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COVID-19 cases are not classified by city, CCHD explains why

Posted at 10:44 AM, Apr 04, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-05 11:19:29-04

GREAT FALLS — The Cascade City-County Health Department hosted a virtual Facebook Q & A session Thursday afternoon.

They addressed several public concerns, including the distinction of COVID-19 cases by county and not by city.

They explained that the reason they aren't disclosing more details about coronavirus cases, including the cities in which they originate, is to protect the patient’s right to privacy.

They stated on their Facebook page, “People want to know why we aren’t disclosing more details about the cases...The reason is, one of the fundamental rights of people living in the United States is the right to privacy.”

The Cascade City-County Health Department further explained that a patient’s right to privacy includes their place of residence, which could be determined by releasing the name of the city they live in.

“We don't tell you the city that they live in, because in Montana we have a lot of smaller cities. If we tell you there’s a case in a certain city, then it’s possible the community could identify the patient.”

For more information on the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, you can check out the CDC's publication.

As of Saturday morning (April 4), there have been a total of 265 confirmed cases of COVID-19 (coronavirus) in Montana.

Governor Steve Bullock said on Tuesday afternoon that 32 patients in Montana have recovered. No new numbers for recoveries have been released since then. Bullock said during a news conference on Friday that state officials are working to provide updated recovery numbers. There have now been 24 hospitalizations of COVID-19 patients in Montana. As of Friday evening, the DPHHS public health lab in Helena has completed 6,177 tests for COVID-19.

Bullock also said on Friday that his original "stay at home" order - issued on March 26 and running through April 10 - will likely be extended next week. If it is, Bullock said that it will likely run through April 29.

CASCADE COUNTY: As of Friday evening, there are 11 confirmed COVID-19 cases. They are 2 women between the ages of 20-29; 1 man between 30-39; 1 man between 40-49; 3 women and 2 men between 50-59; 1 man between 60-69; and 1 man between 80-89. KRTV has confirmed that at least one of those patients was hospitalized in Great Falls. The City-County Health Department in Great Falls continues working with the patients to determine who they may have been in direct contact with, and communicating with anyone who may have been exposed. The CCHD says that due to federal privacy laws (HIPAA), they will not release any other information about the patients, including where they live.

US/WORLD: According to Johns Hopkins University, the worldwide numbers as of Saturday morning are: 1,139,207 confirmed COVID-19 cases; 60,874 deaths; and 233,807 patients have recovered. The U.S. numbers as of Saturday morning are: 278,537 confirmed cases; 7,163 deaths; and 9,920 patients have recovered.


COVID-19 cases are not classified by city, CCHD explains why