Privacy preventing naming of business where new COVID-19 cases are clustered

SAFFORD — The recent upswing in positive COVID-19 cases in Graham County stemming from two people who share a workplace has a number of residents wondering why the county’s Health Department hasn’t shared the name of that business.

But Brian Douglas, Health Department director, said federal privacy laws preclude his agency from sharing that information.

“The business was a small business where the general public rarely visited. Because of that, and that we felt we that had our arms wrapped around those particular infected people, and through privacy, we didn’t step forward,” he said.

“If it was a larger business, where our community visited often, such as a Walmart or a Safeway, then yes, we would probably step forward and mention that.”

 He added that the location of the first cluster of two positive cases identified in March — centered around Pima schools — was not released by the Health Department; rather it was the school district that shared that information with the public.

Douglas went on to say that “as of today,” the Health Department does not see any new hot spots of COVID-19 popping up in the community.

“All of the positive cases that have been coming in over this past week and beginning of this week are all related,” he said.