Dr. Mandy Cohen, who has led North Carolina’s response to the coronavirus pandemic, plans to resign, according to sources in the governor’s office.
Cohen has served as secretary of the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services since 2017. She’s become a household name across the state, appearing alongside Gov. Roy Cooper to give regular updates on the COVID-19 pandemic.
Cohen and her team have overseen the state’s coronavirus response since the virus first reached North Carolina in March 2020. She was the face of the state’s response through lockdowns, mask mandates and the biggest vaccination campaign in history.
Cooper and Cohen are expected to speak at 3 p.m. Tuesday. Cooper will have to nominate a new secretary for the Department of Health and Human Services. Cohen’s replacement will have to be confirmed by the North Carolina Senate.
The Department of Health and Human Services has 17,000 employees and a $20 billion annual budget. Cohen’s deparment does a lot more than responding to the COVID pandemic. She oversees the state’s Medicaid program, mental health, state hospitals, early childhood education, adult and child services and other social services.