Wonder why details of the coronavirus cases are confidential in South Dakota?

Capitol News Bureau

FILE – In this Wednesday, March 11, 2020 file photo, a technician prepares COVID-19 coronavirus patient samples for testing at a laboratory in New York’s Long Island. Wide scale testing is a critical part of tracking and containing infectious diseases. But the U.S. effort has been plagued by a series of missteps, including accuracy problems with the test kits the CDC sent to other labs and bureaucratic hurdles that slowed the entrance of large, private sector labs. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

PIERRE, S.D. (KELO) — Governor Kristi Noem and other public officials can’t give out names or other details about who’s been tested for COVID-19.

Why? South Dakota law doesn’t allow it.

A statute specifically prohibits the release of nearly all information on mandatory communicable disease reports that come from physicians, laboratories, and institutions.

That’s according to Maggie Siedel, the governor’s policy director.

The ban has been in effect since at least 1989.

In 2003, at the request of the state Department of Health, lawmakers approved an exception to prosecute people for purposely spreading HIV.

That came after a 2002 case involving a student at Si Tanka University in Huron.

On Sunday, the governor announced six new positive tests of the coronavirus in Beadle County.

Huron is the county seat.

Beadle County now has 10 of South Dakota’s 21 cases of COVID-19.

The seventh new case is in Brown County.

For more information go to covid.sd.gov.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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