State order will allow dispatchers to share names, addresses of positive cases with first responders

Cleveland EMS
Posted at 3:51 PM, Apr 14, 2020

COLUMBUS — Ohio Health Director Dr. Amy Acton is signing a new order to protect first responders by sharing name and address information of those who tested positive.

The EMS order will allow the state to share positive COVID-19 name and address information with dispatchers so that first responders can be properly protected when responding to an emergency. Dr. Amy Acton announced the order during Governor Mike DeWine's daily coronavirus briefing on Tuesday.

This information will be kept confidential, Action said. The order will ensure that they are sharing information about addresses with positive cases wisely and in a confidential way.

Acton said the order came out of the state's partnership with Ohio's mayors and after listening to the needs at the local level about how important it is to protect front line responders like EMS workers, firefighters, highway patrol troopers, and others who are first on the scene. This information will help make sure they are protected when they're transporting someone who may have COVID-19.

Captain Edward Super with the Lorain Police Department said they already rely on the Lorain County Department for guidance as some residents are taking advantage of the coronavirus pandemic.

“We show up and they tell us they have it even though they may not have it. We’ve had that happen a few times already because people are trying not to end up in jail,” said Super. “Of course, we don’t want to take any chances and arrest people and put them into the county correctional facility where it’s going to affect prisoner population.”

He says knowing who is truly infected will make a big difference and help keep his team safe on the job.

“It is tough when you have in the back of your mind that you don’t know who could be carrying the virus and who might cause you to take that home to your family,” said Super. “We are trying to maintain social distancing just like everybody else, which isn’t always conducive to the type of work we do.”

We reached out to the Lorain County Public Health Department for comment on the new order.

Health Commissioner, Dave Covell sent the following statement:

“During an emergency like this, it’s important for us to coordinate response with our first responders. So, in coordination with the police and fire chiefs, we’ve developed a system for first responders to be alerted for COVID-19 cases in their community based on CDC guidance.”

"Remember that anyone might be carrying the disease," Acton said. "Even someone who has recovered can still be potentially shedding the disease."

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