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Anchorage Public Health Department sees another resignation

Public Health Division Manager Christy Lawton led the city’s COVID testing and vaccination programs
Public Health Division Manager Christy Lawton resigned from her job at the City Health...
Public Health Division Manager Christy Lawton resigned from her job at the City Health Department.(ktuu)
Published: Sep. 28, 2021 at 1:59 PM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - As COVID-19 rates soar, the Anchorage Public Health Department has lost another leader in the city’s fight against the pandemic. Public Health Division Manager Christy Lawton, who led the city’s COVID-19 testing and vaccination programs, resigned from her position this week.

Corey Allen Young, a spokesperson for Mayor Dave Bronson, confirmed Lawton’s departure in an email. Young did not answer further questions about whether the mayor had requested her resignation, calling it a confidential personnel matter.

Lawton is the third leader to resign from the health department since Bronson took office. The city’s epidemiologist, Janet Johnston, resigned in July and long-time Chief Medical Officer Bruce Chandler resigned in August.

When reached for comment, Lawton didn’t say what led to her resignation.

“I have the deepest respect and admiration for my colleagues at the city and state health departments for their dedicated and tireless efforts,” she wrote in an email. She went on to urge people to get vaccinated and “do their part to protect others.”

But Johnson, who now works for the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium, told Alaska’s News Source when she resigned that she found the situation at the city’s health department concerning and attributed it in part to Bronson’s staunch stand against masking or vaccination requirements.

“Concerning, but not surprising that so many top leaders have left the health department since the new administration,” Johnston said. “It’s not surprising given the rhetoric during the campaign, given the lack of leadership regarding vaccines and masking, in the face of incredibly high case counts. We know that masking helps reduce transmission, and vaccines are the way to beat the pandemic and get out of this situation.”

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