Ohio health director resigns after pandemic frustrations




COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Dr. Amy Acton resigned as the health director for the state of Ohio on Thursday, Gov. Mike DeWine announced during his daily briefing.

The announcement comes after a contentious few months as Acton became the target of frustrations during the coronavirus pandemic.

She was most recently sued by organizers of music festivals and restaurant owners as the slow reopening takes place.

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

Acton, who called her time as the state health director an “honor of a lifetime,” had her authority limited last month by Republican lawmakers who were frustrated by aggressive stay-at-home orders.

“It’s true not all heroes wear capes,” said DeWine, a Republican 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 also said she hopes to take a few days off to spend with her family.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. AP’s earlier coverage is below. Please check back for updates.

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

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.

Vicki and Dwight Brearley of the National Road Diner had pleaded not guilty to a misdemeanor charge alleging they violated the health director’s orders. A message seeking comment was left Thursday for their attorney.

Here’s a look at other virus-related news:



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



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.


Associated Press writer Kantele Franko contributed to this report.