Senate Approves Bill Requiring Reporting of COVID-19 Cases to First Responders

HARRISBURG – The Senate has approved a bill that would require the state to notify local first responders of COVID-19 cases in their communities, according to Senate Appropriations Chairman Pat Browne.

Senate Bill 1110 would require the Department of Health or a local health authority to release to 911 centers, police, fire, coroners and EMS personnel an individual’s communicable disease status when the disease is the subject of an emergency disaster proclamation by the Governor. The information must be relayed within 24 hours of the department or local health authorities receiving information of a confirmed case of a communicable disease. No information relayed by the state would violate HIPAA laws.

Local emergency responders have limited supplies of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to use when responding to calls. Senate Bill 1110 would help them better prioritize and target the use of that equipment so they can protect themselves in situations where they know they will be exposed to COVID-19 on the job. 

“Our first responders have continued to bravely serve our communities throughout this public health emergency,” Senator Browne said. “Given their position on the frontlines, we need to make sure that they have all available information when answering calls to ensure they can adequately protect themselves against COVID-19. This measure will have the added benefit of allowing them to better utilize and conserve their limited supplies of PPE materials.”

The bill was amended prior to final passage to require real-time reporting of COVID-19 cases and deaths in Pennsylvania’s nursing and personal care homes and assisted living facilities.

Senate Bill 1110 now goes to the House of Representatives for consideration.

CONTACT: Matt Szuchyt- mszuchyt@pasen.gov