Michigan’s newest chief medical executive has been on the job for just a few weeks.
Dr. Natasha Bagdasarian took over when Dr. Joneigh Khaldun stepped down in late September.
Bagdasarian has been part of the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services’ response since July of last year. That means much of her approach will look the same as before.
She spoke with Local 4 about masks in schools, fighting misinformation with transparency and the potential to have to pivot again should coronavirus cases keep rising.
She said her first order of business is to keep encouraging Michigan residents to get vaccinated. Vaccination rates have stalled for months as the spread of COVID is high again.
“People who had been excited and anticipating the vaccine, they got vaccinated right away. They got vaccinated as soon as they could. And then we had people who were a little bit more hesitant, and we continue to make slow, steady progress, but nowhere near what we were doing back in the spring,” Bagdasarian said.
Bagdasarian also said part of her position is combating misinformation about COVID and the vaccine, which may mean changing approaches and explaining changes in state guidance. She has also been a vocal supporter of mask mandates and has said there are no plans for a broad mask mandate in schools -- but said masks should remain in schools until vaccination rates rise.