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Dr. Clayton Chau, who helped lead CO health care during the pandemic, leaves – Orange County Register

Dr Clayton Chau will step down as director of the OC Health Care Agency effective June 1 and he confirmed in a text message that he submitted his resignation letter on Tuesday March 28.

At the start of the coronavirus pandemic, Chau was selected in May 2020 to lead the agency and a month later also took on the role of county health officer as the spread of COVID-19 across the county continued. ‘Orange has pushed its hospitals and the healthcare system. at the edge.

Reached late Tuesday evening, he texted that he would be leaving after the COVID-19 federal public health emergency order ended and had “no plans at this time” for after that.

“We greatly appreciate his service and he will be missed,” county spokeswoman Molly Nichelson said in a text.

Before the arrival of the coronavirus, few could have named the county health officer, but Dr. Nichole Quick quickly became the target of criticism among those who opposed mask requirements. Following Quick’s resignation in June 2020, Chau has become one of the most visible faces of the local pandemic response. When vaccines became available, he even helped staff at mobile clinics inject as many people as possible.

“When the first person got the vaccine, I was screaming in my back,” he said in a 2020 Orange County Registry article about the first day doses of the new vaccination arriving in the county.

He has also been the target of complaints about stay-at-home orders, masking requirements and worries that people will be forced to get vaccinated. In May 2021, elected county leaders denounced protests at his home — Quick had left office after protests were staged at his home and threats were made.

But Chau said in this 2020 article that he was a little odd among public health workers at the time because he questioned California’s “blanket” lockdown guidelines and encouraged finding a balance between precautions to curb the spread and the needs to keep people at work and businesses afloat.

He also said the pandemic has provided lessons for health officials on the need to better ensure that health care and social services are extended to all corners of a community.

“This pandemic is really telling us how important health equity is,” he said.

Last March, the country finally split the role of public health officer and director of the OC Health Care Agency, appointing Dr Regina Chinsio-Kwong as the new health officer.

California Daily Newspapers

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