Tuesday, January 11, 2022

UPDATED: Hoffman Announces Resignation as Health Officer

Posted By on Tue, Jan 11, 2022 at 2:27 PM

Humboldt County Health Officer Ian Hoffman announced during his COVID-19 update this morning before the board of supervisors that he will be resigning from the job effective March 4.

Hoffman stepped into the job last December, taking over for Teresa Frankovich, who announced in September of 2020 she'd be stepping back from her duties, saying the pandemic had pushed the position well beyond the part-time job she'd accepted in January of 2020, before COVID became a part of everyday life.

Hoffman was selected from a pool of 18 applicants after going through interviews with both a panel of “multi-disciplinary stakeholders” and the Humboldt County Board of Supervisors.

Hoffman informed the supervisors of his decision last night via a letter.

In the letter, Hoffman says that while his time as health officer was “the most important and impactful work I’ve ever had in my medical career” and the decision did not come easily, he needed to step back in order to “maintain the work-life balance that my family needs from me. “

He also states that a great deal was accomplished under both Frankovich’s and his tenures, including building partnerships with local businesses, tribes, nonprofits, healthcare providers, schools and others that helped to keep “hospitalizations and deaths from COVID-19 much lower than other similar communities through our collective actions.”

"We have worked hard together through these partnerships to lessen the impact of difficult times and keep our business, schools, healthcare facilities and government open whenever possible while balancing the risk of shutdowns with the risk of the virus,” Hoffman wrote. “We have protected ourselves, but more importantly we have protected our community, especially those who are most vulnerable. We have a lot to be proud of as a community, and more work still to be done.”

His resignation comes as Humboldt County, like the rest of the state and the nation, is in the midst of a record COVID case surge driven by the Omicron variant, including 478 new cases confirmed between Friday and Monday. So far in January, the county has seen 1,331 new cases.

A state database shows 20 people currently hospitalized with COVID-19 locally, with two under intensive care and another person suspected of being COVID-positive. Yesterday, there were 16 patients. The local hospital census peaked Sept. 3 with 42 COVID-19 patients.

Read Hoffman's full letter below:

Dear Humboldt County Board of Supervisors,

I am writing to inform you of my intent to end my position as the full-time health officer for Humboldt County as of Friday March 4th, 2022. This decision does not come easy to me as this is the most important and impactful work I’ve ever had in my medical career. The people I work with are dedicated and kind, supportive, and have a love for their community that is strong. However, I am not able to continue in this full-time role as the health officer and maintain the work-life balance that my family needs from me. My family is the most important thing to me, and I must show up for them first.

It has been 22 months since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, 13 months since I first became the full-time health officer for the county, taking over the post from Dr. Teresa Frankovich who led the county through the first 9 months. So much has been achieved by Humboldt County in that time. We have managed to keep hospitalizations and deaths from COVID-19 much lower than other similar communities through our collective actions. We worked together to implement masking, social distancing, mass testing, isolation, quarantine, and vaccination. We have created partnerships among many arms of business, government, healthcare, tribal, non-profits, community-based organizations and education that will serve to improve the health of our community well beyond COVID-19.

After only one year of having the COVID-19 vaccines we have worked together to get over 96,000 persons in our county at least one shot, an astounding 76% of those who are eligible. Another 38,000 have received a booster shot. We have worked hard together through these partnerships to lessen the impact of difficult times and keep our business, schools, healthcare facilities and government open whenever possible while balancing the risk of shutdowns with the risk of the virus. We have protected ourselves, but more importantly we have protected our community, especially those who are most vulnerable. We have a lot to be proud of as a community, and more work still to be done.

It has been my pleasure and honor to work alongside you throughout this incredibly challenging time. You are true servants to your community. I hope this is not the end and only a change in the way we work together going forward in every attempt to keep our community healthy and safe.

Kindest regards, Ian Hoffman, MD, MPH
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