Public good should trump privacy rights
I’m getting a little more upset with each passing day as the health department declines to identify people who have tested positively for COVID-19, citing the privacy of the patient. It seems this would be a time — perhaps the one and only type of time — when public safety should be paramount.
Think about this: A patient who tests positive for the coronavirus presumably tells the public health people where he or she has been and with whom he or she has been in contact. At least, I hope this would happen, so those people would have an opportunity to be tested themselves and take the appropriate action. Suppose, however, that the infected person forgot that he or she was in contact with you the other day. You’re not approached for testing, you get sick, and you subsequently infect other people.
In these dire situations, that person must be identified so that risk isn’t present. You should have the opportunity to say, “Oh, my. Mrs. Jones! I was talking to her over the fence the other day. I should get myself checked.” Or perhaps the infected person doesn’t tell authorities he or she was out and about one day because he or she had been overseas, and shouldn’t have been out and about, and is embarrassed to admit it. If aware of this person’s positive test, others could alert authorities, who could then act.