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Utah state epidemiologist Angela Dunn leaving to become Salt Lake County Health Department head

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SALT LAKE CITY — Dr. Angela Dunn, Utah's leading epidemiologist who has become a celebrity in the state during the COVID-19 pandemic, will step down from her position this summer, officials announced Tuesday.

Dunn will step down as the Utah Department of Health's state epidemiologist to become the executive director of the Salt Lake County Health Department, the department announced in a news release Tuesday.

"I'm excited to join one of the nation's most respected local health departments," Dunn said in the release. "I'm honored to serve the people who live and work in Salt Lake County, which is also my home, and I'm looking forward to working alongside the amazing public health professionals in Salt Lake County."

Dunn will replace the Salt Lake County department's current head, Gary Edwards, who will retire in July after 16 years with the department. Dunn's first day will be June 1, and she will work alongside Edwards during the transition before his retirement, the department said.

"We are thrilled to welcome Dr. Dunn to Salt Lake County in this critical role at this historic time," Salt Lake County Mayor Jenny Wilson said in the release. "Dr. Dunn is a household name due to her strength and expertise demonstrated at the state during COVID, but she is equally knowledgeable and committed to all aspects of public health."

Dunn joined the Utah Department of Health in 2014 as an epidemic intelligence service officer on assignment from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. She became the agency's state epidemiologist in 2018.

Dunn rose to prominence last year in the state's weekly COVID-19 news conferences, standing at the sides of both former Gov. Gary Herbert and current Gov. Spencer Cox to explain trends in cases and profess the importance of following public health measures.

"It's hard to overstate the truly life-saving contributions Dr. Dunn has made to Utah's COVID-19 response. Whether it was her steady voice at the press briefing podium, or her capable leadership at the table where decisions are made, Dr. Dunn was always a champion for the health and wellbeing of Utah residents," the state's health department said in a statement. "While we are sad to see her go, we look forward to continuing to work with Dr. Dunn in her new role. The residents of Salt Lake County are fortunate to have her."

Messages of thanks to Dunn rolled in on social media Tuesday afternoon from various Utah officials, including the state's COVID-19 unified response team, Utah Senate President J. Stuart Adams and House Speaker Brad Wilson.

"Thank you, @DrAngelaCDunn for your commitment to serving the people of Utah. I wish you the best as you continue your work with Salt Lake County," Wilson tweeted.

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Jacob Klopfenstein is a breaking news reporter and entertainment editor for He has been with since 2017 and is originally from Indiana. He has previously reported for newspapers in Auburn, Indiana and Cortez, Colorado.


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