Ever since the first provincial COVID-19 briefing on March 4, people across Newfoundland and Labrador have stopped every day at around 2 p.m. to listen to the words of Dr. Janice Fitzgerald.
Fitzgerald took over as the province’s chief medical officer of health on an interim basis in August after serving as the medical officer of health for the Eastern Health authority. Over the course of the pandemic, her words and demeanour have resonated with people across the province.
After Fitzgerald was named interim chief medical officer of health, a job posting was created online to fill the position permanently. Health Minister John Haggie has effectively removed the title of “interim” from Fitzgerald’s position, and said the search has been put on hold due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
He said the province probably won’t have to look far when the search resumes.
“I’m delighted with the current chief medical officer of health,” Haggie said at the end of Tuesday’s COVID-19 briefing. “I think if you listen to the comments from the panel, whatever job evaluation may have been necessary has just been passed with flying colours.”
Premier Dwight Ball has also been vocal in his support of Fitzgerald over the course of the COVID-19 briefings.
“She is one of the strongest individuals that I’ve come to know,” he said during the May 8 briefing.
The provincial government said recruiting for a permanent chief medical officer of health has not been finalized.