The Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH) is considering a rule change to amend certain COVID-era reporting criteria that has some in the state sounding the alarm over "draconian tracking measures."
ADPH is hosting a public hearing on the rule change on Dec. 13, and an Alabama-based medical advocacy group, Health Freedom Alabama (HFA), is sounding the alarm on perceived problems with the rule and the mandatory reporting it requires.
For the most part, the new rule removes a large portion of CDC-required mandatory reporting requirements for medical professionals from the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the rule would retain portions that require mandatory reporting of positive and suspected positive cases of COVID for those in "congregate living facilities."
Congregate living facilities are defined as a "facility where persons reside and share common spaces with other residents," and "can include, but are not limited to, residential care facilities, assisted living facilities, intermediate care facilities, skilled nursing facilities, jails, prisons, shelters, mental health facilities, dormitories, and resident summer camps."
HFA, founded in the throes of the COVID-19 pandemic to fight vaccine passports, believes the rule will allow for the continued monitoring and tracking of Alabamians.
"We saw the horrifying repercussions of constant COVID testing reports over the past several years," HFA said in a statement. "The state health bureaucrats slammed us with daily numbers and manipulated the 'data' to keep our state under lock down which killed jobs, shut businesses, ended careers, closed churches, shuttered schools, masked our kids and isolated our loved ones in hospitals and nursing homes."
It continued, "This rule change would still apply to your children who go away to church camp for the week or your mother who needs to spend a couple of days at a rehab hospital after a bad fall. These draconian tracking measures would haunt your grandparents who are in assisted living homes potentially giving them a death sentence by isolation once again."
According to an ADPH spokesperson, HFA's claims are completely false, and the rule is meant to drop the majority of reporting requirements from the CDC.
ADPH said the new rule is simply rolling back previously mandated CDC reporting requirements, and the state only wants to maintain mandatory COVID reporting for higher-risk populations.
Despite ADPH's claims, HFA maintains that the information collected by the state is intrusive and dangerous.
The rule states that "Reports shall include, at a minimum: the name of the disease or health condition; the name, date of birth, sex, ethnicity, race, address, and phone number(s) of the person having said disease or health condition; the date of onset, date of laboratory result, and/or date of diagnosis of said disease or health condition; and name, phone number, and the facility affiliated with the reporter."
"The state could even require that these mandated health reporters submit more data about you in a supplemental report including vaccination status or private information about your family and children," HFA continued.
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