Health Board to discuss Carroll's concerns

Taylor Ann Bradford, Gloucester Daily Times, Mass.
·1 min read

Apr. 8—The city's Board of Health will be meeting Thursday night to discuss the Office of Mayor Sefatia Romeo Theken's involvement with the city Health Department's response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The additional meeting this month comes after Public Health Director Karin Carroll expressed concerns that members of the Mayor's Office have interfered in ways that are "inconsistent with the department's commitment to health equity."

Carroll explained in an April 2 email to the Board of Health that there have been attempts to address these concerns with the Mayor's Office, but with no luck.

In the email, Carroll briefly summarized six key areas of concern, saying the mayor's office was:

—Disseminating incorrect COVID-related information.

—"Actively assisting individuals to secure COVID-19 vaccine appointments outside the Health Department's involvement and inconsistent with the Department's commitment to health equity."

—Tapping into COVID-related resources from the state without following chain of command and consulting Carroll or the Board of Health first.

—Engaging in "unofficial COVID contact tracing" outside of the Health Department.

—Requesting COVID-19 "patient-level" information from various members of the department.

—"Contradicting the clinical advice" of the Health Department tracing team.

"These actions, however well meaning, can adversely (affect) public health and should not continue," Carroll wrote.

Which members of the mayor's office these actions could be attributed to was not explained in the email.

Staff writer Taylor Ann Bradford can be reached at 978-675-2705 or tbradford@gloucestertimes.com.