MDH set to release names of long-term care facilities with coronavirus cases; 11 of 18 deaths congregate living residents

Agency wrestling with patient privacy versus transparency

Sloane Martin
April 02, 2020 - 7:23 pm

Eleven of the state's 18 deaths have been residents of congregate living facilities. As soon as Friday Minnesota health officials could release the names of facilities that have recorded cases of coronavirus.

Department of Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm said Thursday the agency is gathering the data and is set to release it by at least Saturday. The facilities publicly named have to have at least 10 beds.

According to Macolm’s preliminary data, 47 separate facilities statewide have at least one case. Five have two and six have more than two. The largest is eight in one facility. Among those are 49 residents and 22 long-term care workers with confirmed positives. A little under half (24) have only resident cases an six have had a mix. Each case, whether it’s a staff member or resident ignites an elevated response due to the vulnerable populations.

Malcolm says the agency weighed patient privacy with transparency in making the decision to release more information.

“People working with our disease investigators are sharing sensitive personal information about their condition,” she said. “They need to have a measure of confidence that we will not use the information in any way that will expose them to unwanted attention or potential stigmatization.”

Congregate living health facilities include skilled nursing, assisted living, memory care, group homes and others like mental health and substance abuse treatment.

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