Fleischauer concerned about Slemp’s departure amid pandemic

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Delegate Barbara Fleischauer, D-Monongalia, said it is concerning former state health officer Dr. Cathy Slemp resigned from her position.

Slemp left her position Wednesday at the request of DHHR Secretary Bill Crouch. During Friday’s coronavirus briefing, Gov. Jim Justice cited “numerous things” that led to Slemp’s departure, including inaccurate case numbers.

“I think she’s a wonderful public servant I’ve known her for years. She was head of threat preparedness,” Fleischauer said. “She’s been trained to do exactly what she’s doing. I think she’s done a wonderful job.”

She added: “The head of public health does not have the power to make those numbers instantly correct. We have different technology systems at corrections and local public health.”

Fleischauer noted she is also concerned because of the removal of one of West Virginia’s few female leader.

“When there was someone in those daily briefings that looked like me who was very knowledgeable being taken off the screen, that bothers me,” she said.

Fleischauer added a problem within state health agencies is the lack of funding; the number of public health employees has decreased from 850 to 400 since 2009.

Justice said the vacancy will be filled “ASAP.”

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