Two Ohio lawmakers want to honor former Ohio Department of Health Director Amy Acton by giving her own day.
State Reps. Kent Smith (D-Euclid) and Mary Lightbody (D-Westerville) introduced House Bill 724 on Monday that would be designated February 26 “Dr. Amy Acton Day.”
February 26 is the date of choice because Gov. Mike DeWine named Acton the ODH director on this date in 2019.
In a message to his Ohio House colleagues, Smith said he wanted to honor Acton’s work that prevented the spread of the coronavirus early on in Ohio, according to cleveland.com.
“With about 5,100 COVID-19 cases on April 9th, we had less than a third the number of COVID-19 cases than in three comparably sized neighboring states — Michigan, Pennsylvania and Illinois,” Smith said.
“I think Amy Acton, as history tells us the story of Ohio’s COVID-19 tactics and strategies, will be seen as one of the heroes of 2020,” he added.
Despite this positive praise from Smith, Acton did not always provide reliable information to Ohioans during her daily coronavirus press conferences.
When the Chinese virus first came to Ohio in March, Acton said Ohio was acting as if 100,000 people in the state had the virus due to community spread.
Acton said she came up with the “100,000” number based off a guesstimate.
Furthermore, from March 16 to March 25, the ODH stopped providing the total number of tests it had conducted on its website. Once the state released the total numbers of tests, it showed that only 4.7 percent of people tested positive for COVID-19. During this ten-day span, Ohio delayed its primary and put the state in lockdown.
At the end of March, DeWine and Acton claimed Ohio could see 10,000 daily new cases at some point in April. However, this never came true as this prediction was off by 700 percent on April 21 where the state only saw 1,317 new cases.
During her time as ODH Director, Acton gathered quite a following. On Facebook, someone started the Dr. Amy Acton Fan Club which has over 130,000 members. Furthermore, Acton and DeWine even got their own cartoon.
When Acton resigned on June 11, she was replaced by Lance Himes.
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Zachery Schmidt is the digital editor of Star News Digital Media. If you have any tips, email Zachery at [email protected] Follow Zachery on Twitter @zacheryschmidt2.