McKeesport – April 29, 2020 – State Sen. Jim Brewster (D-Allegheny/Westmoreland) said today that he strongly backs legislation to require that 911 communication centers, police, fire and other first responders receive notification when a documented communicable disease is reported in their municipality.

The notification requirement would apply during health-related disaster declarations.

The legislation, Senate Bill 1110, passed the Senate today with a 47-3 vote.

“The men and women who respond to emergencies must have all available information about those in distress,” Brewster said.  “We need to help those seeking assistance — and protect frontline workers when they are on a call.

“Specific Information about those who have contracted COVID-19 or other communicable diseases must be available so first responders can both provide proper care and protect themselves.”

Brewster said the bill would mandate that the secretary of health or a local health official notify local 911 call centers, law enforcement, fire personnel, emergency medical services and others within 24-hours of receiving information about a confirmed case of a communicable disease during a health emergency. 

The bill also would require healthcare providers and nursing home administrators to report cases of communicable diseases during health emergencies to local health board or state Department of Health. The local agencies that received the notification would be required to keep the information confidential.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has opened our eyes about the need to open lines of communication during health threats,” Brewster said.  “Our first responders and frontline workers must be aware of health risks and take precautions to protect themselves.”

Brewster said the bill will now go the state House of Representatives for consideration.