Calif. Public Health Director Sonia Angell Resigns Following Tech Issues With Coronavirus Test Numbers – CBS Los Angeles

SACRAMENTO (CBSLA/AP) — California’s public health director resigned Sunday following a glitch in the system which is used to collect coronavirus test results, subsequently causing a major reporting backlog.

FILE — California Department of Public Health Director Dr. Sonia Angell speaks as California Gov. Gavin Newsom looks on during a news conference on Feb. 27, 2020 in Sacramento, Calif. (Getty Images)

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 revealed last week that a 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.

The concern was that some areas may have falsely believed that their transmission rates were dropping. Ghaly said that hospitalization rates were not affected by the glitch.

On Friday, Ghaly said the problem began with a computer server outage in late July, according to CBS San Francisco. Ghaly said that in one case, a major lab did not get any information into the state system for five straight days.

California’s COVID-19 information page as of Monday read: “The issue with the state’s electronic laboratory reporting system has been addressed and the system has performed as expected. Progress continues to be made on addressing the backlog reported on Friday.”

Angell was appointed public health director last September. Prior to serving in the role, she was a physician at New York Presbyterian Hospital.

Through Sunday, California has at least 554,160 coronavirus cases and 10,293 deaths from the disease.

“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.”

(© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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