Coronavirus

Actions

Ohio Department of Health Director Dr. Amy Acton resigns

Dr Amy Acton.jpg
Posted at 2:38 PM, Jun 11, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-11 23:49:19-04

COLUMBUS, Ohio — A familiar face in Ohio’s fight against the coronavirus pandemic, Ohio Department of Health Director Dr. Amy Acton, is resigning from her position.

"It’s true, not all heroes wear capes. Some of them wear a white coat embossed with the name Dr. Amy Acton," Gov. Mike DeWine said while announcing her resignation during the state's daily press briefing.

Part of her reasoning for stepping down from the position she has held since February 2019 is to spend more time with her family, in addition to making the state's overall public health her main focus.

"I have been reflecting a bit lately, not just today," Acton said. "To lead all the work as well as face the unprecedented pandemic and provide counsel to the governor, it's been three jobs."

Acton, who has more than 30 years of experience in medical practice, government and community service, said she didn't want to short-change any area of her duties, especially now during a pandemic.

In her new role as Chief Health Adviser for ODH, she will take a comprehensive and holistic approach to address health and well-being for Ohioans. In addition to advising on health issues, she will continue to focus on the COVID-19 crisis.

During the outbreak of COVID-19 in China, DeWine said she started to consult with him about how Ohio would respond, using her connections with health experts and doctors around the state and region. Ohio was one of the first state's to enforce social distancing, measures supported by the public.

“No one is more passionate about public health than Dr. Amy Acton. She always puts the health and safety of Ohioans first and foremost,” DeWine said.

On many afternoons over the last several months, Acton stood with DeWine during his briefings on the state’s response to the coronavirus. When it came her turn to speak, she explained medical jargon and complex concepts about COVID-19 in a calm and collected manner, offering clarity during a fluid situation.

Some, like Ohio Rep. Nino Vitale, seemed happy to see Acton go. Vitale has made comments that called for her to step down.

Rep. Diane Grendell, (R) District 76 -Chesterland believes Dr. Acton and the Ohio Department of Health painted an overly grim picture of the on-going pandemic, by not properly releasing all COVID-19 data to the public.

Grendell is sponsoring House Bill 624, known as the Truth in COVID-19 Statistics bill, which has now passed in the Ohio House.

The legislation seeks to gather more specifics on the figures being released by the Ohio Department of Health (ODH) as it pertains to the coronavirus, data like the number of people who tested negative, or those who were treated and released.

“How can we make decisions, policy decisions if we don’t know these facts,” Grendell said.

“The early modeling information coupled with the media drumbeat of fear and death created this huge atmosphere across our state.”

"This atmosphere of fear could have been abated in mid-April if we had started informing the public of the whole truth."

David Pepper, Chairman of the Ohio Democratic Party, defended Acton's efforts and told News 5 she was the subject of unfair bullying.

“For so many Ohioans she became the epitome of what we want in public service,” Pepper said.

“What’s happened to her has gone way beyond the bounds. The armed protesters at her home, offensive attacks on her and her background, by the way not just by average citizens, but by legislators."

“She became a target for very nasty, very ideological, very personal attacks that in some cases were physically threatening or worse, is appalling.”

Others, like Ohio Senate Minority Leader Kenny Yuko also defended Acton's actions during the pandemic. Yuko issued the following statement:

“Like everyone in Ohio, I owe a debt of gratitude to Dr. Amy Acton. Her calm and inspiring leadership saved many lives in the past few months and helped our state navigate one of the most challenging times in its history.

While I’m pleased that Dr. Acton will continue to advise Governor DeWine on health issues, I can’t help but be disappointed by her resignation as health director. She endured an incredible amount of unfair criticism, including some anti-Semitic attacks. All those who have insulted, harassed or threatened her and her family should be ashamed. I wish Dr. Acton nothing but the best.”

Lance Himes, who has served as a past ODH Interim Director, will assume the duties of Interim Director at the Ohio Department of Health.

RELATED: Ohio's Health Director Dr. Amy Acton talks with News 5 about the road ahead in Coronavirus crisis

Additional Coronavirus information and resources:

Read our daily Coronavirus Live Blog for the latest updates and news on coronavirus.

Rebound Northeast Ohio News 5's initiative to help people through the financial impact of the coronavirus by offering one place to go for information on everything available to help and how to access it. We're providing resources on:

Getting Back to Work - Learn about the latest job openings, how to file for benefits and succeed in the job market.

Making Ends Meet - Find help on topics from rent to food to new belt-tightening techniques.

Managing the Stress - Feeling isolated or frustrated? Learn ways to connect with people virtually, get counseling or manage your stress.

Doing What's Right - Keep track of the way people are spending your tax dollars and treating your community.

We're Open! Northeast Ohio is place created by News 5 to open us up to new ways of thinking, new ways of gathering and new ways of supporting each other.

Click here for a page with resources including a COVID-19 overview from the CDC, details on cases in Ohio, a timeline of Governor Mike DeWine's orders since the outbreak, coronavirus' impact on Northeast Ohio, and link to more information from the Ohio Department of Health, the Cuyahoga County Board of Health, the CDC and the WHO.

See data visualizations showing the impact of coronavirus in Ohio, including county-by-county maps, charts showing the spread of the disease, and more.

The federal government has begun distributing $1,200 Economic Impact Payments to millions of Americans to help relieve the economic burden caused by coronavirus. Click here for everything you need to know about checking the status and receiving these payments.

The CDC and the Ohio Department of Health are now recommending the use of cloth face coverings in public to slow the spread of COVID-19.

Read more about the CDC's recommendation here. Here is a step-by-step guide on how to make a face mask from common household materials, without having to know how to sew.

View a global coronavirus tracker with data from Johns Hopkins University.

See complete coverage on our Coronavirus Continuing Coverage page.

Safely Back to School

Keeping You Safe