Calaveras County health officer resigns, cites ‘current political climate’


Citing the “current political climate,” the public health officer for Calaveras County is stepping down.

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The resignation of Dr. Dean Kelaita this week came as the county announced five new cases of COVID-19. Of the five new cases, two are linked to an outbreak among residents of Avalon Health Care San Andreas.

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in his letter of resignation, Kelaita wrote:

“I have always strived to assist community leaders and decision-makers through providing unvarnished medical and scientific information, as well as technical expertise unbiased by subjectivity or partisan influence. Under the current political climate, this is no longer possible. Due to these considerations, I am resigning as Health Officer. I am confident that under the leadership of Health and Human Services Agency Director Kristin Stranger and excellent public health professional staff, they will continue to guide the community through the COVID-19 pandemic and protect the health of our residents.”

Calaveras County is currently in California’s orange reopening tier, meaning that the risk level for coronavirus is considered “moderate” and that some indoor businesses are open with modifications.

Kelaita is the latest Northern California public health officer to resign amid the coronavirus pandemic. Dr. Aimee Sisson, formerly Placer County’s public health officer and public health director, resigned last month and now works for Yolo County.

State law requires each county to have a health officer.

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