In an abrupt change, Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm said Thursday that her agency will begin publishing as early as Friday or Saturday on the agency’s website the names of long-term care facilities where residents or staff have tested positive with COVID-19. To protect individual privacy, the agency will release only the names of facilities with 10 or more beds.
With the current level of concern, we believe it is important to balance value with government transparency and sharing information with the public. To that end, we decided to update that approach to share more information in long-term care facilities.
The turnabout comes amid growing public anxiety over the pandemic and highlights a sharp debate over how much the public should know about the spread of the virus. Many public health experts have argued that concerns over protecting the public, particularly vulnerable seniors, should take priority over individual privacy during the emergency.