Public Health Chief Retiring in Midst of Pandemic; Hogan Tightens Rules on Masks

Fran Phillips, state government’s top public health officer, who has helped lead Maryland’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, announced Wednesday that she is retiring.

In her 33-year public health career, Phillips has moved back and forth between the Anne Arundel County Health Department and the state’s Department of Health and tackled epidemics like SARS in 2003 and H1NI1 “swine flu” in 2009.

Phillips will be replaced on at least an interim basis by Dr. Jinlene Chan, who has been the state’s assistant health secretary and chief medical officer since 2018.

“Dr. Chan, you have some very big shoes to fill,” said Gov. Lawrence J. Hogan Jr. (R) at a State House news conference Wednesday.