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How much information should health departments release regarding coronavirus patients?

Why can't Shelby County give basic information but other health departments can?

MEMPHIS, Tennessee —

In Monday’s Ransom Note: patient privacy versus the public's right to know.

There’s an interesting debate in the age of coronavirus in Tennessee. When we learned of the first case, they told us the patient was a 44-year-old man from Williamson County, that he was on a non-stop flight from Boston to Nashville, and that he was the parent of a student at Battle Ground Academy but that his case is mild and he is self-isolated at home.

Sunday we learned of two more cases: a Nashville woman in her 50s, whose illness doesn't appear to be travel-related and she has no kids in school. But the same day, we received word of a Shelby County patient.

Officials did not reveal the patient’s age or gender, only that he or she had traveled to another state but they can't even tell us which one because it's not relevant.

The case here is the only one requiring the patient to be hospitalized in isolation and has caused 70 others to be quarantined.

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RELATED: Germantown Municipal Schools: some parents who traveled internationally are self-quarantining themselves and their children

There is a fine line here, but why is fairly generic information such as gender, age, or where they traveled private? Why can't Shelby County give basic information but other health departments can?

Join the conversation by email (rransom@localmemphis.com) or my Facebook and Twitter pages.

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