A couple of weeks ago several news outlets including The Arizona Republic sued the ADHS arguing that they have a duty to disclose the number of COVID-19 cases and the supply and use of PPE in Arizona nursing homes and assisted living centers. The plaintiffs believe it’s of particular public interest because the majority of deaths in AZ have come from cases in these facilities.
The state has declined to disclose the information because they believe existing communicable disease confidentiality laws and language in ARS 36-783 (E) prevents them from disclosing the info. That exact language says:
… public health authorities shall maintain as confidential any information or a particular part of information provided under this section that, if made public, would divulge the trade secrets of a person or business or; other information likely to cause substantial harm to the person’s or business’ competitive position.
You can see the ADHS’ response to the suit here. Other arguments made by the agency include that disclosing the information will “Have deleterious effects in the community’s trust that the Department can prevent infectious disease.”
Friday the judge deferred to the Department and ruled that they can continue to not disclose which nursing homes and assisted living centers have cases and how many. However, CMS has suggested that they will be releasing these data in the coming days