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Second Member Of DeWine's Cabinet Announces Battle With COVID

Ohio Department of Mental Health and Drug Addiction Services Director Lori Criss, speaking about her selection by Gov. Mike DeWine (right) to lead that agency in January 2019.
Ohio Department of Mental Health and Drug Addiction Services Director Lori Criss, speaking about her selection by Gov. Mike DeWine (right) to lead that agency in January 2019.

As the coronavirus continues to spread widely and rapidly through Ohio, the head of the state’s mental health and drug addiction agency has tested positive for COVID-19.

Last Tuesday during Gov. Mike DeWine’s virtual COVID press conference, Mental Health and Addiction Services Director Lori Criss said this from her home: “Remember, taking care of yourself is a priority, not a luxury.”

Criss told her staff in a memo that she tested positive over the weekend. She’d had minor allergy/cold symptoms and worked with her doctor to get a test. She said she never really felt horrible, she’s feeling better every day and is isolating at home while teleworking, as she has been since March.

Criss said in the memo she knows she’s not the only one who’s gone through this, and urged her staff to take care and quote – “to reach out for help without the worry, shame, or fear that can come from having this illness.”

She’s the second agency director to announce a battle with COVID. State prisons director Annette Chambers Smith tested positive this summer.

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