Health officials to release names of long-term care facilities with outbreaks
Published 3:27 pm Tuesday, June 2, 2020
JACKSON — The Mississippi State Department of Health announced Tuesday it would begin listing the names of long-term care facilities involved in COVID-19 outbreaks beginning Wednesday. The move follows a series of legal setbacks for the department who had worked during the pandemic to keep the names of facilities from the public.
“After reviewing the recent Hinds County Chancery Court ruling regarding the release of possible protected patient information, the Mississippi Attorney General’s office has recommended that the Mississippi State Department of Health (MSDH) release the names of current long-term care facilities that have COVID-19 outbreaks,” the department said in a Tuesday afternoon release. “Beginning tomorrow, the names of these facilities will be posted on the MSDH website and updated daily. Please keep in mind the list will include the name and county of the facility only, not a breakdown of the number of cases associated with each facility.”
The department said any more in-depth information connected to long-term care facilities would pull staff away from the ongoing fight against the COVID-19 virus.
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“The Mississippi Public Records Act provides for the release of public documents already in existence, such as the list of LTCFs with COVID-19 outbreaks. Information requests for facility-specific data will have to be addressed at a later time,” the release said. “The MSDH is not currently able to pull frontline epidemiological staff to perform such queries as they are focusing on contact tracing and case investigations.”
As of Tuesday, the department was listing 37 confirmed COVID-19 cases connected to long-term care facilities in Warren County and seven virus-related deaths. But, the department does not yet provide details on which facilities those cases are connected or how many of those cases should be considered “presumed recovered.”
The 37 cases is a cumulative number from the start of the pandemic reporting in mid-March.