Michigan county official quits over ‘politicization’ of public health

Michigan (WDIV)

ST. JOSEPH, Mich. – A county health officer frustrated with the “politicization of public health” during COVID-19 is quitting her job in southwestern Michigan.

Courtney Davis has been the interim health officer in Berrien County since July when she was promoted from deputy. Communications manager Gillian Conrad is also resigning, The Herald-Palladium reported.

Davis ordered masks in local schools to reduce the spread of COVID-19, though the order was dropped Sept. 29 when the health department believed its state funding would be in jeopardy. She said at the time that it was “appalling” that money was tied to mask policies.

Davis said it's been an honor to work for the department for nearly five years.

“However, with the politicization of public health during the pandemic, I can no longer effectively do my job and serve the community with its health and safety always at the forefront," she said.

Davis' last day is Nov. 3.

In stepping down, Conrad said the pandemic had taken a “significant toll” on her mental and physical health.

County Administrator Brian Dissette said there has been only one applicant for the job of permanent health officer, a role that Davis was serving on an interim basis.

He said he informed the state health department about the vacancies to try to add more “horsepower” to the search.

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