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Privacy breach in contact tracing information

Chief Medical Officer (CMO), Dr Shawn Charles, is appealing to persons to refrain from using individuals’ contact details obtained from contact tracing log books, to make unsolicited calls.

This as several persons have complained on radio call-in programmes and on social media about getting calls from individuals who obtained their numbers from contact tracing log books.

One upset female, who took to social media, expressed rage using expletives claiming she was called by a male who expressed thanks to God for COVID-19 that he found her number in a log book and asked to take her out.

Subsequent comments under the post indicated for that and other reasons, persons enter incorrect information in the log books, which later can pose a problem during contact tracing.

Businesses, schools, hospitals, post offices and other public places are mandated to keep a log book of persons entering the establishment to assist health officials with contact tracing in identifying and informing persons who may have been exposed to a positive case of COVID-19. Persons are required to provide their name, address, phone number and the time they entered the establishment.

Dr Charles told this newspaper on Monday that this was not brought to his attention prior; however, he noted that it was unfortunate that people would do this, at this time.

He warned persons who control those log books that the information therein, is not for their personal use, but for contact tracing only by Ministry of Health officials.   

Dr Charles called on establishments to orient the persons who control these books and ensure the information is not used for any other purpose than contact tracing, and convey that they do not provide others with access to the information.

The CMO also called on individuals who receive unsolicited calls where they believe their number was obtained from such log books, to report it to the establishment so the matter can be dealt with.


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