By Howard Fischer
Capitol Media Services
PHOENIX -- The state's top health official is quitting.
Cara Christ is leaving as director of the Department of Health Services to become chief medical officer at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona. Her last day will be Aug. 27.
The announcement comes less than 24 hours after Christ, who has been a loyal ally of Gov. Doug Ducey, took a position on masks that could be seen as conflicting with the governor's own position.
On Tuesday, Ducey poked fun at the recommendations by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that everyone wear a mask when indoors or in school, whether vaccinated or not.
"This is just another example of the Biden-Harris administration's inability to effectively control the COVID-19 pandemic,'' the governor said.
Christ, however, said her agency's recommendations for the 13 Arizona counties with "substantial'' spread of the virus will echo that of the CDC.
"Everyone, whether you're fully vaccinated or not vaccinated, should wear a mask when you are indoors or around others that you do not live with,'' she said.
And Christ has made a point of saying that she requires her two youngest children to wear masks when they go to school. Both are younger than 12 and therefore ineligible to get vaccinated.
A spokesman for the Department of Health Services said Christ is not doing interviews. And he declined to comment on the timing of her departure.