Protecting first responders from COVID-19

NKY first responders want to know the location of COVID-19 patients

KENTON COUNTY (FOX19) - In the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, Kenton County first responders have an extra layer of protection thanks to Commonwealth Attorney Rob Sanders.

Effective immediately, Northern Kentucky Independent District Health Department will provide addresses of confirmed coronavirus cases to the county’s 911 center.

“COVID-19 presents a severe and complex threat to the public health, safety and welfare of citizens such that extraordinary emergency measures by the first responders are warranted and necessary," reads a copy of the agreement, signed Friday.

The U.S. is now the epicenter of the global pandemic with more than 100,000 case. A surge is expected in the coming weeks.

So far, Ohio has 1,137 cases and 12 deaths. Kentucky is reporting 302 cases and eight dead, and Indiana has 981 with 24 deaths.

Sanders wants to make sure public safety workers on the front lines - police, firefighters, paramedics - are as protected as possible, stay healthy and are able to keep responding to calls for service.

“By all means, if the health department knows someone is quarantined they ought to alert dispatchers. The first responders are the ones who are still going to go in," he told us earlier this week.

“We are asking first responders to conserve their personal protective equipment. You can’t expect them to do that if you are not telling them where the problems areas are. They ought to be protected and deserve to be protected and we ought to be warning them.”

The agreement will remain in force until the governor lifts the current a State of Emergency in Kentucky for COVID-19.

Kenton County Commonwealth Attorney Rob Sanders
Kenton County Commonwealth Attorney Rob Sanders (Source: Provided)

The issue came up this week in Butler County, too, but it was not worked out as quickly or smoothly as Kenton County’s.

Butler County Sheriff Richard Jones threatened to sue before the health departments in Hamilton and Middletown reversed course and agreed to so share address.

Ohio Department of Health Amy Acton has since informed Middletown’s health department in writing they are allowed to share the information.

A new, related law may be coming in Ohio.

State Rep. Haraz Ghanbari, R-Perrysburg, introduced HB 563 on Monday after first responders Lucas County learned through social media they were exposed to a patient who had coronavirus.

It was too late to fit it into the bill the Ohio General Assembly approved Thursday and Gov. Mike DeWine signed into law Friday, according to House Speaker Larry Householder.

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