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Jefferson County Public Health director Dr. Dawn Comstock resigns

Posted at 4:55 PM, Feb 07, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-07 18:55:04-05

DENVER – Jefferson County Public Health Executive Director Dr. Dawn Comstock offered her resignation Monday about a year after she took the position and following a mostly closed-door board meeting.

The county board of health accepted her resignation, board president Cheri Jahn said in a statement. The board met in executive session Monday, and Comstock’s employment was the only item on the agenda.

“Dr. Comstock has been a committed public servant, and this board is grateful for her public health expertise and guidance throughout the past year,” Jahn said in a statement.

Jahn said once Comstock’s resignation is complete, the board will start the “process of transitioning her position.”

“We are grateful for Dr. Comstock’s service and look forward to keeping the public updated as we put together a transition team and search for the next director of JCPH,” Jahn said.

It is unclear specifically what led Comstock to resign, and the board did not release a reason.

JCPH hired Comstock last February. Previously, she was an epidemiology professor at the Colorado School of Public Health and the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment helping with the COVID-19 response.

The Jefferson County Board of Health generally followed Comstock’s recommendations surrounding COVID-19 safety during her tenure. She drew some ire from members of the public over vaccine clinics and mask mandate extensions last fall.

And in December, she apologized after saying that people should shop outside of Jefferson County because other counties had higher vaccination rates and higher rates of mask compliance.

But she recommended extending the mask mandate for the county at the end of December into this month because of the rise in omicron variant cases and hospitalizations.

Those requirements will end Feb. 18 after the board of health voted last week to end the mandate as cases and hospitalizations decline, and after a Colorado School of Public Health modeling report estimated 80% of Coloradans will be immune to the omicron variant by mid-February.