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Case challenging Ohio’s COVID numbers continues with lawsuit by Kathryn Huwig

(WKBN) – A lawsuit that has made its way to the Ohio Supreme Court and connected to Ohio’s COVID-19 data during the pandemic is ongoing.

The case filed by July 26, 2023, by Kathryn Huwig, who has challenged the data, was sent to mediation in September 2023, but the Court ruled Tuesday to send the case back to the regular docket to be decided.

Huwig, who ran social media groups documenting Ohio COVID data, hosted podcasts and testified on House Bill 90, which sought to limit the powers of the governor during health emergencies, said that the Ohio Department of Health withheld data from her.

In her Feb. 23 testimony about HB 90, Huwig was critical of the data provided by ODH for which Governor Mike DeWine relied on when issuing emergency COVID-19 orders. She said the data was “sloppy,” specifically mentioning post-mortem infections and other clerical errors in the data, among other issues including the “meaning of the cases, hospitalizations and deaths.”

Following her February testimony, Huwig also testified at a March 9 hearing, however, she claims that on March 2, ODH changed the data on its website, which Huwig referenced in her February testimony and that “precluded her from making further analyses like those in her February 23 testimony,” Huwig’s attorney wrote in the complaint.

Huwig requested data dictionaries from ODH for the death and vaccination database, which were provided. Later, she asked for data for selected fields from that database, which covered several years but were then limited to 2021. Huwig says ODH declined her request saying it would need to create a new record and would require the release of personal health information.

Huwig said she resubmitted her requests to avoid any conflict and wanted ODH to explain how it accessed the records so she could “cure any issues” and asked for all personal information of patients to be redacted. ODH declined her request saying it was “overbroad,” according to the complaint.

Other requests were subsequently submitted to ODH by Huwig but those were also denied, according to the complaint.

Huwig claims that ODH “has a clear duty to comply with R.C. 149.43(B) by making requested records available for public inspection and by providing the requested information regarding maintaining and accessing such records. “

The case was turned over to mediation by the Ohio Supreme Court in September 2023. The case has now been returned to the regular docket with the Ohio Department of Health Director Bruce Vanderhoff and Judith Nagy, state registrar of the Office of Vital Statistics, having to respond to the complaint within 21 days.

Huwig attended Case Western University and Stanford University, majoring in Planetary Geology and Evolutionary Biology. Her course of study also focused on the epidemiology and evolution of human diseases.

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