OTTAWA -- Several months into the COVID-19 public health crisis, and with cases on the rise in some regions, the president of the Public Health Agency of Canada Tina Namiesniowski has announced she’s stepping down.

A replacement will be announced next week, the agency has confirmed.

In an email to staff on Friday Namiesniowski said she is in need of a break, citing the whirlwind nearly 10 months since the agency first picked up word of what then was a cluster of cases of a respiratory illness in Wuhan, China. 

“The Agency has been at the heart of Canada’s response which has been truly remarkable as the world grapples with an unprecedented global pandemic requiring extraordinary action and collaboration,” she wrote in her lengthy message to her staff.

“Although we are very resilient, none of us are super-human and I put myself in that category. I am now at the point where I need to take a break. Since it makes no sense for the Agency to be without a President for any length of time given current circumstances, I feel I must step aside so someone else can step up,” she wrote. 

While Dr. Theresa Tam is the Chief Public Health Officer, Namiesniowski’s role is more administrative in nature. 

Namiesniowski said her replacement will bring new energy and new ideas, and she will help with the transition.

“We have all been working non-stop for months in a high pressure environment subjected to significant scrutiny and without a doubt we’ve risen to the challenge,” she wrote, praising the agency’s work on quarantining hundreds of repatriated Canadians in the early months of the outbreak, and now planning for an eventual vaccine rollout.