/ Letters / Iron County Health Department withholding information

Iron County Health Department withholding information

July 14, 2020

To the Editor:

Between June 26 and July 1, Iron County, Wisconsin COVID-19 cases surged from two to eight. That is a 300% increase in a community that only has 5,700 residents. The Wisconsin Department of Health has placed Iron County in the high activity range based on this surge. All other surrounding counties are in the low activity range.

What information are we getting from the Iron County Health Department — nothing! When interviewed by the Daily Globe, Ms. Hampston (county health contact) said its irrelevant where in the county the infected person lives. She also said releasing any information will cause people to become unnecessarily lax if they live elsewhere. 

This statement makes no sense. It’s completely relevant where in the county there are cases. It’s completely relevant if they are related. It’s completely relevant if they have common elements like a group living area or place of employment. All of this can be done without violating patient confidentiality. 

The health department cannot hide behind HIPPA and should release this information immediately. The US DHHS has issued multiple guidelines on COVID-19 and HIPPA. It’s clear that this type of information can be released “to protect or control the spread of disease.”

We deserve better. Be part of the solution and not the problem. It’s really insulting to see comments like this from our County officials. You serve the public and we are not as stupid as you think.

Geoffrey Bacci




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