Ohio health director resigns after pandemic frustrations

Ohio Department of Health Director Dr. Amy Acton walks into her daily coronavirus news conference on Friday, April 17, 2020 at the Ohio Statehouse in Columbus, Ohio. (Doral Chenoweth/The Columbus Dispatch via AP)

Dr. Amy Acton has resigned as Ohio’s health director, Gov. Mike DeWine said Thursday, capping a contentious few months as the target of frustrations during the coronavirus pandemic that included gun-carrying critics showing up at her home.

Posted: Jun 11, 2020 5:10 PM

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Dr. Amy Acton has resigned as Ohio’s health director, Gov. Mike DeWine said Thursday, capping a contentious few months as the target of frustrations during the coronavirus pandemic that included gun-carrying critics showing up at her home.

Acton was most recently sued by organizers of music festivals and restaurant owners as the slow reopening unfolded.

“I really want to say most of all to Ohioans: Ohioans, you have saved lives. You’ve done this,” she said at a news briefing.

Acton, who called her time as the state health director an “honor of a lifetime,” faced House Republicans seeking to restrict her authority last month due as frustrations grew over aggressive stay-at-home orders.

The governor has defended Acton, saying his fellow Republicans should be focused on increasing coronavirus testing, dealing with a $775 million budget deficit and reopening the economy.

“I will always believe and know that many lives were saved because of her wise advice,” DeWine said Thursday.

Lance Himes, the general counsel for the Health Department, will assume duties of interim health director as Acton goes on to serve as DeWine’s chief health adviser.

“It’s true not all heroes wear capes,” said DeWine, who has won praise for his handling of the disease in Ohio. “Some of them do, in fact, wear a white coat, and this particular hero’s white coat is embossed with the name Dr. Amy Acton.”

Running the department, handling the pandemic and advising the governor were three different jobs, Acton said, and she wanted to devote her efforts to one area.

She said she wants to take a few days off to spend with her family.

In other coronavirus-related news in Ohio:

RESTAURANT CHARGES

Attorney General Dave Yost is moving to dismiss the misdemeanor criminal case against owners of a Cambridge restaurant that reopened while the state was still prohibiting in-person dining service.

The state’s policy “is better served by a civil injunction,” but that would be moot at this point, Yost said, as restaurants are now allowed to be open if they take certain health precautions.

The 1851 Center for Constitutional Law, which represented Vicki Brearley, owner of the National Road Diner, had previously sought the case’s dismissal, arguing that criminalizing conduct based only on the orders of the state health director — who resigned Thursday after blowback including the National Road case — was unconstitutional.

The center’s executive director, Maurice Thompson, said the state was “seeking to imprison a harmless woman for simply running her own restaurant.”

LEGISLATIVE FLURRY

The Ohio House has passed four bills related to the pandemic and sent them to the Senate.

The measures, approved Tuesday, boost access to telemedicine, a method for delivering medical appointments remotely; permanently allow alcohol delivery and carryout begun during the coronavirus quarantine; add certain powers for pharmacists; and expand local and state COVID-19 reporting.

Legislative debate continues over how the spread of COVID-19 will be tracked.

The Senate has sent to the House a bill laying out guidelines for contact tracing, an issue that has divided the two chambers.

CASES

As of Tuesday, Ohio has recorded 39,162 confirmed or probable coronavirus cases, with 2,421 confirmed or probable COVID-19 deaths, up 17 from the previous day, the health department said.

For most people, the virus causes mild or moderate symptoms.

For some, especially older adults and the infirm, it can cause more severe illness and can lead to death.

The number of virus-related hospitalizations in the state was 6,620.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 697533

Reported Deaths: 13138
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion951321706
Lake50779930
Allen38511669
Hamilton33981404
St. Joseph33279535
Elkhart26810431
Vanderburgh21931393
Tippecanoe21440212
Johnson17325371
Porter17012297
Hendricks16631308
Clark12592190
Madison12223335
Vigo12089243
Monroe11237166
LaPorte10601204
Delaware10241182
Howard9555211
Kosciusko8999112
Hancock7842137
Bartholomew7797152
Warrick7657155
Floyd7501175
Wayne6846196
Grant6724167
Boone647399
Morgan6335137
Dubois6052117
Marshall5709108
Cass5657102
Dearborn564674
Henry5545100
Noble532583
Jackson489469
Shelby474095
Lawrence4305118
Gibson424988
Harrison424870
Montgomery414486
Clinton413153
DeKalb402583
Huntington371880
Whitley371039
Miami369565
Knox363589
Steuben358457
Putnam350560
Wabash344677
Jasper341646
Adams336652
Ripley332368
Jefferson306479
White305954
Daviess287999
Wells283580
Decatur278092
Fayette276562
Greene268685
Posey267333
Scott258553
Clay250744
LaGrange249970
Randolph233379
Washington228429
Spencer226731
Jennings223947
Fountain207245
Sullivan207041
Starke199352
Owen190856
Fulton188939
Jay184829
Carroll184520
Perry178536
Orange175552
Rush169324
Vermillion165343
Franklin164435
Tipton160343
Parke143416
Blackford131730
Pike129634
Pulaski112245
Newton102334
Brown98840
Crawford96814
Benton94513
Martin81915
Warren78315
Switzerland7678
Union69410
Ohio55311
Unassigned0405

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 1037600

Reported Deaths: 18827
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin1203461345
Cuyahoga1048492040
Hamilton774221164
Montgomery49484984
Summit44494904
Lucas39105757
Butler37437566
Stark31094890
Lorain23775467
Warren23688291
Mahoning20622581
Lake19698360
Clermont19305226
Delaware17783130
Licking15970205
Fairfield15493195
Trumbull15377458
Medina14662255
Greene14484233
Clark13433287
Wood12547182
Portage12144193
Allen11216229
Richland10899197
Miami10455211
Muskingum8639127
Columbiana8478225
Wayne8451209
Pickaway8388120
Tuscarawas8311239
Marion8297135
Erie7415153
Ross6636145
Hancock6595123
Geauga6449146
Ashtabula6355163
Scioto625299
Belmont5518158
Union550847
Lawrence5435102
Huron5229112
Darke5225121
Jefferson5210147
Sandusky5087118
Seneca5048118
Washington5029107
Athens493654
Auglaize470484
Mercer467884
Shelby453289
Knox4332108
Putnam417298
Madison416157
Ashland408986
Fulton402165
Defiance395096
Brown383855
Crawford3819100
Logan369676
Preble367995
Clinton356859
Ottawa351978
Highland344858
Williams317574
Champaign317055
Jackson304451
Guernsey303348
Perry286449
Fayette276348
Morrow272639
Henry261266
Hardin261063
Coshocton255957
Holmes251499
Van Wert237462
Gallia232146
Pike230931
Adams226151
Wyandot224153
Hocking207057
Carroll187746
Paulding167538
Meigs140838
Noble131737
Monroe128441
Morgan105722
Harrison104836
Vinton80913
Unassigned01
Fort Wayne
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Rain showers continue Saturday evening, as will a few thunderstorms. Overnight, rain will taper off a little as temperatures drop into the mid 40s. On Sunday, rain chances return in late morning and last much of the day. Temperatures max out in the mid 50s and winds will be brisk at times.
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