Harris County’s top doc leaving for Washington state

HOUSTON – The top health official in Harris County is leaving to become the next Secretary of Health for Washington state.

Dr. Umair Shah joined Harris County Public Health as a deputy director in 2004 and has become a familiar face to Houstonians since becoming the executive director of HCPH in 2013.

Shah has been a vocal health advocate amid the coronavirus pandemic, insisting people stay home as case numbers started to rise in March. He also pushed forward plans for COVID-19 testing and contact-tracing.

The doctor also saw the region through the devastation of hurricanes Ike and Harvey, created a new mosquito testing lab and helped build a new animal shelter that saw its “leave alive” rate increase from 15% to 98%.

Shah’s resignation is effective Dec. 18.

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