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Contact Tracing: Some State Leaders Express Privacy Concerns

A way Indiana State Health leaders hope to fight the spread of COVID-19 isn't sitting well with some state representatives.

Posted: May 11, 2020 6:47 PM

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (WTHI) - One way Indiana State Health leaders hope to fight the spread of COVID-19 isn't sitting well with some state representatives.

In the past, we've reported on Contact Tracing. Leaders say it's a way to keep tabs on those affected by the virus, which they hope could properly contain it. Some leaders say it's stepping on civil freedoms.

Maximus is a private company. It will staff a call center of 500 Hoosiers. They will interview those who have tested positive for COVID-19 and notify their close contacts to tell them to quarantine. Those who are identified as close contacts will receive daily texts and phone calls asking for health updates and additional information.

"Contact tracing is a core component of any disease investigation," Indiana Health Commissioner, Dr. Kristina Box, said, "We've been doing this for well over 100 years in the state of Indiana."

Alan Morrison is House District 42's state representative. He says this is a step in the wrong direction. Morrison posted on Facebook expressing his concerns with the state's decision on contact tracing. Dr. Box addressed these concerns today. 

So the Indiana State Health Dept, via the Governor's office, has signed a one year contract with an independent...

Posted by Alan P. Morrison on Saturday, May 9, 2020

Morrison says his Facebook post was to inform people what was happening with the state's decision on contact tracing. He stated that this is a "unprecedented abuse of power, an invasion of privacy, and destruction of civil liberties" against the people of Indiana. 

"When we want to do something in the name of health and safety--especially with this--we're starting to see our constitution and Bill of Rights be trampled on," Morrison said.

His concern lies with Maximus, the third party helping with contact tracing in the state. He says the state doesn't have answers for what safeguards are in place to protect your privacy. Dr. Box says civil liberties are of the utmost importance to the state. 

"At all times, we protect individuals' privacy," she stated, "We don't provide the name of the positive patient. We don't share personal information with others. All information is held securely at the state level."

Morrison says he would like to see the state go in a different direction and place more emphasis on personal responsibility,

"With the contact testing, a lot of hospitals are already doing it, but it's voluntary and it's not through the government," Morrison concluded, "It's not the responsibility of the government to do it. In my opinion, this is a very intrusive way to go about this. I believe it needs to be addressed and changed."

Dr. Box and Governor Holcomb both said that this is the best way to slow the spread of COVID-19 in the Hoosier state. Morrison says he wants to see Governor Holcomb call a special session to let the state legislature discuss this. Morrison says he agrees that there is a need for contact tracing, but he calls this process very disheartening. 

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Vermilion9628132
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Ogle611181
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Jo Daviess181024
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Hancock175931
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Henderson52514
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Scott4781
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Out of IL20
Unassigned02351

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

(Widget updates once daily at 8 p.m. ET)

Cases: 732692

Reported Deaths: 13450
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion1002531746
Lake53931975
Allen40779678
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Hamilton35695408
Elkhart28695442
Tippecanoe22419219
Vanderburgh22332397
Porter18838309
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Warrick7789155
Floyd7672178
Grant7072174
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Boone6712101
Morgan6593139
Dubois6162117
Marshall6073111
Cass5826105
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Henry5758103
Noble562784
Jackson502773
Shelby493196
Lawrence4563120
Harrison436372
Gibson436092
DeKalb429285
Clinton427953
Montgomery425089
Whitley397139
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Steuben389457
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Jasper368248
Putnam361660
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Ripley340170
Jefferson331281
White314854
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Wells291881
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Posey271933
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Scott266954
Clay260547
Washington241632
Randolph241181
Spencer232431
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Starke217154
Fountain213046
Sullivan212042
Owen201956
Jay196330
Fulton195540
Carroll189420
Orange184154
Perry183537
Rush173725
Vermillion169643
Franklin168435
Tipton163045
Parke146416
Blackford135132
Pike134934
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Newton108134
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Martin89015
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Switzerland7938
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Ohio57111
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