© 2024 WRVO Public Media
NPR News for Central New York
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Onondaga County health commissioner to leave office in July

The public health leader that shepherded central New York through the COVID-19 pandemic is leaving local government. Onondaga County Health Commissioner Dr. Indu Gupta announced her resignation Wednesday, and will leave her post July 1.

Gupta didn’t appear at a news conference announcing her departure. County Executive Ryan McMahon said Gupta would have been too emotional to talk to reporters about her decision to leave the health department after seven and a half years. But he hinted that the intense pressure of the pandemic was a consideration.

“When you go as hard as many of us had for the last two plus years, at some point you need to look at what’s best for you, your family and what other opportunities you have out there,” McMahon said. There’s no doubt in my mind Dr. Gupta will be serving this community. This is not her going away to never be seen again."

Her resignation takes effect July 1. The county has begun a nationwide search for a new health commissioner.

"We’re not going to make a rushed decision just to make a rushed decision,” McMahon said. “We have the ability to appoint an interim commissioner. We have a wealth of medical talent in the community to help us. We have to find the right person for the job."

McMahon said Gupta’s replacement will need to have a slightly different view of the pandemic.

“The issues we are going to be dealing with aren’t going to be so much about the virus each day, but the impacts that virus has on the community health overall over the last two years,” he said. “And that’s the work we’ll be doing the next two years.”

Along with helping create the framework that led the community through the pandemic, McMahon said Gupta’s legacy also includes public health initiatives regarding the opioid crisis, lead paint and mental health. The county health department also received its first national accreditation under her leadership.

Ellen produces news reports and features related to events that occur in the greater Syracuse area and throughout Onondaga County. Her reports are heard regularly in regional updates in Morning Edition and All Things Considered.