Coronavirus: Montgomery County sheriff not seeking patient addresses

Montgomery County Sheriff Rob Streck said his office will not be asking public health officials for the addresses of patients testing positive for COVID-19 like the sheriff in Butler County. CHRIS STEWART / STAFF
Montgomery County Sheriff Rob Streck said his office will not be asking public health officials for the addresses of patients testing positive for COVID-19 like the sheriff in Butler County. CHRIS STEWART / STAFF

Montgomery County Sheriff Rob Streck said his office will not ask the public health agency to provide the addresses of patients that test positive for COVID-19, unlike the sheriff of Butler County did this week.

“We’ve been dealing with people who have had infectious diseases for years that we haven’t known about because of confidentiality rules,” Streck said. “We have not asked our health department to do that.”

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Butler County Richard Jones earlier this week said he was disturbed the information wasn’t being shared by the health departments of the cities of Hamilton and Middletown and put first responders at risk.

“To have this information and not share with first responders is reckless,” Jones said.

Both agencies initially said they received federal guidance that such addresses should not be shared. But later, they said they would provide the addresses of those with positive tests after receiving updated information from a federal agency that it would not be inappropriate.

Streck said law enforcement and EMS crews have long taken measures to guard against contagious diseases when in the field.

“I understand the sheriff’s (Jones’) concern, but I hope our precautions, policies and procedures in place protect our deputies,” Streck said.

RELATED: Butler County sheriff criticizes health commissioners for not supplying quarantined addresses

As of Thursday afternoon, no law enforcement agencies or cities with first responders in Montgomery County had asked Public Health - Dayton & Montgomery County for such information, according to a spokesman for the health department.

Jones said the Butler County department has been able to enter quarantine addresses into the dispatch system so when fire, EMS or police are called to a location they can immediately notified that it is a known quarantine location. This data does not contain any names, just the location of those quarantined.

“I find this disturbing and unacceptable,” Jones said. “I may be sending police and life squad members to a quarantined location without their knowledge. I understand the need to treat everyone as if they have the virus, but realistically we do not have the personal protective equipment to wear on every call.

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Staff Writers Lauren Pack and Mike Rutledge contributed to this story.