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Dr. Terry Mason, head of Cook County’s public health department, out amid pandemic

Friday, April 03, 2020
Chicago Tribune
by Hal Dardick

Cook County’s public health chief, a key player in the coordination of the response to the COVID-19 pandemic, has been fired as the number of coronavirus-stricken patients continues to surge.

The unexpected termination of Dr. Terry Mason, who once also headed up the city of Chicago’s health department, was confirmed by county officials on Friday, which they said would be his last day.

That ends seven years at the helm of a department charged with, among other things, preventing and managing disease outbreaks in suburban Cook.

“Today … will be Dr. Terry Mason’s last day as the chief operating officer for the Cook County Department of Public Health,” Debra Carey, Interim CEO of the Cook County Health and Hospitals System, said in a statement.

Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle said Mason was “terminated,” a decision made by Carey. Asked why, Preckwinkle said, “It’s a personnel matter, and I don’t comment on personnel matters.”

But she expressed confidence in Carey to make the decision to fire Mason and put two other doctors in charge of the public health department.

An attempt to reach Dr. Mason for comment was not immediately successful.

Carey said Dr. Kiran Joshi and Dr. Rachel Rubin, both public health department senior medical officers, are stepping in to take his place, she added.

Mason’s departure was first reported by the Sun-Times.

The Tribune’s John Byrne contributed.

Twitter @ReporterHal



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