FLORIDA, USA — As the global pandemic rages through our state, it's critical that our first responders stay healthy.
That's why The Volusia County Sheriff was angry when his access to information was cut off by the health department.
Sheriff Chitwood counted on the addresses of people with confirmed cases of the coronavirus to alert his deputies when they were at risk for exposure.
10 Tampa Bay looked into whether other county health departments were providing addresses to first responders.
Hillsborough, Manatee, Pasco, Pinellas, Polk, and Sarasota health departments did not respond to our inquiry but we got information from other agencies.
Hillsborough, Pasco, and Polk County sheriff offices all receive addresses from their county health departments.
These counties flag the addresses in their 911 systems so deputies and other first responders are made aware they could be exposed to someone with the coronavirus.
A spokesperson with the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office said they opted not to use addresses because it was an extensive list. Instead, they rely on COVID-19 screenings through 911 dispatchers.
Pasco, Polk, and Hillsborough 911 dispatchers are conducting COVID screenings on top of flagging addresses in the system.
We've reached out to the Florida Department of Health to see if they encourage local departments to share addresses with first responders. They have not gotten back to us.