PORTLAND, Ore. — The Oregon Health Authority refuses to reveal how many people in the state are being monitored for the coronavirus, now called COVID-19.
Spokesman Jonathan Modie said “there is a lot of stigma connected to the virus right now.”
He added that withholding the total number of people monitored would “protect the privacy of the individuals we are monitoring.”
He also cited a state law, ORS 433.008, which he said means “any information obtained by OHA or a local public health authority in the course of an investigation of a reportable disease or disease outbreak is confidential."
KGW is not asking for names or addresses, only seeking the entire number.
In comparison, the state of Washington posts on their public website the number of folks being monitored.
And in California, the California Department of Public Health reports 7,600 people statewide are self-monitoring.
Knute Buehler, a leading Republican in Oregon who is now running for Congress, and happens to be a medical doctor, issued a statement on OHA’s refusal.
“In times of serious disease outbreaks, where lives are at stake, government health officials must go the extra mile to share information with the public. Unfortunately, our state government does not have a culture of transparency. Now is not the time to be holding information back. It not only breeds distrust; it could cost lives,” Buehler wrote.