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DHEC director takes leave during pandemic because of health concerns

In a letter, Rick Toomey says he will be going away for a few weeks because he needs to focus on his health

COLUMBIA, S.C. — South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control Director Rick Toomey is take a leave of absence effective immediately due to health concerns. 

The change in leadership comes during the coronavirus pandemic. DHEC is one of the leading agencies in the response to the virus. 

According to a letter from Toomey, weeks ago he checked into the Chest Pain Center at MUSC in Charleston. Though his tests were negative, his blood pressure was elevated. 

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In the letter he writes, "In order to be part of Team DHEC for the long term, I need to deal with my health in the short term."

Toomey expects his leave to last only a few weeks.  

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Marshall Taylor will serve as Acting Director for the agency during Toomey's absence. 

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