As you know, no such vaccine exists for SARS-CoV-2. This current virus is much more of a risk than measles, yet we have less information than we did before.

If our county continues to withhold information from the public, our hospital systems will quickly become overwhelmed. Shasta County hospitals only have around 81 adult ICU beds. Consider what may happen if each person with a positive case infected just two people? And those infected passed the virus onto two more? What happens to the patients who need intensive care without COVID-19? Without the information we need to protect ourselves, our ICU beds will rapidly fill and we will need the military hospital to return.

California Connected, our state's contact tracing program, says that if you test positive, "you will be asked basic questions like your name and age, *the places you’ve been*, and the people you’ve spent time with." It also states that your personal information is confidential and will not be shared. This info includes your name, your birthdate, and your place of employment, as well as doctors' offices in which you are a patient at. Stores, recreational areas, markets and the like, is NOT confidential and does not fall into the category of patient protected information.

According to the CDC, this information also includes "All medical records and other individually identifiable health information". HIPPA does NOT apply to "information to aid [public health authorities] in their mission of protecting the health of the public. Just like with the measles patient, if I was at Taco Bell at the same time they were, I would want to know if I were in line with an asymptomatic COVID-positive person.
HHS.gov states that the public has the right to know if they have "been exposed to a communicable disease if the covered entity is legally authorized to do so to prevent or control the spread of the disease".

If you believe that Shasta County should release this information, please sign this petition. It could save lives!

Sources:
-HHS.gov guidelines regarding patient privacy and HIPAA: https://www.hhs.gov/hipaa/for-professionals/privacy/guidance/disclosures-public-health-activities/index.html

-CDC guidelines regarding patient privacy and HIPAA: https://www.cdc.gov/nhsn/hipaa/index.html

-California Connected contact tracing program: https://covid19.ca.gov/contact-tracing

-Information on the viability of measles in the air: https://www.cdc.gov/measles/hcp/index.html

-Information on the viability of coronavirus in the air: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7121658/?report=reader

0 have signed. Let’s get to 100!
At 100 signatures, this petition is more likely to be featured in recommendations!