BOCA RATON — Who is infected in your neighborhood? Not your zip code. Not your town. But — in terms of Boca Raton, Delray Beach and Boynton Beach — your homeowner’s association.
That’s the question being asked of community managers throughout the area — all apparently forced to explain to homeowners that HiPAA , the federal regulation that protects patient privacy — applies in an HOA just as it does in a hospital.
“They don’t get it,” said a community manager who asked us to keep their name and community private. “Homeowners believe that they have a right to know if someone down the street has COVID-19. They don’t.”
The Florida Department of Health is reporting state, county and even statistics by zip code. But in Palm Beach County, where the 33446 zip code runs all the way from 441 to almost Military Trail, it’s a somewhat meaningless metric. The same is true with many other zip codes. 33428, for instance, covers a huge portion of “West Boca Raton” from 441 to the Everglades. Delray and Boynton have sizable zip code areas as well.
“What we fear,” said the community manager, “is rumors that start on a sidewalk in a community and end up on an HOA’s Facebook page. There’s huge legal liability there for a community and a ‘Scarlet Letter’ effect where someone will always be known as the ‘infected person.’ That’s not okay.”