by J.D. Davidson
Health care centers and medical professionals are free from liability related to the COVID-19 pandemic under a new Ohio law signed by Gov. Mike DeWine.
Among other things, the new law temporarily grants qualified civil immunity to health care isolation centers to protect medical professionals from liability claims throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. It also expands the authority of emergency medical technicians to provide medical services in hospitals, if needed.
“We remain focused on providing relief, care and flexibility to Ohioans as we navigate the COVID-19 pandemic,” Senate President Larry Obhof, R-Medina, said. “This legislation removes unnecessary bureaucracy to care and services during a health crisis.”
It comes at a time when Ohio faces record-breaking COVID-19 cases and hospitals statewide continue to struggle with a growing number of patients and stresses on health care workers.
The state showed more than 12,000 COVID-19 positives Monday, but those numbers also contain positives from two labs that, due to technical issues, were not able to report data for two days.
At the same time, hospital officials continue to warn of the stress placed on both their facilities and their employees.
At the Cleveland Clinic, according to Dr. Robert Wyllie, 970 health care workers are out because they are either in quarantine or they have active COVID-19 cases. Wyllie said those workers did not catch the virus at the hospital, but rather in the community.
On Tuesday, DeWine also signed into a law a bill that extends the expiration date of driver licenses, identification cards and vehicle registration past Dec. 1. At the beginning of the pandemic, the state extended most things associated with the Bureau of Motor Vehicles. Now, the same extensions have been increased.
If an expiration date is March 9, 2020-April 1, 2021, the expiration date is automatically extended and will remain valid until July 1, 2021.
And on Monday, DeWine signed into law a bill that allows boards of trustees for Ohio’s public universities to meet electronically.
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An Ohio native, J.D. Davidson is a veteran journalist with more than 30 years of experience in newspapers in Ohio, Georgia, Alabama and Texas. He has served as a reporter, editor, managing editor and publisher. Davidson is a regional editor for The Center Square.