Cook County Board votes to release names of suburban coronavirus patients to first responders

Coronavirus

COOK COUNTY, Ill. – The Cook County Board voted Thursday night to release the names of suburban coronavirus patients to first responders.

In response to suburban police and fire departments raising concerns about being able to protect themselves from COVID-19, commissioner Scott Britton sponsored a resolution to release the names of patients.

It passed in a close 9-7 decision.

Board President Toni Preckwinkle said she was profoundly disappointed by the vote. She said it would particularly impact the African American and Latinx communities.

Mayor Lightfoot took to Twitter to voice her displeasure and said it will never become law in Chicago.

County health officials said it would give first responders a false sense of security – since many people who are have the virus may be asymptomatic.

Britton said it will give first responders an extra layer of protection.

“35 states already allow this,” Britton said. “This is a very limited thing.”

A spokesperson for the ACLU calls it a dangerous violation of privacy that will undermine public health.

“This actually undermines public health because by creating this list, you discourage some people from getting care,” said ACLU Illinois Director of Communications Ed Yohnka said. “That’s how we’re getting out of this pandemic.”

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