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Sanford Health CEO steps down after backlash over email where he said he was wearing a mask just for show

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The Sanford Health Systems Chief Executive has been pressured to step down after sending employees a controversial email about his coronavirus status. It appears that it was deemed too controversial for the head of a hospital chain to recommend that masks are unnecessary.

The Board of Trustees of Sanford Health announced that they had “mutually agreed to part ways” with Kelby Krabbenhoft, the company’s CEO since 1996.

The announcement came after the CEO had sent an email regarding COVID-19 to employees. In the email, Krabbenhoft asserted that he was immune to coronavirus for “at least seven months and perhaps years to come.”

He continued to explain that he was not a threat to anyone, and he was wearing a mask merely for show.

“For me to wear a mask defies the efficacy and purpose of a mask and sends an untruthful message that I am susceptible to infection or could transmit it,” he wrote in the email.

He hinted that he was no longer going to continue wearing a mask.

“I have no interest in using masks as a symbolic gesture. … My team and I have a duty to express the truth and facts and reality and not feed the opposite.”

Some employees at the company suggested that the CEO should step down after making the remarks.

When backlash broke out online, Sanford Health decided to release a statement to distance themselves from the CEO and telling the public to wear masks.

“Kelby Krabbenhoft’s email was based on his own experience with COVID-19 and his personal opinions about the virus. They do not reflect the views of our health system as a whole,” the official statement read. “Sanford Health’s position is the same as it has always been – consistently wearing masks, avoiding crowds and staying home if you’re sick are critical to preventing the spread of the virus. It is important to follow CDC guidelines.”

The president of the North Dakota Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, Dr. Kathy Anderson, speaking to the Associated Press, said the email was “an especially dangerous message to be sending right now in North Dakota.”

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