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Rochester, MN (KROC-AM News) - The man who led the local response to the COVID-19 pandemic is resigning.

Olmsted County issued a news release this afternoon announcing the departure of Director of Olmsted County Public Health Services Graham Briggs. The news release only said Briggs has decided to pursue other opportunities but did not include any specifics.

“Graham remains a trusted leader for our entire community,” said Olmsted County Administrator Heidi Welsch. “Not only did he lead our county’s COVID response efforts, but he also oversaw other essential public health activities that continued throughout the pandemic.”

Briggs had two decades of experience in public health before taking on the leadership position in Olmsted County in 2018. His focus for the past 22 months has been on the pandemic response.

photo credit: Olmsted County

Olmsted County plans to soon begin a search for his successor. In the meantime, Associate Directors of OCPHS Denise Daniels and Michael Melius will be sharing Briggs’ duties.

Major Milestones From Beginning of COVID-19 Pandemic in Olmsted County, Minnesota

News and information about the virus were slowly making their way through Minnesota and the Rochester area during late February 2020. Mayo Clinic became aware of the virus in January because of a partnership it had with a Chinese firm. This gave Mayo a head start in developing its own test for the virus which it knew would be needed for its patients.

Scroll through the gallery to see the significant milestones from the first two months of the pandemic in Olmsted County, Minnesota.