Switchup at state health department

Robert Gordon abruptly resigned as head of the state's health department Friday putting deputy Elizabeth Hertel in charge.

Elizabeth Hertel said Friday there would be no hiccups in the state’s response to the coronavirus pandemic as she takes the helm of the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS).

Hertel was the senior chief deputy director for the department until Friday when Robert Gordon, the former director of the department, announced his resignation.

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What Happened: On Friday, Gordon signed an order that would allow indoor dining in restaurants and bars to resume February 1. Shortly afterward, he posted a tweet announcing his resignation. The governor’s office subsequently acknowledged Gordon’s resignation and announced Hertel would take over the role immediately.

Neither Gordon nor the governor’s office gave a reason for his sudden resignation.

What It Means: There is clearly no good time for the head of the MDHHS to leave, but Michigan faces many challenges in managing the COVID-19 pandemic.

Chief among them is the effort to distribute coronavirus vaccines throughout the state. That effort has moved slowly since the first vaccine was approved in early December and the state faces difficulty in obtaining enough doses of vaccines to meet demand.

You can read more on Bridge Michigan.

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