The director of Ohio’s Department of Health, Dr. Amy Acton, resigned on Thursday in the wake of the state’s Chinese coronavirus pandemic controversy.
“It is difficult for me to put in words how grateful I am for Dr. Acton’s service to the state,” said Ohio governor Mike DeWine of Acton, who will now become his chief health adviser, according to a report by the Columbus Dispatch.
The report added that Acton had been a both “beloved” and “polarizing” figure for Ohioans during the Wuhan coronavirus pandemic, as she spoke at daily press briefings regarding the virus and issued orders that closed down parts of Ohio’s economy, which caused statewide protests and attempts by lawmakers to strip away her powers.
“It is my honor to continue to work for you,” said Acton. “I am more determined than ever.”
When asked why she resigned, Acton said that she simply couldn’t do three jobs at the same time.
Governor DeWine said that Acton’s “knowledge, compassion, and determination have set an example for all of us,” adding that the now former health director has exhibited “extraordinary bedside manner and wise counsel” during the Chinese coronavirus pandemic.
Other elected officials, however, seemed pleased to hear of Acton’s resignation on Thursday.
“I am hearing she is still on the tax payer dime but Actin’ Acton has resigned as Health Director. I say NOT good enough! 1 down, 2 to go of the Terrible Tyrannical Trio!” reacted state representative Nino Vitale (R-Urbana) on his Facebook page.
Governor DeWine declared a State of Emergency in Ohio on March 9 following the confirmation of three coronavirus cases in the state.
After that, so-called “nonessential” medical procedures were then prohibited in Ohio on March 17, and a stay-at-home order was later established on March 23.
By May 4, DeWine and Acton began lifting restrictions in what was known as “phase one” of the state’s reopening — which still prohibited businesses such as restaurants, gyms, daycare centers, and hair salons from reopening until “phase two.”
Despite fears of a spike in coronavirus outbreaks in Ohio as the state reopened over the past several weeks, cases of the Wuhan virus have fallen by one-third from early May, reports the Columbus Dispatch.
The report added that both DeWine and Acton expressed fears of a spike in coronavirus cases as businesses reopened, but that people getting back to work has not actually been accompanied by a spike in cases.
The governor did, however, mention his concern with a potential rise in coronavirus cases following the state’s mass protests — and riots — in the wake of the death of George Floyd.
“We just got through what I imagined would be our hardest time, the COVID crisis,” said one Cleveland business owner, Kelly Kandah, whose store was completely destroyed by rioters during recent Floyd protests in the city.
“I never imagined we could get hit worse than ever,” added Kandah.
Ohio lieutenant governor Jon Husted noted that an unprecedented 1.3 million Ohioans filed for unemployment during the coronavirus lockdowns, adding that many are now returning to work.