Metro to roll out new system to share COVID-19 patient data with first responders

Lentz public health center mphd
Posted at 8:17 AM, Oct 09, 2020

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — First responders are often at risk of being exposed to COVID-19, and Metro Public Health is working on a way to make sure this doesn't happen when they go out on a call.

Metro is working to roll out a new system to warn first responders like police and firefighters about a positive case ahead of time.

On Friday, Metro's Department of Emergency Communications will wrap up testing of a new interface that will let first responders know if they're going to a home where there has been a positive case of coronavirus. It will use information from the department of health to cross-reference addresses of positive cases with the place they're headed.

The Metro Board of Health voted to end the controversial practice back in June, with a promise to work on this new database that incorporated both privacy for residents, and safety for front line workers.

Now a person's information will be kept in a secure database, and law enforcement will have everything they need without getting someone's name. City officials say so far, testing is going well.

"We successfully tested an interface between our Motorola computer-aided dispatch system and the department of health database to identify addresses and notify the dispatcher of addresses where a COVID positive patient is actively located. That is inside of that 14-day window,” said Stephen Martini, Director of Metro Emergency Communications.

The board of health is going to review the new program to double check that there are no privacy issues, and once that's settled training will start. That could happen as early as next week, with agencies like the Metro Police Department eager to use it.