Mastriano legislation would update Disease Prevention & Control Law

HARRISBURG – State Senator Doug Mastriano (R-33) intends to introduce legislation that would update Pennsylvania’s Disease Prevention and Control Law of 1955.

The proposal aims to revise restrictions that are preventing the state Department of Health from publicizing relevant data and details concerning the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Mastriano hopes the legislation enhances transparency that has been lacking in Pennsylvania.

“Currently, the law allows the Health Department to keep records and reports of contagious diseases strictly confidential,” said Mastriano. “Unfortunately, the Health Department has been using this outdated law to withhold life-saving information during the ongoing pandemic.  This change to the 1955 law only impacts information related to a pandemic.”

Mastriano circulated a co-sponsorship memo to Senate members Tuesday.

During the initial stages of the COVID-19 outbreak, state health officials were not providing the public with the total number of samples tested or the number of people quarantined after possible exposure.  The lack of information-sharing potentially exacerbated the crisis.

“It is disheartening that neighboring states have been more transparent about potential cases,” added Mastriano.

The state Senate commissioned a report on the Disease Prevention and Control Law in 2013, and several recommendations were suggested to lawmakers. Mastriano is seeking action on those recommendations.

: Scot Andrew Pitzer;

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