The president of the Public Health Agency of Canada is stepping down only 18 months into the job, leaving the federal agency tasked with coordinating the country’s COVID-19 response without a leader, CBC News reported today.
Ms. Tina Namiesniowski was appointed President of the Public Health Agency of Canada on May 6, 2019.
She joined the federal government in 1989 and brings extensive experience in policy development, program delivery, international relations, intergovernmental affairs and citizen engagement.
She was previously the Executive Vice-President of the Canada Border Services Agency. Ms. Namiesniowski has also held Assistant Deputy Minister Roles in Agriculture Canada, Public Safety Canada and has served as Assistant Secretary to the Cabinet, Operations Secretariat, with the Privy Council Office.
According to CBC News, in a letter to staff, Tina Namiesniowski said she needs to “take a break” and “step aside so someone else can step up” to lead the agency as caseloads spike and testing times creep up in some parts of the country.
Canada is witnessing an uptick in the number of COVID-19 cases that are being reported. On September 18, Ontario reported 401 new cases of the virus, which makes it the highest number of cases since early June. On September 18, the current number of schools with reported COVID-19 cases is 60, with a total case count of 72.
The most recent data on the evolution of COVID-19 in Québec show 297 new cases, bringing the total number of people infected to 66,653 in Québec.
In the meantime, the Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, and the Premier of Saskatchewan, Scott Moe, today announced that people in Saskatchewan can now receive one-time keys from their health authorities to use with COVID Alert, Canada’s COVID-19 exposure notification app. The app helps notify users if they may have been exposed to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19.
The COVID Alert app is free and voluntary, and is another tool to help limit the spread of COVID-19. Users who test positive for COVID-19 will receive a one-time key from their health authority that they can enter into the app. When the key is entered, COVID Alert will notify other users who may have come in close contact with that person for at least 15 minutes, and direct them on next steps based on their provincial public health advice.
Since launching, there have been more than 2.5 million downloads of the app.
The count of total cases of COVID-19 in Canada was 140,867 as of September 17, 2020. The count of active cases of COVID-19 in Canada was 8,558 as of September 17, 2020.
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