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State program to share COVID-19 patient info with first responders will end May 31

The state program was meant to provide information about positive cases to keep law enforcement, firefighters and paramedics safe when answering calls.

A state mandate that allowed the Tennessee Department of Health to share personal information about people with COVID-19 with first responders will end soon.

The state program was meant to provide information about positive cases to keep law enforcement, firefighters and paramedics safe when answering calls.

In a note to legislators obtained by 10News, Gov. Bill Lee's legislative director Brent Easley said the program would end at the end of the month.

"As the supply chain for PPE has stabilized, and our understanding of COVID-19 has increased, the Department of Health has determined the continued disclosure of information regarding COVID-19 cases is no longer warranted. Therefore, effective Sunday, May 31, 2020, the department will cease disclosing this information," said Easley in the letter.

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Some health officials, including Dr. Martha Buchanan with the Knox County Health Dept, worried that making that personal information available could discourage some people from getting tested or cooperating with health officials.

Some agencies chose to opt-out of the program, including the Knoxville Police Department.

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