Washington Gov. Jay Inslee on Tuesday appointed Dr. Umair A. Shah as the state’s new secretary of health. Shah, who will start December 21st, currently serves as executive director and local health authority for Harris County Public Health in Houston, Texas. He will replace John Wiesman, who announced in May that he will resign his role in January 2021 to take a job at the University of North Carolina after staying on a few weeks to help with the transition.
Shah has led Harris County Public health for the past seven years. Before that, he was chief medical officer of Galveston County Health District and served as an emergency department physician at Houston’s DeBakey VA Hospital for more than two decades. Shah said that his top priority is to continue the fight against COVID-19. Like many states across the country, Washington has seen a surge of new cases and Inslee and health officials on Tuesday continued to warn of “explosive growth” across the state. (AP)