Waterloo regional police get access to COVID-19 status results
If officer is approaching an individual, they can check data for positive COVID-19 test
Police in Waterloo region will be able to access a database with COVID-19 status information, for the remainder of the State of Emergency in Ontario.
The Waterloo Regional Police Services Board unanimously passed the policy at its meeting on Wednesday, allowing officers to check whether a person they come in contact with has tested positive for COVID-19.
"This is extremely important for the safety and protection of our frontline workers, in particular our frontline police officers who are dealing with potential exposures," said police chief Bryan Larkin.
'Cannot be used for any other purpose'
This week, Ontario Premier Doug Ford extended the state of emergency until May 12. The order, which was initially declared last month, opens the door to police services in the province accessing COVID-19 status information.
According to the policy, the Ontario Ministry of the Solicitor General sent a memorandum to all Ontario police service boards last week encouraging police chiefs to develop procedures related to the disclosure of COVID-19.
Police emphasize the confidential information can only be used to protect frontline responders and the community.
"The disclosure of personal health information related to the COVID-19 (positive) status of an individual, must only be used to prevent, respond to or alleviate the effects of the COVID-19 emergency," the policy summary says. "The information cannot be used for any other purpose."
According to police, they will take the COVID-19 status information off police records within six months of the end of the state of emergency.