Location, age, gender of positive case being withheld

Monday, March 30, 2020

The location, age and gender of the person in Barry County who tested positive for COVID-19 (coronavirus) will be withheld to protect the person's identity.

“We are not releasing the age, gender or location because we only have the one case,” said David Compton, Barry County Emergency Management director. “We typically will release ages and genders of groups of patients, but not just one patient. If given the choice, we fall on the side of caution. We’ve seen instances throughout the country where people were able to identify an individual and have done things to that person. In one case, people cut down a tree on one person’s property and kept the person from leaving their home.

There are two problems with releasing the location, Compton said.

"One, it is a small enough area where the person could potentially be identified, and two, we fear people may take location information and use it not for its real value. We don’t want people to avoid XYZ area because the case is there, but we also don’t want people to relax and think they are in the clear because XYZ area is far away from them. First responders do have the information in case they are called to that location.”

Compton said for people worried about if they have been in the same location as someone with coronavirus, any person going to a store or in public should keep a distance of six feet from others. If worried about getting the virus from an item at a store, the person should clean off all items purchased once at home and wash his or her hands for at least 20 seconds.

Barry County Health Department, as part of the disease investigation, has notified any close contacts with the individual. A total of eight people have been identified as having close contact with the positive individual. Those eight people are practicing in-home isolation for 14 days or until a negative test is returned.

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