dr. Mandy Cohen, the secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services who quickly became the public face of North Carolina’s response to COVID-19, is stepping down.
Before COVID-19, most North Carolinas would not have recognized Cohen on the street. But when the first cases were reported in the state early last year, Cohen began leading press conferences with Governor Roy Cooper, becoming one of the most recognizable faces of the pandemic in the state.
During the pandemic, Cohen was interviewed hundreds of times by WRAL News and other groups. In the very beginning, she advocated for the first NC patients diagnosed with COVID-19, calling bullying unacceptable. Week after week, as masks became the norm and requirements came into effect, she reminded North Carolinaians to social distancing and cover their faces.
More recently, she led the effort to provide information about the importance of COVID-19 vaccines.
Cooper appointed Cohen to her leadership role within the NCDHHS in January 2017. Her team oversees the state’s operational response to COVID-19, including peak hospital capacity, testing capacity, tracing capacity and PPE availability.