by: AAMER MADHANI, KEVIN FREKING and RICARDO ALONSO-ZALDIVAR Associated Press

Posted: Mar 31, 2020 / 07:01 PM CDT / Updated: Mar 31, 2020 / 07:01 PM CDT

DOTHAN, Ala. (WDHN) — Alabama and Massachusetts are giving the address information of COVID-19 patients to police and first responders, according to a Vice News report sent to WDHN by the magazine.

According to Leah Missildine, executive director of Alabama’s 911 Board, the state began providing the addresses to protect first-responders from the virus.

“It’s only on an as-known, as-needed basis,” she told Vice News. “The impetus behind this is to protect first responders because 9-1-1 receives the information and coordinates the response of first responders. That was deemed the most efficient way to share this information.”

Alabama began sending the addresses without names more than a week ago. The Alabama Department of Public Health gives an address list to the 911 Board every day, who then gives the information to a designated response director if there are active cases in a district.

Arrol Sheehan, director of public information at the ADPH, told Vice that state law allows for third-parties to receive information on someone’s infectious disease if there is a risk of transmission.

Section 22-11A-38 of the Alabama Code details situations where disclosure is permittable and reads:

“Physicians or the State Health Officer or his designee may notify a third party of the presence of a contagious disease in an individual where there is a foreseeable, real or probable risk of transmission of the disease.”

The Code also states that those who are told about someone’s infectious condition must keep the information confidential and do only what is needed to protect that person’s health and the health of others.

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