‘Self-Disclosure’ Only Way Who’s Infected Would Be Released, Chairman Says

‘Self-Disclosure’ Only Way

Who’s Infected Would Be

Named, Chairman Says

County Will Also Release Countywide Stats


COOPERSTOWN – Saying “most people understand HPPA and privacy implications,” county board Chair Dave Bliss told his colleagues today Otsego County residents will only be given gross numbers about the coronavirus infestation.

However, he said, individuals and families may “self-disclose,” he said.

Some larger counties are releasing data by town, but “guidance from the state is that smaller counties with smaller population have the right not to disclose, which is what we’ve decided to do,” since people might be able to determine who the individuals are.

The county is required to tell a town’s “chief elected officer” if someone in his or her jurisdiction become infected, but the county won’t share that information with anyone else, he said.

He said individuals can decide to “self-disclose,” mentioning state Sen. Jim Seward and his wife, Cindy, did earlier this week, “which is great.  That’s up to the individual; that’s not our decision to make.”

In the county’s first coronavirus-related – Brenda L. Utter, 63, of Morris, last Thursday, March 24 – the family released the details in her obituary:  the cause of death, the place of residence, and where she had formerly worked.

Bliss said the numbers are further complicated because they are tallied by home address.  Some people who are being treated here are being counted in other counties; some local people being treated elsewhere are tallied here.

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