As More States Release COVID-19 Cases by Town, Maine Says It Could Take 6 Months
As more states continue to release information on the number and distribution of coronavirus cases, officials from Maine's public health agency claim that making tallies available to the public under the state's Freedom of Access Act could take as much as six months to produce in order to protect privacy rights. With more than 400 cities and towns in the state potentially affected by the pandemic, this information is vital in determining the hardest hit regions and coordinating the deployment of resources, and concerns over privacy present an "unrealistic scenario."
There is some debate about how useful the information is from a public health perspective. But a specialist in Maine’s open government laws, Sigmund Schutz, a partner at the law firm Preti Flaherty in Portland, said knowing how the state is tracking cases can shed critical light on its response to the virus.