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Is COVID-19 test data being shared with law enforcement agencies?
The Department of Health has instructed all local public health officers to share limited information about addresses where an individual has tested positive for COVID-19 (but not the names of any individual), as authorized by the State's Emergency Health Powers Act, while also restricting the use and dissemination of that information.
The directive comes in response to concerns raised by law enforcement agencies, which face a shortage of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) like N95 respirators, surgical masks, and face shields, when responding to calls at addresses where individuals have tested positive for COVID-19.
New Jersey Attorney General Grewal has issued further guidance to law enforcement officers across the state on appropriate use of information from local public health officers about positive COVID-19 tests in order to safeguard the health of officers while also protecting the privacy of those who are ill.
Law enforcement officers may only use this information received through the Computer Aided Dispatch (CAD) system for the limited purpose of protecting their health and safety and the health and safety of other officers responding to a call for service at an address where an individual has tested positive for COVID-19.
No state, county, or municipal law enforcement officer may use this information as a basis to refuse a call for service.
For more information, see Attorney General Law Enforcement Directive No. 2020.