Minnesota health department email mishap exposes hundreds of COVID-19 patients' personal info 

The Minneapolis city attorney's office is claiming that Minnesota's health and public safety departments have breached hundreds of COVID-19 patients' personal information since August, according to local ABC affiliate KSTP.

Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz issued an executive order in April that allowed the Minnesota Department of Health and the Minnesota Department of Public Safety to share addresses of COVID-19 patients with first responders throughout the state, according to the Sept. 28 report.

Under the order, the health and public safety departments were instructed to follow specific protocols to preserve patients' identities, including sending COVID-19 patients' addresses via encrypted emails and only to the 911 dispatch centers close to where patients lived.

In a Sept. 24 letter to the departments, the Minneapolis city attorney's office said that Minneapolis has received addresses for "what appears to be the entire state" since Aug. 18, according to the report. The letter also claimed that emails were sent to 193 recipients, which appears to be the number of 911 dispatch centers in Minnesota.

On Sept. 25, the state's public safety department sent an email to every 911 dispatcher in Minnesota saying that the department is "pausing providing ECN with residential and long-term addresses and remove lists to allow time to review and assess the resource needs of this activity."

Minnesota State Rep. Peggy Scott told the station the breach is "a very serious matter" and called for either a department of public safety audit or external audit to investigate the breach.

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