COLUMBUS, Ohio — In an eleventh-hour decision Monday night, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine called on Dr. Amy Acton to declare a health emergency, defying a Franklin County judge, who hours earlier ruled that moving Tuesday’s election would set a "terrible precedent."

“We had a public health emergency. We have a public health crisis. We could not let this happen. We could not have people show up to the polls. We could not have poll workers show up, and so we made the decision,” DeWine said.   

  • DeWine said he and Dr. Acton had no choice but to declare a health emergency
  • He announced a new order forcing all elective surgeries to be postponed
  • Dr. Acton stressed we all have to do our part not to overwhelm the system by continuing social distancing, quarantine and isolation

Earlier Tuesday morning, four Ohio Supreme Court judges agreed with DeWine, ensuring all polls would be closed for in-person voting until June 2.

It’s one of many tough game-time decisions the governor has made as this crisis continues to escalate.

Director of Health Dr. Amy Acton says it’s just the beginning.

“There's no scenario now by which we won’t have a surge,” said Acton.

To quell the impending chaos and give hospitals and healthcare workers a fighting chance, the governor announced a new order Tuesday that will force all elective surgeries to be postponed. OSU Wexner Medical Center Doctor Andrew Thomas explains:

“So, the way that we will define things that are not elective are a surgery or procedure that is lifesaving. A surgery or procedure that preserves the function of an organ or preserves a limb for a patient. A surgery that will reduce the risk of metastasis or progression of disease for cancer or other condition. And a surgery that will reduce the risk of progression of severe symptoms for the patient,” said Thomas.

According to officials, Ohio hospitals are currently at 75 percent capacity. As the number of cases continue to rise, these leaders stress the only way to not overwhelm our system is by continuing social distancing, quarantine, and isolation.

“What we are doing, every one of us can help contribute to that, and it will decrease our deaths by a half,” said Acton.