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Assemblyman Erik Peterson. (Photo: Kevin Sanders for the New Jersey Globe)

Report: Judge rules Department of Health must release county-level data

Jacobson orders part of Republican assemblyman’s OPRA request filled

By Nikita Biryukov, May 26 2021 10:24 am

A Superior Court judge on Tuesday ordered the New Jersey Department of Health to release county-level virus data in response to an Open Public Records Act (OPRA) request filed by Assemblyman Erik Peterson (R-Franklin).

Superior Court Judge Mary Jacobson ruled the statistics sought by the Republican were public records that must be disclosed under OPRA, though she denied a request for emails sent by DOH any employees that contained certain keywords as over broad.

Law360 was first to report Jacobson’s decision, which will see county-level data used to calculate the state’s COVID-19 Activity Level Index scores between October and early April.

Several of the state’s restrictions, including ones limiting the operation of day programs for adults with disabilities, were tied to CALI scores, which marked high levels of virus activity for much of the period on which Peterson sought data.

In his records request, Peterson said he was wanted the data to understand how each region was assigned its CALI score.

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