If you get tested for COVID-19 or you are contacted via contact tracing, you might be worried about the government having access to your information. All this information is protected health information, meaning it is confidential and has to stay private.
It is important to give, at minimum, an accurate phone number when you get tested. Not only does this ensure that you can get your test results, it is also a necessary step to make sure that the MDH can notify your contacts that they have been exposed as quickly as possible. All COVID-19 reporting from clinics/labs is secure and information is not shared with anyone other than the Minnesota Department of Health. The phone numbers are only used for case investigation and contact tracing and not shared with any other governmental entity.
If you test positive, you will be contacted by the Health Department and asked to provide some information. If you give the interviewer permission to share your address, it will be passed onto the Department of Public Safety 911 dispatch centers (not to law enforcement directly). This is done only so they can tell any first responders who might have to go to your address that they should use personal protective equipment. Your address will only be shared during the time you are in isolation. Every person has a right to refuse an interview from MDH or select questions they ask. It’s important to remember that MDH only asks questions that are necessary to slow the spread of COVID-19, and they will not ask any information related to immigration status or social security number. Participating in this process is a huge help for protecting communities across Minnesota.