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...
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.