Governor Walz issued an executive order this week aimed at assisting first responders in responding to calls. Executive order 20-34 allows the Department of Health to share the addresses of individuals who have tested positive for COVID-19 and are still contagious with the state’s Department of Public Safety, 911 dispatchers, and first responders in order to allow first responders to respond appropriately when calls involve a COVID-19 case.
There are a number of safeguards included in the executive order to protect the privacy of Minnesotans. Nothing but addresses are allowed to be shared, and the Department of Health will remove addresses from the list as soon as an individual is no longer contagious. The addresses will not be kept longer than necessary, and to the extent possible 911 dispatchers and first responders will rely on other sources of information, such as a caller screening protocols, before using the shared addresses. Only first responders who need the information to aid in infection control precautions will be given the data, and this data may not be used to refuse or delay a call for service.
Minnesota’s first responders are on the front line of the COVID-19 pandemic, and Senate DFLers, along with Governor Walz, are doing everything they can to keep first responders safe and informed.