CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine announced on Thursday that Dr. Amy Acton is stepping down from her position as the director of the state’s Department of Health.
The governor’s announcement regarding Dr. Acton’s decision comes as the state’s COVID-19 numbers topped 40,000 total cases, dating back to the start of the pandemic, for the first time.
“Ohioans, you have saved lives,” Dr. Acton said about efforts from residents in limiting the spread of COVID-19. “You have done this.”
Dr. Acton, who was appointed in February 2019, will still serve as chief medical adviser under Ohio Gov. DeWine. The transition takes effect on Thursday.
“With her leadership and help in the first year, we focused on infant mortality, home visiting for at-risk first-time moms, lead paint, youth homelessness, suicide prevention, and the modernization of our public health system,” the governor said.
The focus for the ODH director quickly turned to COVID-19 once infections began mounting in China.
“When COVID-19 hit China, Dr. Acton started talking with me about it in January,” Gov. DeWine added. “Her wise advice and counsel and connections with other doctors and health experts led us safely through those first few weeks.”
Gov. DeWine had nothing but praise for Dr. Acton, who said he selected her because of her knowledge and passion for public health.
“I will always believe and know that many lives were saved because of her wise advice,” Gov. DeWine stated.
Dr. Acton faced pressure from several lawmakers and some Ohioans for how she handled the coronavirus pandemic, but she said it never bothered her because she remained focus on public health safety.
Lance Himes, who previously served as interim director, will take over for Dr. Acton at the Ohio Department of Health.