California public health director resigns from department

The head of California’s public health department has resigned

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — The head of California’s public health department resigned late Sunday, just days after the state announced a fix for a glitch that caused a lag in collecting coronavirus test information that’s used to make decisions about reopening businesses and schools.

Dr. Sonia Angell said she was departing from her role as director and state public health officer at the California Department of Public Health in a letter to staff released by the California Health and Human Services Agency. Angell did not give a specific reason for her departure.

Sandra Shewry, vice president of external engagement for California Health Care Foundation, will fill the role of acting health director, the health and human services department said. Dr. Erica Pan, who was recently appointed state epidemiologist, will be the acting state public health officer.

Angell’s announcement comes after California Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly said the glitch caused up to 300,000 records to be backlogged, though not all of them were coronavirus cases and some could be duplicates. The problem affected the California Reportable Disease Information Exchange, also known as CalREDIE.

“I am grateful to Dr. Angell for her service to the people of California,” Ghaly said in the statement late Sunday. “Her leadership was instrumental as Californians flattened the curve once and in setting us on a path to do so again.”