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New Ohio law will limit health department’s ability to require masks and quarantines

Published: Aug. 5, 2021 at 8:23 PM EDT
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TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) - We probably won’t be seeing any statewide mask mandates regardless of what happens with the spread of COVID.

The state legislature is limiting control of the governor, the state health department, and local health departments.

Lucas County Health Commissioner Dr. Eric Zgodzinski says Senate Bill 22 paints local health departments into corners with its restrictions.

“It limits the ability to mandate masks. It also has a concern about quarantine and isolation.” That combined with House Bill 244 virtually eliminates any ability to issue blanket COVID regulations within the public health arena. “244 from what we can tell...You can’t discriminate. So you can’t make anybody wear a mask or you have to make everybody wear a mask.”

And while the health department supports the CDC recommendations to quarantine and isolate people with COVID and those who have been exposed, the legislation now restricts that as well. A person can only be quarantined if they have been exposed to a person with a medically confirmed diagnosis of COVID which leaves a lag time of a couple of days for test results. “You can imagine a disease that spreads rapidly in the community. And you’re not able to get in front of that because you cant use epidemiology and infectious disease criteria to be able to quarantine...that’s going to be difficult.”

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