On April 10, 2020, the McHenry County Sheriff (Sheriff), and the City of McHenry, the Village of Algonquin, the City of Woodstock, and the Village of Lake in the Hills obtained a temporary restraining order (TRO) requiring the McHenry County Department of Health to disclose the names and addresses of people residing in McHenry County who tested positive for COVID-19 to the McHenry County Emergency Telephone System Board (Telephone System Board).
The Department appealed, and the appellate court ruled in the Department’s favor and dissolved the TRO in McHenry County Sheriff v. McHenry County Department of Health, 2020 IL App (2d) 200339.
The appellate court held that although the Department had the discretion to release the requested medical information under a HIPPA exemption and similar guidance issued by the Illinois Department of Public Health and the Attorney General’s Office, plaintiffs had no right to the information. Since plaintiffs failed to establish even an arguable right to the information, let alone a fair question, the appellate court ruled that the motion for a TRO should not have been granted because the HIPPA exception permitted, but did not require, the Department to release protected health information.
Post Authored by Eugene Bolotnikov, Ancel Glink