CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) -On Thursday, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine announced Dr. Amy Acton would be stepping down as the state’s Health Director, and immediately there was speculation about her departure.
Acton has been under the microscope for weeks because of her decisions to quickly close the state in March, then slowly reopen over the course of two months.
Acton won’t be leaving entirely.
She will now take on a roll as DeWine’s chief health advisor to focus on larger health concerns impacting Ohio.
After the Governor’s announcement, Acton explained this would give her a chance to get back to what she is passionate about which is talking to people on the ground level, instead of a 4 a.m. wake-up call to handle COVID-19.
“It’s something that I’ve known wasn’t a sustainable thing given a pandemic," Acton said about the timing of her decision. “But I think we’ve know for a while, and I think the Governor spoke to it at the end of last week, that we’re entering a new phase. We’ve sort of gone through one phase and we’re pretty much opening up and now we’re looking at a different phase in the pandemic and we’re learning to live with it so I think there’s sort of a natural shift.”
On Friday I was given a few minutes with Lieutenant Governor John Husted, in which I asked if there was more to the decision, since Acton has been facing mounting criticism from some legislators who wanted to limit the director’s authority.
“No, there’s nothing more to it,” Husted said. “I mean Dr. Acton, all of us, Dr. Acton in particular, have been working around the clock for months and months and months. It was just time, once we got through the difficult part of this phase of coronavirus, that she’s now able to go work on things that she really came here to work on, in a senior advisor roll to the Governor on health issues. She didn’t sign up for pandemic duty.”