Flossmoor wants first responders to have access to the addresses of individuals who have tested positive for the COVID-19 virus as they respond to emergencies.
The village board unanimously approved a resolution in support of this move at the May 4 meeting.
As part of a collective effort from the South Suburban Mayors and Managers Association, the resolution will be filed with the Cook County Board along with a letter of support. If approved it would allow the county’s Department of Public Health to notify first responders of locations where COVID-19 positive or persons under investigation may be located.
Village Manager Bridget Wachtel said this measure could help first responders reduce potential exposure to the virus.
“Although our public safety personnel are taking the highest precautions and wearing full [personal protective equipment] on EMS calls and other interactions with the public, the more our personnel is informed, the more prepared they can be,” she said.
DuPage, Will and McHenry counties are currently sharing this information for their 911 calls.
However, a Cook County Circuit Court judge last week ruled against a similar measure for a northwest suburban dispatch system that includes more than a dozen emergency departments. Some county officials, including Board President Toni Preckwinkle, have come out in opposition to the resolution.
“She thought that this was a balance between public benefit and privacy concerns, and she didn’t see the public benefit by requiring our first responders to know before they go into a home if it was COVID positive or not,” Flossmoor Mayor Paul Braun said of Preckwinkle’s position.
He called her opposition to the resolution surprising.
“While I respect President Preckwinkle’s position on this, I do think that the public benefit outweighs the privacy issues here,” Braun said. “Because our first responders do provide a public benefit. If our first responders go down, then the public can suffer at this point.”