Dr. Sonia Angell. Photo by Anne Wernikoff for CalMatters

The director of the California Department of Public Health resigned abruptly on Sunday less than a week after the discovery of hundreds of thousands of missing COVID-19 test results.

Dr. Sonia Angell, who held the position for less than a year, announced her resignation in an email to department staff. She gave no reason for her departure.

“We have led with science and data, and with equity at the core of our intentions. As the first Latina in this role, I am very proud to have served this Department, Administration and our State, alongside all of you,” Angell wrote in the email. “In the final calculation, all of our work, in aggregate, makes the difference.”

Angell frequently appeared with Newsom and was considered a key player in coordinating the pandemic response with local health departments across the state.

“I want to thank Dr. Angell for her service to the state and her work to help steer our public health system during this global pandemic, while never losing sight of the importance of health equity,” the governor said in a statement.

Calling it a “personnel” issue, Newsom declined on Monday to say directly whether the departure of Angell was related to the computer problems that caused nearly 300,000 COVID-19 test results to go temporarily unprocessed.

When pressed by reporters, the governor said, “We all have a role and responsibility as it relates to what happens within our respective departments,” adding, “technology is always stubborn and challenging.”

On Sunday, the Department of Public Health reported “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.”

California Health Care Foundation executive Sandra Shewry was named acting Public Health Department head, while Dr. Erica Pan, who was public health officer for Alameda County, was appointed acting statewide health officer.

Updated at 4:30 p.m., Monday, Aug. 10, 2020

— From Staff and Wire Reports

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Chris Jennewein

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.