Arizona court upholds decision to not release COVID records for book

Jan 1, 2022, 9:00 AM
(Pexels photo)...
(Pexels photo)
(Pexels photo)

PHOENIX (AP) — An Arizona appellate court has upheld a lower court’s decision to deny a request for COVID-19-related medical records it said could include information that should be kept private.

J.D. Ball of Scottsdale represented himself in a lawsuit initially filed in Maricopa County Superior Court against the Arizona Department of Health Services in 2020 after it refused to provide him with documents he requested concerning the coronavirus outbreak.

Ball argued he needed the information for a book he was writing about COVID-19 so he could “source the data” because he believed there “is no public health emergency in the state of Arizona.”

A telephone number registered to a J.D. Ball in metro Phoenix rang unanswered Friday. A message addressed to an email address associated with that name was not immediately returned.

A three-judge Arizona Court of Appeals panel said in its decision Tuesday that in addition to death certificate data, “Ball specifically requested data concerning confirmed cases, hospitalizations, laboratory testing, hospital bed usage and availability, ventilator usage and availability, and ‘COVID-19 specific metrics.’”

The appellate court said that the broad categories Ball laid out “include medical information that falls under the definition of medical records.” It said that even if identifying data for patients were redacted as he suggested, “a danger remains that patient identity could be inferred.”

The ruling also said Ball also demanded answers to “administrative, political, and scientific questions” that had nothing to do with the requesting of public records.

Ball sued after the Arizona Department of Health Services denied his request for the records it used when preparing its publications about the disease, including an online dashboard.

The state health agency said it could not divulge private medical information, communicable disease information, or death certificates.

Ball countered that he didn’t want personal health-related data, “only public records proving that COVID-19 ‘exists as a pandemic virus’ and is a communicable disease in Arizona.”

Arizona has reported over 1.3 million cases and more than 24,000 deaths from the coronavirus during the pandemic.

On Friday, the state reported over 7,700 additional confirmed COVID-19 cases, the most reported on a single day since last January. State officials said earlier this week that some daily reports of additional cases would be larger than normal because of reporting delays over the Christmas weekend.

Friday’s report of 7,720 additional cases is more than double Arizona’s latest seven-day rolling average of daily new cases. That rolling average doesn’t include cases reported Friday or the 5,687 on Thursday.

Lifetime Windows & Doors

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Pass it along to the KTAR News team here.

Arizona News

(Match Market & Bar Photo/Timothy Fox Photography)...

What’s cooking? Spring Arizona Restaurant Week starts 10-day run Friday

More than 100 restaurants have signed on to show off their menus during Arizona Restaurant Week, which kicks off Friday.
13 hours ago
(Photo by: Lindsey Nicholson/UCG/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)...
Danny Shapiro

Phoenix gas average eclipses $5 a gallon with more increases likely this summer, expert says

Phoenix has eclipsed an average of $5 for a gallon of gasoline and prices are likely to continue rising for a while, an industry expert said Wednesday.
13 hours ago
(Pixabay Stock Photo)...

Bicycle rider dies after getting hit by car on Phoenix street

A man who was riding a bicycle died after getting struck by a car Tuesday night on 51st Avenue near Camelback Road in Phoenix, authorities said.
13 hours ago
U.S. Sen. Mark Kelly (D-Arizona) meets with a Border Patrol official in Douglas, Arizona, in April ...
Kevin Stone

Here’s what Sen. Mark Kelly of Arizona wants to see before Title 42 is lifted

U.S. Sen. Mark Kelly of Arizona said there will be chaos at the southern border if Title 42 ends before the government is prepared to address the surge of migrants expected to follow.
13 hours ago
(Phoenix Fire Department Photo)...

More than 150 firefighters beat back flames at Phoenix pallet yard

More than 150 firefighters spent hours putting out a large fire at a pallet yard late Tuesday, first responders said.
13 hours ago
(Pexels Photo)...
Danny Shapiro

Chandler is No. 1 nationally for increase in 2-bedroom rent, according to report

Chandler is tops nationally for increase in two-bedroom rent, according to a report released Friday.
13 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Christina O’Haver

Stroke month: Experts call attention to stroke prevention

Every 40 seconds—that’s how often someone has a stroke in the United States. It’s the fifth leading cause of death among Americans, with someone dying of a stroke every 3.5 minutes.
Canvas Annuity

The secret to guaranteed retirement income

Annuities aren’t really a secret, but they are so misunderstood that they might as well be. Once you understand what an annuity is and how it can benefit you, you could decide this “secret” is the perfect supplement to your retirement plan.
(Twitter photo / Coco5)...

Suns star Devin Booker’s all-natural sports drink Coco5 perfect for any activity

Devin Booker is leading the Suns in pursuit of their first NBA championship while also working to provide people proper hydration with Coco5.
Arizona court upholds decision to not release COVID records for book