After lawsuit, health department releases COVID-19 faulty test kit emails

Carol M. Highsmith [Public domain, Wikimedia Commons]

After the Ohio Capital Journal filed a public records lawsuit, the state health department released several hundred pages of correspondence with the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

OCJ requested the correspondence on March 27, after then-Ohio Department of Health Director Amy Acton informed the public that a coronavirus test kit the CDC supplied ODH was faulty.

For several months, ODH neither produced responsive records, cited any exemption to Ohio public records law, nor offered a timeline to do so.

On June 15, the Ohio Capital Journal filed a complaint in the Ohio Court of Claims, arguing ODH’s actions amounted to an effective denial of the request.

About a month later, ODH produced hundreds of pages that detailed the CDC’s daily guidance as Ohio navigated a pandemic sparked by a virus it had no independent ability to detect in patients.

After ODH produced one additional email not included in its original response, this news outlet dismissed its lawsuit

An ODH spokeswoman did not respond when asked why it took 112 days and a lawsuit for the department to fulfill a records request.