North Dakota Interim State Health Officer resigns
NORTH DAKOTA – Interim State Health Officer Dr. Paul Mariani has resigned.
He is the second person in the position to step down. Dr. Mariani was appointed after Dr. Andrew Stahl resigned last month. Dr. Stahl got the position after State Health Officer Mylynn Tufte resigned in May.
“While Dr. Mariani’s tenure was short, we are grateful for his service and for jumping into the many complexities of this extremely challenging role – including connecting directly with parents, school superintendents, mayors and local public health officials – at a time when our state is facing rising and record COVID-19 cases. We are saddened to see him leave and appreciate his meaningful contributions. Paul is a man of high intelligence and integrity. We agreed that the amended close contact order’s penalty provisions – a misdemeanor as required by current state law – became a large and unforeseen distraction to our mission of slowing the spread of the coronavirus in our state,” Gov. Doug Burgum said.
“While the governor and I agreed on the urgent need to isolate positives and quarantine close contacts in accordance with CDC guidelines, and that the amended order’s penalty provision was overly punitive, the circumstances around the handling of the order made my position untenable,” Dr. Mariani said. “I want to thank the Governor for his understanding and for the outstanding team at the North Dakota Department of Health for their professionalism and dedication to the health and safety of North Dakota citizens.”
North Dakota Department of Health Chief of Staff Dirk Wilke has be appointed to be Interim State Health Officer until a replacement can be made.