September 11, 2020
Wenatchee/Olympia, WA — At a special Board of Health (BOH) meeting Wednesday, September 9, the Chelan-Douglas Health District (CDHD) Board voted to approve a request for assistance from the Washington State Department of Health (DOH) to identify an Interim Administrator to lead CDHD.
Nathan Weed, Director of Community Health Systems at DOH, will serve as the Interim Administrator starting today. He will provide leadership and support the recently formed CDHD Coordinated Policy Group, responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. The BOH is recruiting for a permanent Administrator. As Interim Administrator, Mr. Weed will also assist CDHD and BOH by strengthening relationships with local healthcare centers and key community groups, especially those representing the Latinx community.
DOH has provided the resource-constrained CDHD with technical assistance in a number of areas in recent weeks, including epidemiologists, a Type III Incident Management Team, and partial funding for epidemiologist and pandemic specialist, Dr. Peter Houck.
“It is essential that we get our schools and businesses open moving forward”, said BOH Chairman/Douglas County Commissioner Dan Sutton. “Our case numbers are starting to slowly come down and the assistance provided to us by DOH will help us to continue this trend.”
Chelan and Douglas Counties continue to experience high rates of COVID-19 positive cases and remain in a modified Phase 1.5 of Governor Jay Inslee’s Safe Start Plan. Currently, Chelan and Douglas counties have a 215.5 per 100,000 population positive case count and must reach 25 cases per 100,000 during a 14 day period to be considered for moving to Phase 2. There have been 19 deaths attributed to COVID-19.
The Latinx community and agricultural workers in Chelan and Douglas Counties have been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19. “It became clear that we need more help if we are to get our community on a better path to social and economic recovery through a long-lasting response to this pandemic”, added Sutton. “We are grateful for the partnership of the state who is providing us with these resources.”
Bruce Buckles, who has led the Health District since late June, will transition to District Special Projects Coordinator and eventually return to his role heading Aging and Adult Care of Central Washington.
“We want to thank Bruce for graciously stepping in to lead the Health District,” BOH Vice-Chair/Chelan County Commissioner Kevin Overbay said. “He has worked tirelessly the past two months – during a challenging time for our community and the District.”
“We continue to learn throughout this pandemic how interconnected and interdependent we all are as individuals and communities. DOH is honored to help our local healthcare partners and the residents of Chelan and Douglas counties during these very challenging times and at critical points in the pandemic response”, said Secretary of Health, John Wiesman.
Mr. Weed has a background in infectious disease, epidemiology and public health preparedness and response. He has served in many senior leadership positions in state and local government to prepare him for this role. Mr. Weed currently directs the Office of Community Health Systems at DOH. He previously served as the Deputy Director of Emergency Preparedness and has also worked in local public health in Washington and Louisiana. Mr. Weed has been deeply engaged in the COVID-19 response, including serving as Incident Commander for the statewide health response.