SC governor asks health agency to track COVID-19 cases in schools

FILE - In this Aug. 5, 2020, file photo, wearing masks to prevent the spread of COVID19,...
FILE - In this Aug. 5, 2020, file photo, wearing masks to prevent the spread of COVID19, elementary school students use hand sanitizer before entering school for classes in Godley, Texas. As schools reopen around the country, their ability to quickly identify and contain coronavirus outbreaks before they get out of hand is about to be put to the test.(LM Otero | AP Photo/LM Otero, File)
Updated: Aug. 10, 2020 at 1:27 PM EDT
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - Gov. Henry McMaster wants state health officials to collect information about COVID-19 cases in every school district in the state -- and report those numbers to the public daily.

In a letter dated Aug. 10, the governor asks the Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) to come up with a process that will keep patients’ identifying information private while gathering details on every COVID-19 case among students and staff members of South Carolina schools.

“It is my understanding that this information can be collected in a confidential manner and de-identified at both the school and school-district level,” McMaster wrote.

The governor wants DHEC to release the number of students and staff across the state who have COVID-19 each day.

“The disclosure of this information is in the public’s interest,” he said. “And it will ensure that parents, teachers and the public have accurate and authoritative information.”

Read his full letter:

On Monday, DHEC released the following statement:

“DHEC is currently reviewing the request and intends to begin working on a process to fulfill the governor’s request of the agency. DHEC remains committed to providing meaningful and actionable data in a way that is both transparent for the public and also protective of an individual’s privacy.”

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