A New York State bill (S.8450C/A.10500C), which aims to safeguard the confidentiality of COVID-19 contact tracing information, passed in the State Senate on July 23, 2020, and will soon be transmitted to Governor Andrew Cuomo for his signature or veto.
The bill, which passed in the State Assembly two days earlier, would amend New York’s public health law to require COVID-19 contact tracers and contact tracing entities keep confidential any information that includes or can reveal the identity of: (i) an individual with a confirmed or probable COVID-19 diagnosis; or (ii) his or her possible contacts who may or may not have been exposed to or infected with COVID-19. Under the bill, contact tracers may only disclose the protected information to facilitate further contact tracing or in other limited circumstances, such as disclosures to health care providers if an individual is in immediate need of medical attention and obtaining consent to the disclosure would jeopardize his or her life or health.
In addition, the bill:
When the bill is formally transmitted to Governor Cuomo, he will have ten days (not including Sundays) to sign or veto. If enacted, the law will become effective immediately upon signature. Our team will continue to monitor the bill’s progress and report on significant developments. For additional information regarding the COVID-19 pandemic, visit Morrison & Foerster’s COVID‑19 Resource Center.