THURSTON COUNTY –– The county’s acting public health officer, Dr. Diana Yu, stepped down from her role June 30 to resume retirement, beginning the transition to a new role for the county’s newest public health officer, Dr. Dimyana Abdelmalek.
Dr. Yu’s last day on the job was June 30, according to a letter she wrote to the community the same day, and announced her successor in the role.
“I will be leaving this temporary position to resume my status as a retired public health professional,” Dr. Yu said in her letter. “It has been a challenging and rewarding past four months. I hope I have been able to make a difference.”
Dr. Yu worked as the health officer for Thurston County Public Health for almost 25 years until her retirement in 2014. She continued to serve on the Washington State Board of Health until 2017, although she is still listed as the health officer for Mason County Public Health on her LinkedIn profile. Having departed from public service in Thurston County, she was not available for comment on Thursday.
Dr. Dimyana Abdelmalek, Dr. Yu’s replacement, is joining Thurston County after leaving her position as an emergency medicine physician at Kaiser Permanente Redwood City Medical Center in the San Francisco Bay Area. According to county public health staffers, Dr. Abdelmalek hasn’t yet started working for the county as of Thursday.
In Dr. Yu’s parting letter, she urged residents of Thurston County to protect themselves from contracting the novel coronavirus by continuing to practice social distancing, wearing face coverings in public and washing their hands, among other protective measures. She stressed the importance of helping to protect other county residents and that even younger people can get sick and experience some of COVID-19’s worst effects.
“The risk of exposure increases with every action we take,” Dr. Yu wrote in her letter. “We all need to work together to keep the case numbers low and to protect our most vulnerable folks who are at risk of hospitalization and death.”