Thursday Update: Dr. Amy Acton Steps Down as State Health Director

COLUMBUS (News Talk 1480 WHBC) – Governor Mike DeWine spoke this afternoon in Columbus, providing updates on COVID-19 in Ohio along with the ongoing protests throughout the state. Here is an outline of everything that was discussed.

Update on COVID-19 Cases

The Ohio Department of Health’s latest report shows that the state now has over 40,000 cases of COVID-19. The state has a total of 40,004 cases and 2,490 total deaths. 6,753 Ohioans have been hospitalized from the virus; 1,732 have been admitted into the intensive care unit.

Close to 510,000 COIVD-19 tests have been administered in the Buckeye State. Ohio has an overall positive test rate of around 7.8%.

Update on Stark County

The state’s latest report shows Stark County is up to 845 total cases of COVID-19. 177 people have been hospitalized in Stark due to the virus. Stark has a death toll that remains at 105.

Testing For All!

This afternoon Governor DeWine announced that anyone who wants a COVID-19 test can now receive a test, even if you are low-risk or not showing symptoms. You can find our interactive map of testing locations here.

“We’re encouraging anyone that wants a test to talk to their health care provider or contact a testing location to arrange a test,” DeWine said. “By understanding who is sick, whether they are showing symptoms or not, we are able to better prevent the spread of the COVID-19.”

Pop up testing will begin tomorrow in Columbus. Other cities, including Cincinnati, Cleveland, Dayton, Xenia, Portsmouth, Columbiana, Akron, and more will have it soon.

Advice to Churches

Although the state never closed churches, synagogues, mosques, or other places of worship during this pandemic, DeWine says he knows that most of them stopped holding their traditional in-person services and found other ways to worship, such as broadcasting online.

Over the past several weeks, as our state has opened up, DeWine acknowledged that these places of worship are eager to restart their in-person services and many of their members are ready to return.

Just as the state did with industry, outdoor activities, and entertainment, DeWine’s administration has put together some suggested best practices for places of worship to keep in mind as they reopen.

“These are just suggestions, not requirements,” said DeWine. “Some of these suggested best practices include having families sit socially-distant from other families; encouraging members to wear face coverings; and eliminating the touching of common surfaces.”

This guidance can be found at the state’s coronavirus website.

Stark County Minority Businesses Land Big Opportunity

Lt. Governor Jon Husted says Jobs Ohio is announcing that 13 minority-owned businesses in Stark County will be participating in the London Stock Exchange’s ELITE Program.

Husted spoke about how last year he and business owners from the Cleveland, Canton and Southeast Ohio areas, along with executives from Jobs Ohio made a trip to London last year, in hopes to convince the American head quarters of the London Stock Exchange to relocated to Cleveland.

After successfully making this happen, the Lt. Governor reports that this Ohio connection is now beginning to support the state’s ongoing efforts to help businesses gain access to capital, along with grow and create jobs.

The Stark County Minority Business Association was one of the groups that has continued to be connected to this effort, according to Husted. As a result, the 13 businesses will receive the opportunity to be connected with world class talent where they will receive consultation on strategy, marketing, risk management and more.

Dr. Acton Resigns as State Director of Health

Governor Mike DeWine announced this afternoon that Dr. Amy Acton will be stepping down as Ohio’s Director of Health. The Governor says he asked her to now serve as his Chief Health Advisor where she will continue to serve the people of Ohio in a meaningful way.

As of today, Lance Himes, who served as a past ODH Interim Director, will again assume the duties of Interim Director.

“Let me say how very grateful I am for Dr. Acton’s selfless and tireless service to the people of Ohio as our Department of Health Director,” said DeWine. “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 says in her new role, she will take a comprehensive and holistic approach to address health and well-being for all Ohioans. In addition to advising on health issues, she will continue to focus on the COVID-19 crisis, while remaining committed to the vision of the Ohio Department of Health.