Wisconsin Supreme Court docket says COVID data will be launched

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — A divided Wisconsin Supreme Court docket on Tuesday mentioned the state well being division can launch knowledge on coronavirus outbreak circumstances, data sought two years in the past close to the start of the pandemic.

The courtroom dominated 4-3 in opposition to Wisconsin Producers & Commerce, the state’s largest enterprise lobbying group, which had sought to dam launch of the data requested in June 2020 by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and different information shops.

The state well being division within the early months of the pandemic in 2020 had deliberate to launch the names of greater than 1,000 companies with greater than 25 workers the place at the least two employees have examined optimistic for COVID-19.

Wisconsin Producers & Commerce, together with the Muskego Space Chamber of Commerce and the New Berlin Chamber of Commerce, sued to dam the discharge of the data, saying it might “irreparably hurt” the reputations of their members. It argued that the data being sought is derived from diagnostic check outcomes and the data of contact tracers, and that such data constitutes personal medical data that may’t be launched with out the consent of every particular person.

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Attorneys for the state argued that the data contained combination numbers solely, not private data, and might be launched.

A Waukesha County circuit decide sided with the enterprise group and blocked launch of the data. A state appeals courtroom in 2021 reversed the decrease courtroom’s ruling and ordered the case dismissed, saying WMC failed to point out a justifiable cause for concealing the data.

WMC appealed to the state Supreme Court docket, which upheld the decrease courtroom’s ruling.

A spokesman for the enterprise lobbying group didn’t instantly return a message searching for remark Tuesday.

The ruling was written by Justice Rebecca Dallet, who was joined within the majority by two different liberal justices and conservative Justice Brian Hagedorn, who is usually a swing vote. The opposite three conservative justices dissented.

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