Addresses of confirmed, contagious COVID-19 cases to be shared with first responders

First responders and 911 dispatchers can now be notified of the addresses where there is a positive and still contagious COVID-19 case under a new executive order from Minnesota Governor Tim Walz.

"These workers keep Minnesotans and their communities safe and help ensure that critical services continue to be provided—and it is imperative to protect their health and safety," read the order.

The Department of Health is now allowed to disclose the addresses through the Department of Public Safety to dispatchers and first responders. The health department must notify DPS when a person is no longer contagious.

"This decision is not taken lightly," read the order. "We must ensure that this health information is disclosed only to those who have an emergent need to know it, and we must implement safeguards to ensure that no one abuses this data."

Anyone who unlawfully shares the private information faces a misdemeanor.

Due to a shortage of tests, state officials have warned the amount of COVID-19 cases is higher than what has been confirmed. Because of this, the order states that first responders should follow precautions in every encounter and assume "everyone they meet may be a carrier" of the virus.