DAILY METRO COVID19 PRESS UPDATE
Contact Name: Chris Song
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Date: June 8, 2020
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Mayor John Cooper’s office issued the following announcements regarding Metro’s citywide coronavirus (COVID-19) monitoring and response efforts in coordination with area hospitals, healthcare providers, medical colleges, and other community partners.
METRO PUBLIC HEALTH DEPARTMENT
Metro Public Health Department officials announced today a total number of 6,228 confirmed cases of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Nashville/Davidson County, an increase of 72 in the past 24 hours.
The confirmed cases range in age from 1 month to 100 years.
A total of seventy-two (72) people have died after a confirmed case of COVID-19. 4,741 individuals have recovered from the virus.
Available hospital beds: 31 percent
Available ICU beds: 29 percent
The MPHD COVID-19 Hotline received 27 calls on Sunday, June 7, 2020.
Total number of cases: 6,228
Cases reported in the past 24 hours: 72
Cases by sex
Total Cases by age
|Total active cases||1,415|
|Total number of tests administered||Total positive results||Total negative results||Positive results as percentage of total|
Health officials remind everyone to take steps to stop the spread of germs like COVID-19. These include:
- Practice social distancing as defined by the CDC (6 feet of distance from others). Do not gather in groups larger than 25.
- Wear a cloth face covering when in a community setting, especially in situations where you may be near people. These face coverings are not a substitute for social distancing.
- Stay at home as much as possible. People over 65 years of age or whose health is at risk should remain at home unless absolutely necessary.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water. Use alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth.
BRIDGING THE EDUCATION DIGITAL DIVIDE
Mayor John Cooper is directing $24 million in funding from the federal CARES Act to provide every public school student in Nashville-Davidson County with a laptop and, for students who need it, internet connectivity.
“The coronavirus has highlighted a vast digital divide in our community,” said Mayor Cooper. “Those who do not have the means to continue their education, engage with their teachers and peers, and benefit from free programs offered by Metro and our partners are placed at a clear, and early, disadvantage. We are making an historic investment in our public school students and empowering our educators to help bridge the digital divide that most often affects MNPS families in Nashville’s historically underserved neighborhoods.”
“As our Board of Education knows, the digital divide is one of the biggest challenges facing our schools and because of the leadership of Mayor John Cooper, we are taking a huge step forward for equity,” said Dr. Adrienne Battle, Director of Metro Nashville Public Schools. “This investment and these devices will make a big impact on our students’ lives, and we can’t thank Mayor Cooper enough for making that possible.”
“I want to thank Mayor Cooper for this exciting investment in Nashville’s children and in Nashville’s future,” said Amy Frogge, MNPS Board Member. “Ensuring that our students have access to computers and to the internet is a huge step towards a more equitable city, where all our children have the tools they need to succeed.”
“I am thankful that Mayor Cooper and MNPS are working together to begin to address the digital divide in Nashville by providing devices and hotspots for all MNPS students,” said Councilwoman Delishia D. Porterfield (District 29). “Students have a right to a quality education regardless of their socio-economic status. Neither your zip code nor your family’s income should determine the quality of education you receive but for so many of our students, this is a harsh reality.”
This investment is sufficient for Dell Computers to provide Metro Nashville with up to 90,000 laptops for the projected 84,740 students who will be enrolled in traditional and charter schools in the upcoming school year. The cost of each computer will be just above $200 per device, a significant reduction from their list price.
Laptops are only useful to the extent that students using them can connect to the internet. Earlier this summer, MNPS surveyed families to determine how many families had access to the internet. Fifteen percent of families who responded to the survey reported that they did not have internet access. Adjusting for no respondents, MNPS has estimated that 20 percent of their families lack internet access.
To meet the needs of these families, the $24 million is also sufficient to pay for up to 17,000 mobile internet hotspots. MNPS is entering into an agreement that will provide students with mobile internet hotspots. Metro is still negotiating with vendors, but the cost of the internet hotspot service would be no more than $20/month, a significant reduction from their list price. Hotspot devices will be distributed to students along with their laptops.
METRO HEALTH DATA SHARING POLICY UPDATE
At the urging of Mayor John Cooper, the Metro Public Health Department is updating procedures with additional safeguards when sharing data about confirmed COVID-19 cases for use by first responders. Once implemented, name and address data of COVID-positive individuals will reside exclusively on a secure Public Health Department server with limited access by first responders, and the data will be kept on the server for a maximum of 14 days, removed as soon as quarantine periods expire.
At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Metro Public Health Department began sharing names, addresses and quarantine or isolation periods (seven or fourteen days) for COVID-positive individuals with the Metro Nashville Police Department (MNPD) and Department of Emergency Communications (DEC). DEC retained the data for 120 days, in accordance with standard operating procedure. MNPD retained data for up to 14 days, after which time the data was purged.
Currently, the Metro Public Health Department shares the names, addresses and quarantine or isolation periods (seven or fourteen days) for COVID-positive individuals with the Metro Nashville Police Department (MNPD). The MNPD removes names, verifies addresses, and then provides addresses only to the Department of Emergency Communications (DEC). DEC’s data retention policy was modified to require purging data after 30 days instead of 120 days. MNPD currently uploads the names of COVID-positive residents into its record management storage (RMS) system. Those names are checked daily against Public Health Department records and removed from the RMS system when quarantine orders expire. In addition, MNPD reviews names once a week to ensure that only active COVID-positive residents’ data remains in the system.
The data-sharing practice was originally implemented by Metro Public Health to safeguard first responders and prevent the spread of COVID-19, including within our public safety departments. While first responders are required to wear face coverings at all times, having access to this data allows first responders to take additional precautions such as wearing high-grade PPE (e.g., N95 masks). There is also an urgent need to protect institutions at high risk of COVID-19 spread, such as hospitals and jails. As of June 5th, Metro first responders’ access to the data had resulted in 268 instances of a positive search.
Today, in response to privacy and data security concerns, we are introducing additional data-security safeguards. Bulk data of names and addresses of COVID-positive individuals will no longer be shared with MNPD. Instead, a technical working group led by Metro ITS will work with Public Health to create an auditable process by which a secure database within MNPH is securely accessed to retrieve the minimum necessary information to assist in public safety.
The technical working group, which will consist of representatives from Public Health, MNPD, NFD, ITS, and the Department of Emergency Communications (DEC), will work with Metro’s emergency dispatch vendor, Motorola, to allow first responders to 911 calls to submit single queries to the Public Health database. These individual reviews of an address will generate a simple “yes/no” answer to the question of whether a COVID-positive person lists that address as their residence. Names will only be subject to review in the event the individual is being transferred either to a hospital or to booking; this is to prevent spread within our hospitals and jail. Additional details on the timeline will be available later this week, after the technical working group’s meeting. This new workflow will be thoroughly documented and available to members of the public. The Director of Public Health will report back to the Board of Public Health and the Metro Council as soon as the new workflow is in place.
This policy strikes a balance that addresses privacy and data security concerns while protecting the safety of our first responders. This policy will protect data and prevent any entities outside of Public Health from performing bulk searches of COVID-19 name and address data. This policy will preserve the ability for first responders such as Fire, EMS, and Police to take additional precautions (maximum PPE use and/or distancing protocols) when interacting with and transporting COVID-positive residents to institutional settings. If a first responder responds to a call at a positive address or otherwise engages with a positive individual, they know that such information is not for public dissemination and is only for official use. Unauthorized dissemination is a violation of policy, and Metro has the capability of auditing who accessed a particular record.
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