The below statement can be attributed to Colleen Connell, Executive Director, ACLU of Illinois:
“We laud Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle’s veto today – elevating long-term public health concerns over a short-term false sense of security. President Preckwinkle today embraced the guidance of County public health experts, rejecting a proposal approved last week to release private medical information about positive COVID-19 tests to law enforcement and other first responders.
The policy adopted by a narrow majority of the County Board endangered both first responders and all County residents. Because of a lack of adequate testing, first responders should approach every call with the notion that everyone is positive for the virus. Relying on testing as the only metric ignores the reality that the virus can be spread by those who are asymptomatic and that those tested positive and were treated may no longer spread the disease.
Most important, by creating lists of those who test positive to share with law enforcement and other first responders, the County may have discouraged many in Cook County from seeking testing and treatment. This fear will be especially pronounced in communities of color, the very populations that are being affected the most directly by COVID-19.
President Preckwinkle’s veto recognizes that a basic tenet of public health policy is adopting policies that encourage everyone to seek treatment during a pandemic, not discourage participation. Protecting private medical information is the type of policy that will encourage testing and treatment. We appreciate that President Preckwinkle recognized this reality.”