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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: 751526

Reported Deaths: 13799
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion1033281788
Lake557151010
Allen41710692
St. Joseph36998565
Hamilton36604417
Elkhart29413461
Tippecanoe22914227
Vanderburgh22559400
Porter19359326
Johnson18477389
Hendricks17689317
Clark13228195
Madison13158344
Vigo12625253
LaPorte12420221
Monroe12211176
Delaware10968198
Howard10337225
Kosciusko9630121
Hancock8577147
Bartholomew8172157
Warrick7860156
Floyd7812180
Grant7242179
Wayne7162201
Boone6972103
Morgan6765141
Dubois6221118
Marshall6211116
Cass6017110
Henry5902110
Dearborn589878
Noble581688
Jackson509176
Shelby501796
Lawrence4745122
Gibson445094
Clinton442755
Harrison441775
DeKalb439885
Montgomery438490
Whitley406643
Huntington403181
Steuben400259
Miami395269
Jasper388654
Knox376391
Putnam373260
Wabash362383
Ripley347270
Adams345555
Jefferson336186
White332253
Daviess3033100
Wells295381
Decatur289892
Greene286885
Fayette284864
Posey273835
LaGrange273172
Scott270156
Clay267148
Washington246136
Randolph244783
Jennings235349
Spencer234631
Starke228058
Fountain221048
Sullivan214643
Owen212158
Fulton203042
Jay200932
Carroll193720
Orange188255
Perry187237
Rush175926
Vermillion174844
Franklin170335
Tipton166446
Parke149616
Pike138134
Blackford136232
Pulaski120747
Newton114336
Brown104243
Crawford102516
Benton101914
Martin91715
Warren84015
Switzerland8148
Union72810
Ohio57911
Unassigned0420

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 1109025

Reported Deaths: 20166
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin1287651467
Cuyahoga1158292211
Hamilton814131250
Montgomery525601043
Summit484401001
Lucas43364820
Butler39021606
Stark33339929
Lorain25679505
Warren24600303
Mahoning22378603
Lake21213388
Clermont20125253
Delaware18860136
Licking16664222
Fairfield16577204
Trumbull16555482
Medina15613271
Greene15284248
Clark14237306
Wood13293200
Portage13251215
Allen11914239
Richland11608211
Miami10850225
Wayne9147223
Columbiana9036230
Muskingum8907135
Pickaway8664122
Tuscarawas8651250
Marion8646138
Erie8057165
Ashtabula7162179
Hancock6999132
Ross6946161
Geauga6841151
Scioto6536106
Belmont6159174
Union584649
Lawrence5734102
Jefferson5680158
Huron5547122
Sandusky5443126
Darke5420129
Seneca5349128
Washington5320109
Athens524360
Auglaize502287
Mercer487385
Shelby476895
Knox4572112
Madison444466
Ashland435797
Putnam4336103
Defiance432399
Fulton432174
Crawford4040110
Brown402461
Logan387677
Preble3856105
Clinton379166
Ottawa373681
Highland359865
Williams348278
Champaign344859
Guernsey325153
Jackson318254
Perry297350
Morrow291840
Fayette285550
Hardin275465
Henry273467
Holmes2703101
Coshocton269060
Van Wert247264
Adams243156
Pike242835
Gallia240850
Wyandot234756
Hocking220563
Carroll197348
Paulding176542
Meigs148540
Monroe136344
Noble136239
Harrison114138
Morgan109624
Vinton85717
Unassigned03
Fort Wayne
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Angola
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Cool conditions are expected through the middle of the work week.
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