COLUMBUS, Ohio)—Citing objections from health care professionals and business leaders as being detrimental to pandemic response and public health, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine today vetoed Substitute Senate Bill 311, stating in his veto message that “it is not in the best interest of protecting the health and safety of all Ohioans.”
The veto message included several comments from health experts opposing the measure:
- “One of the most concerning aspects of the COVID-19 pandemic is the ability of an individual to infect another person unknowingly during the asymptomatic or pre-symptomatic phase of the infection. If the ability of the Ohio Department of Health to only issue executive orders related to those already diagnosed with the infection or exposed to someone who is diagnosed, we fear that there will be millions of Ohioans put at risk given the risk of asymptomatic or pre-symptomatic spread,” said Dr. Andrew M. Thomas, Ohio State Medical Association Council member, during his testimony before the Ohio House of Representatives State and Local Government Committee.
- “The legislation takes away public health’s ability to be nimble in the response to the COVID-19 pandemic and will limit the ability of public health officials to respond to future infectious disease outbreaks and potential acts of bioterrorism,” Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff, Chief Medical Officer of the Ohio Department of Health, stated during his House testimony.
- “It’s possible that our number of COVID-19 patients could eventually exceed our hospital’s current capacity,” Dr. Jerry A. Mansfield, Chief Nursing Officer of Mount Carmel Health System stated during his House testimony. “Our staffing levels are stretched thin, and our team of physicians, nurses, and other staff are exhausted.”
- “The notion that action cannot be taken to prevent the spread of any of these serious illnesses to those who have not been directly exposed is contradictory to public health best practices that have been scientifically tested and verified over the past 100 years,” the Association of Ohio Health Commissioners during Ohio House testimony.
Below are links to Governor DeWine’s veto message and the messages received in opposition to SB 311.
- Substitute Senate Bill 311 veto message
- Joint letter from Ohio State Medical Association, Ohio Hospital Association, Ohio Children’s Hospital Association, American Academy of Pediatrics–Ohio Chapter, and Ohio Business Roundtable
- Opponent testimony from Association of Ohio Health Commissioners
- Opponent testimony from Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff, Chief Medical Officer, Ohio Department of Health
- Opponent testimony from Dr. Susan L. Koletar, renowned infectious disease physician
- Opponent testimony from Dr. Jerry A. Mansfield, Chief Nursing Officer, Mount Carmel Health System