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California public health director resigns from department


SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KRON) – Governor Gavin Newsom addresses the public for the first time following a major glitch that backlogged nearly 300,000 coronavirus records.

Now, the sudden resignation of the state’s top health official.

The resignation of California Public Health Director Sonia Angell comes after technical issues led to inaccurate COVID-19 data.

Why exactly California’s Public Health Director resigned is not completely clear.

Less than a day after accepting her resignation, Governor Newsom is staying tight-lipped about Dr. Sonia Angell’s abrupt departure.

“I try not to have personnel conversations in public, I don’t know that it serves a larger good. At the end of the day the buck stops with me, I’m accountable,” Newsom said. 

Reporters repeatedly pressed Governor Newsom on the sudden step down of one of California’s top health officers.

Dr. Sonia Angell’s resignation letter sent Sunday didn’t include a reason.

Angell stood alongside Newsom at the start of the pandemic and has been a part of key decisions in the process.

Her departure comes days after state leaders learned a technical issue in the state’s electronic reporting system for diseases led to a backlog of 300,000 records, most of them COVID-19 related.

The governor confirmed the Department of Public Health knew but did not immediately notify him about the issue.

“We’re all accountable in our respective roles for what happens underneath us, I don’t want to air anymore than that,” Newsom said. 

Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly said Monday the issue is fixed and the backlog of records has been cleared.

Counties now have access to data they can process for planning and contact tracing.

“All in an urgent and thoughtful way so we can make sure we support that commitment to data and science to continue to guide our way,” Ghaly said.  

The state is now working on a new electronic reporting system for COVID-19. 

The governor did acknowledge that effort will take some time. 

With that and Angell’s departure, he says they are moving on.

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